Ledecky, 25, outswam her opponents for a first-place finish with a time of 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds, beating out second-place finishers Kiah Melverton of Australia by more than 10 seconds. She won the 800-meter free for her fifth consecutive title at worlds and eighth consecutive including Olympics finishes.
“I think back to London,” Ledecky said of her first win at the 2012 Olympics. “I made it a goal to not be a one-hit-wonder and here we are 10 years later, so I’m really proud of that and still excited for the future as well.
It was Ledecky’s fastest finish in the event since 2018 and just four seconds off the world record she set at the 2016 Olympics.
“I’m happy with that,” she said. “Fastest I’ve been in a couple of years. So really good end to a great week.”
Ledecky took home her first gold of worlds this year in the 400 free, followed by gold in the 1,500 free. On Wednesday she helped team USA capture first in the 4×200 freestyle relay and two days later she would dominate in her trademark race.
“This is just the start, which is tremendously exciting for me,” she said after sweeping her events.
Ledecky has the most medals for a female swimmer in world championships history with 22 total, including 19 gold. Only Michael Phelps, who won 26, has more.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.