8 Months Before Paris Olympics, Katie Ledecky Gets a New Australian Rival After ‘Championship Record’ Finish at Swimming World Cup 2023

Published 10/08/2023, 2:22 PM EDT

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The rivalry between America and Australia in the swimming world has stretched on for years. Each time an American swimmer has pulled ahead, another swimmer from Australia has risen to the challenge. In that spirit, an Australian swimmer recently emerged as the ultimate challenger for American legend Katie Ledecky for the 800-meter freestyle Olympic gold. 

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Lani Pallister has had a series of disappointments at the hands of her American rivals at the Swimming World Cup 2023 in Berlin. She was all girded up to dominate the competition but apart from her teammate Kaylee McKeown, no other Australian swimmer made it to the leaderboard. In the meantime, both the men’s and the women’s leaderboards had American swimmers dominating the top spot. Going into the 800-meter freestyle final on October 6 against Torri Huske of the United States, she was getting ready to pull the rug from under her rival’s feet. 

Lani Pallister raises a challenge at the Swimming World Cup 2023

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Lani Pallister was not going to take any prisoners and was determined to give it her all at the 800-meter freestyle final. This was her final sprint towards the World Cup medal, and she would leave no stone unturned till she made it to the top. In a race that made for an exciting watch for the swimming fans on the World Aquatics official YouTube channel, Pallister took a huge lead over her rivals the minute she plunged into the pool at 0.70 seconds. She was chased by New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather who has had incredible success at the Berlin meet of the Swimming World Cup 2023. Fairweather had broken the 400-meter World Cup record with an electrifying finish and was gearing for the second record in double the distance. 

Lani Pallister recognized the challenge and increased her momentum at every split. In the meantime, Katie Grimes of the United States was slowly closing in on her rivals from the South with remarkable speed. She rose up the charts during the last two splits from fifth position to third and was gunned down behind Erika Fairweather. Lani Pallister was the first to reach the wall at 8.16.82 seconds which broke the earlier World Cup record of 8.22.24 seconds. Interestingly, Pallister was not the only one to rewrite the 800-meter freestyle record in the finals on October 8. 

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Erika Fairweather records second best time

Erika Fairweather had already made a name for herself as an agile freestyle racer in the Swimming World Cup 2023. She currently holds the World Cup record in the 400-meter freestyle and also posted her personal best in the 200-meter in August. She extended her dominance in the discipline in the 800-meter freestyle final tonight by recording 8.21.23. Although the record went to Pallister, her second-best time was nothing short of incredible.

Unexpected Ending Dissapoints Lani Pallister After 200M Bronze at Swimming World Cup 2023

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But these two women have a long way to go before they can catch up to Katie Ledecky’s World record of 8.04.79. In the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup, the seven-time Olympic champion recorded an even lower time of 7:57.42 seconds. In the Paris Olympics, this iconic swimmer who once broke Michael Phelps’ record of the most world titles, will surely shine the brightest. However, her two rivals from Australia are sure to try and reach for her crown. 

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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Anchal Ahuja is a sports author for Essentially Sports. She is a skilled writer who has a vast knowledge of different sports and is now delved into the US Sports Arena. Anchal has chased her dream and followed her passion to become a pro writer.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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