American Katie Ledecky brushed off criticism to set an Olympic record in the 1,500-meter freestyle heat on Monday just hours after losing to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in the 400-meter freestyle medal event.
Ledecky won her heat with a time of 15:35.35 as the 1,500-meter freestyle made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. The men’s side has long raced the event, but Tokyo was the first time female competitors participated in the long-distance swim.
The superstar swimmer held off China’s Wang Jianjiahe and Germany’s Sarah Kohler in the fifth heat of the night. Ledecky holds the world record in the event with a 15:20.48 in 2018.