Katie Ledecky

Caroline Carter, Staff Writer

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Many people may recognize the name of the record-breaking distance swimmer Katie Ledecky. The twenty one-year-old began her competitive swimming career at the age of six at the Palisades Swim and Tennis Club with her older brother, Michael. At the age of fourteen, Ledecky’s natural talent and dedication caught the attention of Yuri Suguiyama, coach at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club. She was advised to kick more aggressively, a technique primarily used by elite male swimmers.

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Ledecky was the youngest member of the American Olympic team. The world was shocked when the fifteen-year-old broke Janet Evan’s long-standing record for the 800 meter freestyle of 8:16.22 with the time of 8:14.63, earning a gold medal for the event. Ledecky continued to the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. She broke the world record in the 400 meter freestyle, as well as winning four additional gold medals in the 200 freestyle, 800 freestyle, 1500 freestyle, and the 800 freestyle relay. Ledecky was the first woman to win four individual events. In January of 2016, at the Arena Pro Swim Series, she set her eleventh world record with a time of 8:06.68 in the 800 freestyle.

In 2015, the olympian was accepted to Stanford University; however, Ledecky delayed enrollment to focus on training for the 2016 Summer Olympics. In Rio, Ledecky proved what hard work along with training can do. She won gold in the 400 freestyle with the time of 3:56.46, and was nearly five seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Jazmin Carlin. Ledecky won the 200 freestyle by three tenths of a second at 1:53.73. In the 800 freestyle, she beat her own record by two seconds at 8:04.79. Not only did she win gold, she was a full eleven seconds ahead of the second place swimmer, Jazmin Carlin. As Ledecky was finishing, she was a full 25 meters ahead of the other swimmers in her heat.

In the 2018 NCAA Championships, Ledecky did not achieve any personal best times for individual events. She anchored for Stanford’s team in the 800 freestyle relay, and the team won the event with the time of 1:39.87. In the 500 freestyle, Ledecky gained two seconds to her time from the previous year going 4:26.57. She still gave her competitors a run for their money being over eight seconds ahead. She swam the 400 IM on the third night of the competition with a time of 3:58.59, finishing second behind Stanford student, Ella Eastin. On the last night, Ledecky swam the 1650, lapping the competition, and she finished at 15:07.57, almost thirty seconds ahead of the second place swimmer. On March 26, 2018, Ledecky announced that she is going professional. She will continue attending Stanford and train with her teammates; however, her collegiate swimming career is over. On March 2, 2018, she signed with agent Dan Levy, Wasserman Senior Vice President of Olympic and Women’s Sports, thus taking the first step in her professional career.

Works Cited
Swim Swam Partners. “Katie Ledecky.” SwimSwam, https://swimswam.com/bio/katie-ledecky/
Biography.com Editors. “Katie Ledecky Biography.” Biography, https://www.biography.com/people/katie-ledecky-070116
United States Olympic Committee. “Katie Ledecky.” TeamUSA, https://www.teamusa.org/usa-swimming/athletes/katie-ledecky
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