Ledecky set to go out on a high with 14th Worlds gold

Freestyle queen Katie Ledecky yesterday cruised towards her fifth gold medal at the Fina World Championships as the fastest qualifier for the women's 800m final in Budapest, Hungary.

She clocked eight minutes and 20.24 seconds in the 800m heats to signal that she is ready to defend her title.

"It was fine, it went to plan," said Ledecky. "I just had to get my lane for tomorrow, move on and have one more swim.

"I always enjoy my last race at a meet, just giving it all and leaving it all in the pool."

Despite only 20, Ledecky is already the most decorated female swimmer in world championships' history.

She earned the 13th title, spanning three championships, by anchoring the US quartet to victory in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay yesterday morning (Singapore time).

That was her fifth medal at these championships, after triumphs in the 400m free, 1,500m free, 4x100m relay and a silver in the 200m free.

Fresh from victory in Thursday's 100m free final, Caeleb Dressel, 20, qualified second-fastest for the men's 50m free semi-finals last night.

Brazil's Bruno Santos was the fastest at 21.51sec with Dressel just 0.10 behind.

Swede Sarah Sjostrom, who won the women's 100m butterfly gold on Monday, is the name to beat over 50m after clocking 25.25sec in the heats, the fastest into last night's semi-finals.

The 23-year-old was also the favourite in the 100m free final last night after becoming the first woman to cover the distance under 52sec last Sunday with a world record of 51.71sec when leading off Sweden in the women's 4x100m relay.

"In the 100m free final, I aim to go under 52sec again. If I do that, I think I will win it, but it will be impossible to break the world record again," she said.

Katinka Hosszu, Hungary's "Iron Lady", clocked 2:07.30 to qualify second-fastest for last night's 200m backstroke semi-finals, 0.48sec behind American Kathleen Baker.

The results of last night's semi-finals and finals were not available at press time. - WIRE SERVICES