Spotlight On US Swim Star Katie Ledecky

Although Katie won a gold medal at the Olympics last year her name was easily shadowed by the likes of Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Alison Schmitt and Ryan Lochte. However, she has well and truly placed herself as one of the world's most promising young swimmers after winning 'best female swimmer' at the Barcelona World Championships last week.

Her early story

Sixteen-year-old Katie was born in 1997 in Washington DC. She began swimming aged only six. Katie quickly followed in the footsteps of her mother who had swum for the University of New Mexico. She swims for the Nation's Capital Swim Club based in Washington DC. Katie is a distance swimmer whose best performances are in the 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events. She also competes in the 200 and 400 metre freestyle events.

Olympics 2012 and World Championships 2013

She qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in early summer last year when she won the 800 metre freestyle and also came third in the 400 metre free. When she came to London for the Olympic Games she was only 15-years-old and was the youngest US competitor at the games. She won an incredible gold medal for the 800 metre free, finishing with a time of 8:14.63, a full four seconds ahead of the second place position who was taken by Mireia Belmonte Garcia (third was Rebecca Adlington). Later in 2012 she won the Golden Goggle Award's Best Female Performance and Best Breakout Performer both for her win in the Olympics.

Last week Katie won four gold medals at the World Championships earning her Best Female Swimmer of the Competition. Having only entered into four races she came out top for every single one. She won gold for the 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyles as well as the 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay. Her time of 15:36.53 saw her break the world record for the 1500 metre free, which had previously been held by fellow US swimmer Kate Ziegler since 2007. She also broke Rebecca Aldington's record for the 800 metre finishing with a time of 8:13.86. Katie was originally meant to compete in the 200 metre free but she is stronger in the longer distance swims and clearly made the right decision to stick to these.

What Katie does next

With Rio 2016 firmly in her sights, Katie will be working towards the road to Brazil over the next two years. At Rio Katie will be 19-years-old and along with Missy Franklin will replicate the Lochte /Phelps domination of US swimming that we have seen in previous events. As one of the world's top distance swim stars of the moment, it seems bizarre that Katie now needs to return for two full years of high school before the next Olympic Games even occur. By then with school behind her and two world records under her belt she will certainly be one of the most powerful forces in world swimming.



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