Gold medalist Katie Ledecky of United States, center, silver medalist Simona Quadarella, left, of Italy and bronze medalist Li Bingjie of China pose during ceremonies at women's 1500m freestyle finals at the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.
CNN  — 

US swimmer Katie Ledecky tied another swimming icon, Michael Phelps, for the most career individual world swimming titles on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old won her 15th individual world title as she dominated the 1,500-meter freestyle at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Ledecky finished with a time of 15 minutes and 26.27 seconds, 17.04 seconds faster than Italy’s Simona Quadarella who settled for silver while China’s Li Bingjie took bronze.

In doing so, she leveled the record set by 23-time Olympic gold medalist Phelps for the most individual world swimming titles, something Ledecky called an “honor.”

“I’ve known Michael for many years now, looked up to him as a little kid,” Ledecky said in a press conference after her win.

“We’re both from Maryland. Just never really imagined I would be in this position. It’s always an honor to win a medal for Team USA, especially gold. Just going to keep going and continue to do my best every time I race.”

According to USA Swimming, Ledecky is the first woman to win 20 world titles – she has won five team golds. This was her fifth world title in the 1,500m event and continues her record of being undefeated over the distance in her career.

She won in the third best time ever swum in the event, only behind her world record set in 2018 and her World Championships record set in 2015.

According to the Olympics, Ledecky now owns all 16 of the top times recorded over 1,500m.

“I feel good. It hurt a lot, but I’m really happy with the outcome. Just having a lot of fun this week,” the seven-time Olympic gold medalist said poolside after her win.

“It’s just a lot of hard work and really great people around me – my coaches ever since I started swimming since I was six, and my really great teammates.”