BUDAPEST, Hungary — Katie Ledecky breezed to her third gold medal of the world championships on Tuesday, capturing the 1,500-meter freestyle by more than half the length of the pool on her most grueling night of the meet.

Ledecky touched in 15 minutes, 31.82 seconds — more than 6 seconds off her world-record pace from the championships in Kazan two years ago, but clearly conserving energy for her second race of the night.

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She only has a 49-minute break before returning to the pool for the semifinals of the 200 free.

Having already won the 400 free and 4x100 free relay on the opening day of swimming, Ledecky stayed on course for a record-tying six golds by a female swimmer. This was one of the biggest locks of all, and the 20-year-old was essentially just racing herself as the rest of the field fell far behind.