Ledecky in 2012.
|Full name||Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky|
March 17, 1997 |
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||143 lb (65 kg)|
|Club||Nation's Capital Swim Club (NCAP)|
Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky (born March 17, 1997) is an American distance swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and world record holder. She is the current world record holder in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle (long course) and American record holder in the 400-meter freestyle (long course). She also owns the fastest-ever swims in the 500- and 1650-yard freestyles.
In her international debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics as a 15-year old, Ledecky won the gold in the 800-meter freestyle in what was the second-fastest performance of all-time. The following year, Ledecky won four golds at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships, including individual titles in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle. At that meet, she broke the world record in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle, and swam the second-fastest swim of all-time in the 400-meter freestyle.
Ledecky was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of David and Mary Gen Ledecky. David Ledecky's father came to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1947. Her mother swam for the University of New Mexico. Ledecky resides in Bethesda, Maryland, where she attends Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.
Ledecky began swimming at the age of six due to influence of her older brother, Michael. Through the summer of 2012, she trained with the Nation's Capital Swim Club (formerly the Curl Burke Swim Club) under coach Yuri Suguiyama. She continues to train with the Nation's Capital Swim Club under coach Bruce Gemmell. During the summers, she swims for Palisades Swim Team in Bethesda.
2012 Summer Olympic Games
At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, her first major competition, Ledecky made the Olympic team by placing first in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:19.78, which was over two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kate Ziegler. In Omaha, Ledecky also placed third in the 400-meter freestyle (4:05.00) and ninth in the 200-meter freestyle (1:58.66). Her third-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle was the fastest time ever swum by a 15- to 16-year-old American, breaking the national age-group record previously held by Janet Evans. At 15 years, 4 months, and 10 days; she was the youngest American participant at the 2012 Olympic Games.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Ledecky qualified to swim in the final of the 800-meter freestyle by placing third overall in the heats with a time of 8:23.84. In the final, Ledecky shocked the field by winning the gold medal by over four seconds with a time of 8:14.63, the then second-fastest effort of all time just behind Rebecca Adlington's world record of 8:14.10 set in 2008. In addition, she broke Janet Evans' American record of 8:16.22 that stood since 1989. In the final, Ledecky took it out hard and by the 200-meter mark, she had already established an almost body length lead. At the 400-meter mark, Ledecky split 4:04.34, a personal best for her in that distance, and would have placed fifth in the individual 400-meter freestyle. At the 750-meter mark, Ledecky was 3.42 seconds ahead of Mireia Belmonte García, and 0.31 seconds under world record pace. Ledecky ended up winning by a margin of 4.13 seconds and just missing the world record by 0.53 seconds. Her gold was the first international medal of her career, warranting her the 2012 Best Female Performance of the Year and Breakout Performer of the Year at the Golden Goggle Awards.
2013 World Championships
At the 2013 US National Championships, Ledecky qualified to swim in four individual events and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, though she later dropped the 200-meter freestyle from her program. At the National Championships, she finished first in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyle, and second in the 200-meter freestyle.
At the 2013 World Championships, Ledecky won gold in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle, as well as the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and set two world records. In winning the 400 through 1500-meter titles, she became the second woman ever to win the events in a World Championships since German Hannah Stockbauer achieved the feat in 2003. In her first event in Barcelona, the 400-meter freestyle, Ledecky became a world champion for the first time by winning gold in a time of 3:59.82, setting a new American record and becoming the second-fastest performer of all-time in the event.
In her second event, Ledecky won gold in the 1500-meter freestyle in a world record time of 15:36.53, breaking the previous record held by compatriot Kate Ziegler by six seconds. In what was a hard fought race with Dane Lotte Friis, Ledecky was able to overcome Friis in the final few hundred meters after losing the lead at the 300-meter mark, which included a final 50 split of 29.47.
In her third and first relay event of her international career, the 4x200-meter freestyle, Ledecky and teammates Shannon Vreeland, Karlee Bispo, and Missy Franklin won gold in a time of 7:45.14. Anchor Missy Franklin ran down Australian Alicia Coutts in the last 200 meters, giving the US the gold. Ledecky provided the US with an early lead, swimming the first leg in a personal best time of 1:56.32.
In her fourth and last event, the 800-meter freestyle, Ledecky won gold in a world record time of 8:13.86, bettering Rebecca Adlington's world record of 8:14.10. Much like the 1500-meter freestyle, Ledecky let Lotte Friis lead through most of the race, making a move at the 650-meter mark to eventually win the race by 2.46 seconds.
Ledecky scored more points than any other swimmer to earn the FINA trophy for best female swimmer of the meet.
At year's end, Ledecky was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine. She was also named the best female swimmer for 2013 by FINA Aquatics World Magazine.
- As of January 18, 2014.