Katie Ledecky dominates on return to competition in Texas

The five-time Olympic champion finished 21 seconds ahead of her nearest rival in the 1500m freestyle in San Antonio, Texas.

By Andrew Binner
Picture by 2016 Getty Images

It may be the first national swimming meet for a year, but there was a familiar feeling as Katie Ledecky dominated the opening race of the Tyr Pro Series meet in San Antonio.

The five-time Olympic gold medallist eased to victory in the 1500m freestyle, clocking a time of 15 minutes, 42.92 seconds.

That time was a whopping 21.37 seconds clear of the 23-year-old’s nearest rival, but well shy of her 15:20:48 world record in the event.

“I didn’t set too many expectations coming into this first race,” she said after. “I knew getting the first race out of the way would kind of be a milestone in this journey back into real racing.”

The event is on the Olympic programme for the first time ever as a women’s race at the Tokyo Games in 2021, and this victory underlines Ledecky’s status as the strong favourite.

She will also compete in the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m free over the next three days in Texas.

Elsewhere, Jordan Wilimovsky won the men's 1,500m free in 15:15.28. The California native has already qualified for Tokyo in open-water competition.

“It was fun,” he said of his second Pro Series victory. “I was just doing training camp with three of the six guys that swam tonight so we were joking before, we did a 1500 fast last week and the one before that, so it was just like another day at practice. It was fun to get some racing in.”

The star-studded event continues through to Saturday (6 March).