Janet Evans – I Always Wanted An American To Get That Record Back – Video Interview

  13 Mitch Bowmile | August 11th, 2014 | Featured, National, News, Video

Katie Ledecky became the first woman to own the 400, 800, and 1500m freestyle records all at once since legendary distance swimmer Janet Evans held them, and Janet Evans flew into Irvine when she heard to congratulate Ledecky and address the media.

Janet Evans had only great things to say about Katie Ledecky and her journey in the realm of distance freestyle, adding that she was pleased the record was back in the hands of an American.

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13 Comments on "Janet Evans – I Always Wanted An American To Get That Record Back – Video Interview"

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2 years 14 days ago

Thanks that was a very interesting look at the legendary and classy Janet Evans who in hindsight is able to allude to the possibility that perhaps Ledecky has some maturity or mental skills that she herself lacked at that age, that may have stalled her own progress after her initial teenaged record onslaught. It’s interesting because I remember Evans at that age, and my gut feeling is that it rings true, that in comparison Ledecky does seem to have some precocious skills in that way, which is why I’m so intrigued with her– she appears to have both the raw talent of Evans and the steely mindset of Phelps, the latter comparison being the subject of SwimSwam and other swimming website features awhile back.

However, I also have to say that Evans may overstate that personal difference somewhat too: 25-30 years after she felt so hounded and harassed by the media as she tried to just get through her remaining days in high school, people in general are more knowledgable about the positive and negative effects of celebrity, swimmers are given formal media training, along with informal advice from family, friends, and fellow athlete-celebs, and in the age of social media where everyone’s on camera at some point, and strangers commenting about them, swimmers like Missy Franklin are generally somewhat more comfortable having cameras and reporters around.

Nevertheless, even if I’m correct about Ledecky having the combined strengths of Evans and Phelps, it’s wise to remember that she’s still a teenager, and both of those legends had early stumbles in their reaction to success and fame. So it would be great if Evans would share with Ledecky and other young the pitfalls she faced after dealing with her early success, and what she would have done differently, in hindsight.

2 years 14 days ago

Still, in my opinion Ledecky has a ways to go before she’s as dominant in the 800/1500. However there is a valid point about the “steely mindset.” When Ledecky set the WR she bared her teeth- I saw primal anger and energy. Not many female swimmers have that like she does (maybe Sjostrom).

2 years 14 days ago


Great insights, and I think they are spot on! I do feel Ledecky’s steely motivation to dominate swimming is similar to Phelps. She even sacrificed and deferred going to Stanford by two years to prepare for Rio.
While Franklin talent and competitiveness is also up there, she chooses to have more balance life.

2 years 14 days ago

Well, Missy chooses to have a more balanced life right now, but it’s my understanding that she intends to go pro after the coming NCAA season and put her focus on Rio. Not sure if she intends to take a year off school, too, but I would suspect so.

2 years 14 days ago

You are mistaken. Katie has not deferred anything in her life to train for Rio. Her balanced life will continue after this trifecta, just as it has since London. She will return home for her senior year of high school and will, no doubt, swim for her high school team once again. She has said that she is thinking about whether to defer attending Stanford for one year, until 2016. If she does defer that one year, I would guess that it will have more to do with maintaining her routine—the bed she sleeps in, the food she eats, the group trains with and the coach she trusts—9 months before Olympic Trials. I would also guess that she will find a university where she can take classes near her home so she can keep the academic portion of her incredibly successful routine. Whatever she does, it is clear that having a balanced life has been important to her personally and that it dovetails nicely with her training.

Mac McClelland
2 years 14 days ago

i predict Ledecky will also eventually take down the 200 record.

2 years 14 days ago

I assume Ledecky will be poised for an onslaught of press going into Rio. It was interesting to see the display of emotion after the 400…she is quite reserved otherwise in interviews. With the perpetually perky Miss you Franklin, who seems very comfortable in front of a camera, Katie will have to let that phenomenal talent in the pool speak for her.

2 years 14 days ago

i think katie is ready for it. i mean she kind of just does her thing. after the rick curl scandal i thought it was going to be an up hill battle, but she has bruce, a strong figure to support her. i mean a 17 year old girl in a press conference is a lot of pressure, bruce and her handled that perfectly. i am a bit to young to remember the heyday of janet evans, but i got the same impresssion from this interview. Lececky has a greater scope of events, i mean, her 200 is really getting down there, she’s got that stellar underwater and can get her tempo up. who knows, she could even be on multiple international relays if she has the momentum in her favor, ala phelps or lochte or natalie making the relay sports in finals. wouldn’t that be something to see ledecky run down the foreign onslaught of sprinters in the 4×100 free relay

Jim C
2 years 14 days ago

Dealing with the media for Rio will be a piece of cake for Ledecky compared to what she had to go through in London.

Distance Swimmer
2 years 14 days ago

God, I love Janet Evans. Such class and so well spoken. I will never for get her triumphs in Seoul. Relatively tiny with an unorthodox stroke and yet she scorched her opponents. She never seems to be putting on an act – seems very genuine.

2 years 14 days ago

Right now, Janet Evans is still the greatest female distance swimmer of all time, but when Ledecky wins 400-800 in Rio, she will take over the title from Evans.

Jim C
2 years 12 days ago

I would have no problems with this idea if it were 2016. But to say Ledecky could become the greatest female distance swimmer based upon her performance in a single swim meet 2 years from now–and nothing she does before then makes any difference whatsoever–that seems like less than an ideal way to promote the sport.

2 years 14 days ago

Let’s go the complete package 200-400 and 800 like Debbie Meyer in 68 Mexico City.


About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a former Canadian age group swimmer who was forced to end his career early due to a labrum tear in his hip and a torn rotator cuff after being recognized as one of the top 50 breaststrokers his age in Canada. He competed successfully at both age …

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