- Associated Press - Saturday, August 23, 2014

GOLD COAST, AustraliaKatie Ledecky lowered her own world record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle to win the Pan Pacific championships title in 3 minutes, 58.37 seconds on Saturday.

Ledecky was under world-record pace for much of the race in an outdoor pool at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and finished strongly to shave almost a half-second off the mark of 3:58.86 she set at the U.S. nationals on Aug. 14.

The 17-year-old from Bethesda, Maryland, also holds the world records in the 800 and 1,500 freestyle events, and narrowly missed improving her mark in the 800 earlier at the Pan Pacs.

“It’s a great feeling. It never really gets old,” Ledecky said of her run of records. “I have some long-term goals. We’re not quite there yet, but we’ll get there.”

It was her fourth gold medal of the meet, following her titles in the 200, 800 and the 4x200-meter relay.

Persistent rain has overshadowed the meet since the opening day but it wasn’t raining Saturday night during the 400 — not that it would have bothered Ledecky.

“It was beautiful out there tonight. I’m not really affected by the rain or anything,” she said. “there’s no rain under water, so it doesn’t really bother me.”

Ledecky won the 800 meters at the London Olympics and added gold medals in the 400, 800 and 1,500 at last year’s world championships, where she also lowered the world records over the two longer distance events.

Her swim on Saturday gave her another first — for a world record in the new pool that will be used for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Oh yeah, I didn’t even think about that. I guess that is pretty neat,” she said. “It’s a nice pool. I’m loving it here in Australia — it’s been a fun week.”