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Katie Ledecky surpasses Michael Phelps for most individual Worlds titles

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky’s world dominance knows no bounds.

On Saturday, Ledecky cemented her status amongst the swimming’s greatest for good, surpassing Michael Phelps for the most individual world titles with 16. She did so in the 800 freestyle, the same event that introduced her to the world stage at the 2012 Olympics in London when she won gold as a 15-year-old.

“I never dreamt of even coming to meets like this,” Ledecky told reporters in Japan. “To be here and having a bunch of world championships now – it is amazing.”

But even in the midst of history, Ledecky was still Ledecky, showcasing a bit of disappointment that her time wasn’t as fast as U.S. nationals last month (8:07.07) and last year’s world championships in Budapest (8:08.04).

“I wanted to be a little bit better, but I’ll take it,” Ledecky, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, told reporters. “I was probably out a little too fast. It hurt on the back half. But I knew it was my last race. I wanted to leave it in the pool. So I just wanted to trust my back half and see if I could get out [fast] and hold it.”

The Paris Olympics are fast approaching, and for Ledecky, this week provided a “great stepping stone” into the next year of training.

“Having improvement off the blocks in pretty much all my events and feeling like we’re progressing really well in training and in racing,” her coach Anthony Nesty said. “We get back to work in just a couple of weeks.”