FINA World Championships

Ledecky in historic tilt at 12th world title

2017-07-25 07:38
Katie Ledecky (Getty)

Budapest - Katie Ledecky will shake off any fatigue in her bid to make history on Tuesday in the 1500m freestyle final by becoming the first woman to win 12 golds at world aquatic championships. 

The 20-year-old freestyle expert picked up two golds on Sunday in Budapest when she won the 400m freestyle title for the third championships in a row, then helped the United States win the 4x100m relay. 

Her pair of victories in Budapest left her level with Missy Franklin on 11 worlds gold. 

Another win over 1500m would make her the most decorated female swimmer at world championships. 

Ledecky was the fastest qualifier into Tuesday's final at 15 minutes, 47.54 seconds - nearly 18 seconds ahead of the field - to maintain her iron grip on the event. 

"I work through the heats as easy as I can to keep myself rested for the finals," said Ledecky.

"I just stay in the team area (at the hotel), go to bed as early as I can, sleep in as late as I can and get massages." 

Having won five worlds gold medals in Kazan two years ago, she could finish with six at these championships. 

"I just try to put together the best races as possible and let the medals take care of themselves," she said. 

"As many as I get," she added, when asked how many golds she wants. 

Ledecky will attack her own 1500m world record at the Duna Arena, which she set two years ago when she won the 2015 final in 15:25.48 minutes. 

"I just go out and race as hard as I can, I never really target a record," she said.

The women's 100m breaststroke final on Tuesday brings the climax to a simmering feud between Olympic champion Lilly King and defending world champion Yuliya Efimova of Russia. 

Efimova served a 16-month doping ban until February 2015, then won the world five months later in Kazan, which King took exception to when she beat the Russian at the Rio Olympics. 

Fresh from his 400m freestyle gold medal on Sunday, Chinese superstar Sun Yang cruised into the 200m freestyle final where he faces defending world champion Britain's James Guy. 

Surprise fastest qualifier just ahead of the 25-year-old Sun was Guy's compatriot Duncan Scott. 

Canada's Kylie Mass is in pole position for the women's 100m backstroke gold medal after missing the world record by just six one-hundredths of a second in the semi-final. 

Hometown darling Katinka Hosszu had earlier opted out to save energy for her gold medal swim in the 200m medley on Monday, host Hungary's first win. 

Australia's Emily Seebohm, who won the world title two years ago in Kazan, was second fastest nearly seven-tenths behind Masse. 

In the men's 100m backstroke heats, China's Xu Jiayu led the field into Tuesday's final, with a time of 52.44secs. 

Olympic champion Ryan Murphy and Matt Grevers of the US, as well as Australia's Mitch Larkin, also made it through.

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