Lotte Friis, Katie Ledecky Set Up Head-to-Head Battle in 1500 Free

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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. THE world will see some serious speed in the women’s 1500-meter freestyle as Denmark’s Lotte Friis and USA’s Katie Ledecky set up a heavyweight duel with their swims in prelims at the FINA World Championships.

With both swimmers under world record pace at various stages of their swims, it became obvious that they kept their powder dry for the finale as Friis turned in a 15:49.18 for the top seed, while Ledecky clocked a 15:49.26 for second. Ledecky showed a bit more closing speed than Friis with a 30.24 final split, but Friis was a bit stronger throughout the swim.

Ledecky definitely has more in the tank considering she leads the world with a 15:47.15 from the U.S. Nationals just a month ago. Friis, meanwhile, cleared 16:00 for the first time this year having stood third with a 16:01.41 from earlier this season. Her time this morning is faster than her personal textile best of 15:49.59 from the 2011 FINA World Championships as she looks to defend her world title. Overall, her time this morning stands seventh all-time, while Ledecky’s is eighth.

The primary question to be decided in finals is whether the duo can challenge Kate Ziegler’s epic world record of 15:42.54 set at the TYR Swim Meet of Champions back in 2007.

Chile’s Kristel Kobrich Schimpl finished third in 15:54.30 as the only other sub-16:00 swimmer of the morning, moving to fourth in the world rankings this year. She had been a 16:08.08 to rank ninth at the Charlotte Grand Prix, but she took a big leap forward this morning.

Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (16:02.58), New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle (16:02.90), USA’s Chloe Sutton (16:04.72) and China’s Xu Danlu (16:05.59) comprised the rest of the championship field.

Surprisingly, Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin finished ninth with a 16:06.46 to miss finals after having been second in the world this year with a blistering 15:47.26 at British Nationals earlier this summer.

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