- Associated Press - Monday, July 22, 2019

GWANGJU, South Korea — Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky withdrew from the 200-meter freestyle preliminaries and the 1,500 free final Tuesday at the world swimming championships because of illness.

Her coach Greg Meehan said doctors were assessing Ledecky, but had no official diagnosis.

“She woke up this morning and she’s not feeling well at all,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we see her racing again this week.”

The eight-day meet ends Sunday.

Shortly after Meehan spoke to reporters came word that Ledecky was out of the evening’s 1,500 free final.

Ledecky was the fastest qualifier for the grueling event in 15 minutes, 48.90 seconds — 2.68 seconds faster than the next quickest swimmer. But she hasn’t been in the pool since Monday’s prelims.

U.S. national team managing director Lindsay Mintenko said Ledecky hasn’t been feeling well since she arrived in Gwangju on July 17.

Ledecky had been scheduled to swim in Tuesday’s morning heats of the 200 free, one of the showcase events in the pool.

It would have been a rematch between her and Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, who stunned Ledecky to win the 400 freestyle final on Sunday. The event also includes Federica Pellegrini of Italy, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Penny Oleksiak of Canada.

Also dropping out of the 200 free were Australia’s Emma McKeon and Canada’s Taylor Ruck.

McKeon was reported to not be feeling well, while Ruck instead wants to focus on her remaining events.

“The three girls that pulled out are probably my top three challenges, so it’s a little bit easier now,” Titmus said. “But Pellegrini’s still in there, Sarah’s still in there, so it’s still a really tough challenge.”

Sjostrom advanced to the semifinals with the fastest qualifying time of 1:55.14.

Meehan said Ledecky’s illness was not an excuse for her second-place finish in the 400.

“We’re heartbroken for her because she really had come in in a great position,” Meehan said, “and hopefully we get to see that at some point this week.”

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