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Katie Ledecky
United States' Katie Ledecky reacts after winning the gold medal in the women's 1500-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Swimmer Katie Ledecky lost for the first time at the world championships


Swimmer Katie Ledecky tasted defeat at her sport’s world championships for the first time Wednesday in Budapest.

Ledecky came up short in the 200-meter freestyle race to Italy’s Federica Pellegrini after the latter surged to victory in the contest’s closing moments.

Ledecky tied for second with Australia’s Emma McKeon, ending her shot at winning six gold medals at this year’s championships.

Pellegrini surged ahead of the pair after the race’s final flip, finishing first at 1 minute, 54.73 seconds.

Ledecky and McKeon tied for silver at 1 minute, 55.18 seconds, marking the first time the former witnessed a “2” beside her name on scoreboards at the world championships.

Some Twitter users on Wednesday voiced surprise that Ledecky, a 20-year-old from Washington, D.C., had lost at the world championships for the first time.

Ledecky waved off her results Wednesday, noting that a second-place finish “happens to every athlete at some point.”

“I didn’t really feel at the end that I had that extra gear that I normally have,” she said. “I didn’t really see much for the last 50, so I was just trying to put together a good race.”

“I know this race will really motivate me moving forward and the rest of the week as well,” added Ledecky, who will be a heavy favorite for the gold in the 800 free and 4x200 free relay events later this week.

Ledecky was 12 of 12 gold medals over her last three world championships, including three golds so far at this year’s version in Budapest.

The swimmer is now the winningest female in her sport ever, but Missy Franklin will remain the only female swimmer to win a half-dozen events at the world championships.

Pellegrini, for her part, is the first swimmer in the history of the event to win seven medals in a single individual event, that being the 200 free race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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