Katie Ledecky Breaks World Record in Women’s 1500 Meter Freestyle

  185 Braden Keith | August 24th, 2014 | Featured, National, News

American Katie Ledecky has crushed her own World Record in the women’s 1500 meter freestyle on Saturday at the 2014 Pan Pac Championships on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Ledecky’s 15:28.36 broke the 15:34.23 that she swam at an untapered meet in The Woodlands, Texas in June of this year. Year-over-year, her World Record from 2013 was a 15:36.53 done at last year’s World Championships.

As we’ve seen from Ledecky all meet long, en route to two World Records, the difference here came almost entirely on the back-half of her swim. As compared to her old World Record splits, on Sunday she was out in just 8:16.90, as compared to 8:16.18 in the Woodlands in June.

After that, though, in her last 14 splits, she only twice went over 31 seconds on a split, and actually negative-split this race by 800s: 8:16.90/8:14.11 (with 100 meters of overlap).

That is now 7 times in the last three years that Ledecky has broken a World Record, out of 25 total World Records broken across the sport, meaning she’s done 28% of the rewriting in that time period.

What’s more, her best 800 meters worth of splits add up to an 8:10.99 in the 800 free – under that World Record. That won’t count as anything official, with those splits not being her first 800 meters. Those sorts of comparisons are more fun than a realistic representation, as for athletes of her caliber, there’s some small amount of recovery even on a 31.3 or 31.4 seconds split (as mind-boggling as that is to the rest of us). That doesn’t make them any less impressive.

Early in 2013, before Ledecky first broke this record, Kate Ziegler’s 15:42.54 looked like one of the most impressive World Records on the books. It broke an almost 20-year old record, held by Janet Evans, by 10 seconds, and then stood up against the 2008 and 2009 suited years.

In 13 months, however, Ledecky has lowered it by another 14 seconds, or roughly 1.5% of the original time. That would be the equivalent of someone popping off a 46.2 in the men’s 100 free, in textile, on a flat-start: something we may not see for a long, long time in swimming.

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185 Comments on "Katie Ledecky Breaks World Record in Women’s 1500 Meter Freestyle"


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pb&j
1 year 9 months ago

i think her times are nearing “unbreakable” territory

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

“Katie Ledecky’s last 800 meters were faster than her first 800 meters”

She swam 1600 meters? Wow, she is more amazing than I thought! 😉

SWIMFR
1 year 9 months ago

That’s because there is a 100 meters overlap, they mentioned it.

That means the middle hundred ( 700 to 800 ) is common to both the first and second 800’s

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

I read the caption under the pic and then posted. Sorry couldn’t resist.

I guess writing 750 meters doesn’t sound as nifty and doesn’t have a reference point as a racing distance.

SWIMFR
1 year 9 months ago

I haven’t found any race video of it yet, I would love to see that. UNBELIEVABLE.
6 seconds off her own WR, like last year in Barcelona, she’s about 30 seconds ahead of anybody this year in the 1500.
She well might become the greatest ever.

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

I would be nice to get the entirety of the race too rather than an abbreviated version.

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

Ledecky spends so little time in the water that she doesn’t have time to become tired. Smart strategy.

david
1 year 9 months ago

She’s 17 right?

John
1 year 9 months ago

That last statement about a 46.2 flat start gave me chills. Really puts her accomplishment into perspective. Someone needs I get a video of her training. I have a feeling she’s tough as nails and all business in training!

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Not taking anything from Ledecky’s unbelievable achievement, but it is Not fair comparison.
Is that 46.2 a 1.5% improvement from the shiny suit 46.90 in the 100? That record was made in the peak of shiny suit craziness in 2009 where the sprints got more boost than distance events.

Meanwhile, w1500 (as well as 50s strokes) record hjas always been among the softest as it is an event that is rarely swum, and not swum in the Olympics. Ledecky’s 1.5% improvement was made of Ziegler’s textile record in 2007.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

Of course it is a fair comparison that Ledecky’s time would be like a 46.2 for a men’s 100m free, just like it would be a fair comparison that Sarah Sjostrom’s 50 fly would be like a 45.0 since it is a 4% improvement over the 2007 women’s WR in that event.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

So it would be a fair comparison when USA breaks the current mixed relays WRs by more than 4% too?

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

I gave you a pair of likes for your comments, and thought you would appreciate my sarcastic support. Did you really not see the sarcasm?

bb
1 year 9 months ago

I wonder if Katie swims the 1500 again at a major meet until after the Olympics. She has so much potential to continue developing speed in her 100-400, she may let the non-Olympic distance go for time being, and concentrate on the shorter races (100-800). Just a thought and I claim no special knowledge. She just sounds in interviews like she’s having fun exploring her speed and definitely having fun swimming relays.

What a race and what a time! Congratulations to Katie!

Longcommuter
1 year 9 months ago

NBC will air the start and finish of Ledecky’s race, interspersed between multiple airings of the Phelps Signature Spa commercial.

mcgillrocks
1 year 9 months ago

I don’t want to take anything away from this achievement. Hands down, she’s 10+ seconds better than EVERYONE in the world. Sun Yang is only 8 seconds faster the the 3rd fastest textile swimmer this decade.

But I do think that the old WR was weak. Be it psychological or whatever, the rules of the womens 1500 have changed. Before it was a soft time, possibly because of lingering stereotypes about women being able to do a 1500. Maybe because the 1500 is a non-Olympic event, so training (and racing) that long was less important. Whatever. The standards have changed, and formerly incredible times (say 15:45) have become not so great.

Now, it could (theoretically) just be Katie Ledecky is THAT good to chop off so much of the record. But then there was Lotte Friis who also beat the WR. So…maybe we just have 2 all-time greats in one era? It could be, but it wasn’t just them two. It was Lauren Boyle and Jazz Carlin too, and now I’m suspicious. 4 super-swimmers at once? Or is say 15:50 not as difficult as it once seemed?

Jan 1 2013 All-time Textile Rankings
1. Zeilger (15:42)
2. Friis (15:49)
3. Evans (15:52)
4. Piersol, H (15:57)

Today’s All-time Rankings
1. Ledecky (15:28)
2. Friis (15:38)
3. Zeilger (15:42)
4. Boyle (15:44)
5. Carlin (15:47)
6. Evans (15:52)
7. Kobrich (15:52)
8. Piersol, H (15:57)

You’ll notice that 4 out of the top 8 times ever were from one year, and #1 is from 2014. Not only was Zeigler’s WR leap-frogged by a pair of swims, but Evan’s best was beaten by 3 more people (4 people were faster than the mark in that year, but Friss had already beaten that).

It says that the race is changing, and that it’s not really fair to compare a “hard” WR like the mens 100 free to a much softer WR in a non-Olympic event.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I wrote my comment above before I read your here, and I totally agree.
Men 100 free is without a shred of doubt the oldest, most competitive event in swimming atttracting most talents, so naturally its WR is among the hardest to crack.

And I have also made the point that it is not fair to compare Ledecky’s WR percentage improvement with the men 100 free WR.
women 1500 free was not even a world championships event until 2001 Fukuoka, therefore there is a strong argument that the women 1500 free WR was nowhere near as strong as the men 100 free WR.
Also, the old record that Ledecky improved was Ziegler’s textile record, while the writer of this article insisted on the improvement of shiny suit 46.91 as an analogy.

That’s quite bad comparison.

Teacher and Coach
1 year 9 months ago

While I do agree with your comments to some extent (McGillRocks), I think that there is something else at work here also – the effect of a transcendent swimmer.

When a swimmer comes along who is able to smash through psychological or physiological barriers, it pulls the rest of the swimmers of the world along. The other swimmers at the elite level now have a new standard to which to rise. And, the young’uns have a new idea of what is possible.

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

Yes, Katie is the proverbial rising tide.

Lane Four
1 year 9 months ago

She reminds me very much so of Evans and Meagher setting record after record after record until the inevitable plateau…..I am going to enjoy this until she finally catches up with her talent and begins to swim consistent times rather than taking bite after bite after bite from her records. I am anxious to see how far she will go. This is great for the sport. Love it!

Pvdh
1 year 9 months ago

Carlo, you sound a bit salty.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

While I agree with you, I was too surprised that nobody had shown even an ounce of scepticism. A girl swimming as fast or faster than most boys her age is not normal, I don’t care how you dress it up. While Carlo goes too far and is unfair in his comments, scepticism should be natural, these performances can only be likened to other abnormal achievements, most of them from the 80s… we all know how that ended.

I am not taking anything away from this swim, it is a sublime achievement and she is extremely talented. However, the only thing holding back open scepticism on these boards is blind naivity and the fact Ledecky is from the same country as most of you.

She is 26 seconds faster than any British male 17yo. How can anybody say that is not abnormal? There is huge scope for scepticism in these performances.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

Katie Ledecky’s time was only 2.67s faster than the time of a 14 year old American/Puerto Rican boy, Jesse Vassallo, swam 1500m back in 1976, 38 years ago when he swam 15:31.03.

If you want a comparison with someone from the UK, the Welsh swimmer David Davies swam 1500m at the 2004 Olympics in 14:45.95 at age 19. That was 42.41s faster than Ledecky’s time.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

I respect that, but as I said earlier, “these performances can only be likened to those from the 80s” – I am aware of older performances. 70s/80s sport was toxic, that’s the bottom line.

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

“these performances can only be likened to other abnormal achievements, most of them from the 80s”

Only through a myopic lens. Your assertion is not true. The women’s 1500 was rarely swam until the last decade and is still not an Olympic event. So you have to take the progression in that context. Are Phelps’s best swims abnormal, Sjostrom’s 50 fly? I remember comments similar to yours after Michael’s 200IM in Barcelona 2003, after dropping over 2 secs on Sievenen’s mark, considered a legend at the time. It’s possible Ledecky’s records will last a long time but it’s inevitable that others, especially in the 1500, will soon close the gap.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

No, I do concede that was an unfair assessment – Point taken.

SWSWIMFAN
1 year 9 months ago

The underlying sexism in your comment is appalling! So there is a “normal” looking female swimmer who can only achieve a pre-designated level of success, and anything past that is too manly! These are the same type of views that have historically kept women from swimming and competing in the 1500 and why it is not an Olympic event. If your sarcastically alluding to doping, remember that USA has stringent testing and given her age, obvious character and her coaching I think it would be hard to get a way with. For the record, I didn’t agree with everyone questioning that Chinese swimmer in the Olympics with no evidence (Ye Schwin?) I think the earlier post has it correct, the training has changed and Katie is an extremely mentally focused about her training on a daily basis, that is part of her talent and what sets her apart. As far as the “balding hair line” comment Carlo, that just goes to show that you are a complete ass-hat!! Couldn’t down vote your post enough.

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

SWSWIMFAN, DON’T FEED THE TROLLS….

Swam
1 year 9 months ago

Shut up. You’re obviously new to this. There HAS been suspicion. But there’s nothing there. She is the real deal and has proved it. Stop attacking her.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

I am not new, If you were referring to me. These forums are for conversation, not telling people to “shut up”. If you can’t do that, I think you will find it difficult here. There has been scepticism from a few posters, they are then usually chastised by a majority of posters. Her performances are abnormal, stop telling yourself they aren’t. When abnormal performances occur, it is normal to be sceptical.

SwimFanFinland
1 year 9 months ago

I think her performances are normal. She is just better than others at the moment in her events. There has been and will be similar improvements in the future as well. That’s how we move forward. The progress doesn’t happen linearly.

But Ledecky’s performances are just as normal as everyone else’s performances – no matter where they are coming from until its proven otherwise. Ye Shiwen’s performances are just as normal as Ledecky’s. If Shiwen’s performances are not normal then Ledecky’s performances aren’t either.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I totally agree with this.

For me, Ye Shiwen’s swims are extraordinary (and most consistent) and normal.
I also believe Ledecky’s swims are extraordinary (and most consistent) and normal.
Both are great swimmers, supremely talented with great achievements. It’s a pity one of those was attacked so viciously by american coaches and american press, probably causing her psychological and emotional damage.

And before anyone refute me on ye Shiwen, please educate yourself and read about the Ye Shiwen from age 10 and up to this year where she is still leading the world’s ranking in 400 IM.

I am not surprised that John Leonard is silent now.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Also I need to point out how vocal John Leonard can be when accusing swimmers of other countries of doping while being silent on all those coaches sexual abuses that happened under his nose. That’s a hypocrite if I see one.

Acoach
1 year 9 months ago

Im former European (American ) .I love how all the accusations come from Europe
And South America about potential drug use ,sorry to tell you ,you speak from experience
training less and do drugs, I don’t trust any times comes from France,Spain or Italy….
or South America.
Ledecky is one of kind ,every coach dreams about that kind of swimmer , absolutely wish her all the best Turn Pro and make some money.

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

First let me stress that I don’t see anything suspicious in Ledecky’s performances, or Ye’s for that matter. But it’s important to realize that we can never be sure that any swimmer from any country is clean. I’m not remotely accusing anyone, it’s just an unfortunate but simple fact that innocence cannot be proved.

Lane Four
1 year 9 months ago

There was a documentary on Youtube a couple years ago on the YOUNG Ye Shiwen. She was tiny but incredibly fast. She is bigger now and still incredibly fast. Is she clean. I don’t doubt for one moment that she is doing anything that Ledecky is doing – and that is training hard and fast and showing the world what is possible. Both are surpreme, once-in-a-generation talents that will force the others to train harder and smarter to catch up.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Amen!

That’s the reason we need to be pragmatic when we see sublime swims, scepticism is healthy – It is not an accusation nor are there any underlying tones (at least not when I say I am sceptical). Brilliance is questioned for good and bad, that’s the whole point. When something beyond your wildest dreams unfolds in front of your eyes, it is normal to step back and say “Wow, Is this really possible?”. That is not an accusation, that is normal. I did it 2 or three times during Glasgow 2014, watching my Idols swim. When Fran Halsall went 23.9 – I stepped back and though, “After all these years of plateau, how has she done this”… After Peaty chasing down Cameron, I did the same, when Carlin took 2seconds out of Boyle in 75m, when the Scottish went 1-2-3 in their 400 Free heat, When Murdoch obliterated Jamieson… Scepticism is a natural reaction to something amazing, not an accusation, I could not stress that enough.

I am not sure why my comments caused such a reaction. People on this forum have had less flack and quite a lot of support for comments regarding a particular swimmer who is mentioned further down the comments section. Not just scepticism either, quite blatant Implications of foul-play.

Either way, I’d like to clear up my comments as I have never had a problem on these boards.
I was not accusing any athlete of any wrong-doing, I was simply stating that being sceptical of such brilliance is natural. When somebody is so much better than the rest or improves dramatically in one race etc… It is natural to wonder “How is she this good”. That doesn’t mean “she must be doping”, it means – what is so special, what is so different about this girl, how can she do this, where has she come from (I accept Kathleen was demolishing Yards records all Winter but I am speaking more generally) – All of these questions lead to the inevitable, scepticism.

I do not believe Kathleen is cheating, she seems like an Incredibly sweet young lady who works her arse off and has been blessed with an innate ability to swim, and swim bloody fast. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be room for scepticism. The sad truth is, some sportspeople cheat, that is not a reason to tar all athletes with the same brush – But, it is a reminder that sometimes greatness is achieved through foul play and for that, scepticism is both natural and a healthy reaction to greatness – Only after Initial congratulation of course.

I feel my use of the words “normal” and “abnormal” are what caused this reaction, so I will elaborate and I apologise for any offence caused. When I said Kathleen’s performance was “abnormal”, I was not speaking akin to Mr Leonard and his use of the word “disturbing”. I was speaking literally, it was quite literally not normal, extraordinary, out of this world, not something you’d expect… In other words, abnormal or not the norm. Perhaps I chose the wrong description.

I agree with Lennart, I am not suspicious of Kathleen or Ye – I think they are both Incredible young women. But scepticism is not necessarily suspicion. Suspicion is unwarranted and toxic, as I said about three hours ago to Carlo, renamed ‘The Troll’. Scepticism is pragmatic and realistic, not everybody is clean, that’s the sad thing about sport. Until there is a day where scientists can categorically say “everybody involved in elite sport is 100% clean” scepticism will be a natural, logical and justifiable reaction to greatness – whether it is wrong or right.

Now, I was not attacking Ms Ledecky – I couldn’t stress more how highly I regard her nor could I applaud her success more than I do. I was merely pointing out that greatness such as her performances are open to scepticism, just as other greats are – It is part of elite sport.

I hope this clears that up to most people.

TheTroubleWithX
1 year 9 months ago

I think most of the vitriol has been intended for Carlo, Dee.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Yes, you’re right – I just noticed a few people commenting on my comments interpreting them in a light that was 1000 miles from my initial intention, I meant no offense nor did I mean to seem to be suggesting ‘other powers’ were at play is Kathleen’s performances -I do not think that, not in the slightest.

liquidassets
1 year 9 months ago

Good clarification, Dee. Along the same lines, when I logged on last night and saw her time posted in the Hy-tek results, I was initially skeptical because the time was so shocking to me. My mind immediately stretched to make sense of it, and, among a variety of many possibilities, at some point, my brain very briefly went to “is it a clean swim?” and just as quickly rejected it, in favor of the likelihood that, like Janet Evans, she is a unique talent taking chunks out of a long event that is both less popular and less frequently contested in international events. Another possibility, in fact the one that was my initial reaction, was, “is this a typo”? 😉

As otherworldly as her swim was, her splits indicate that there is still room for improvement. Swimming a 28.99 for her last 50, as well as her other back half splits, suggests that there was a slight reserve at the end, which, if spread over the last 100-200 or even the whole race, depending on her strategy, might result in some marginal improvement. i.e., although her pacing was masterful, it might not even be quite optimal yet.

I know that history suggests that many distance swimmers peak in their teens, but even so, she’s still only 17, so there is still some time left to improve, especially given the suboptimal conditions for the meet. (although to her credit, Ledecky’s champion response was “It’s doesn’t matter, it’s not raining under water”. 😉

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Thanks, didn’t want people thinking I was Implying foul-play haha – not in the slightest was that my Intention.

I agree though, having flicked through the splits – It was masterfully swum, but 28.99 at the end of a 1500m? Special, very special. Her ‘easy speed’ is the key to her success. Where other distance top swimmers have a ‘cruising’ speed 31 high/32 low Kathleen’s is more like 31.0… She could do 62.8 100s all day long, the frightening thing about that – 58.3 first 100 followed by 62.8s to 700m would leave you around 7.45… we are talking about this girl CRUISING to that point, that is not far off Adlington’s WR pace… She can go a long way under 8.10 for 800m.

We have a girl here who can go 61.8 every 100m for the middle 600m of on 800m – 6.10.8s

58.5 opening.
60.0 closing (being lenient)

Gives you 8.09.30 – and for me, that is a very comfortable pace for Ledecky.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Great post, Dee!!!

And you have eloquently put in writing how I feel.
I cannot be more in awe of Ledecky and for me I think she’s once in a lifetime (since I followed swimming in 1992) female swimmer. For male swimmers there have been two: Thorpe and Phelps 🙂

BDB
1 year 9 months ago

Ledecky should go to short course worlds this year. It would be fun to watch the world record lines

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

I really hope she does. She could get close to 15 minutes with her underwaters. It’d be a waste of her immense talent not to break those worlds records.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

WTF? voices are now being judged? bitterness is a disease. maybe you’re country sucks at swimming.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

he must lack of a good strong voice himself and therefore receives a mirror of that very lack ; everything is possible in this world even Katie Ledecky sweep of WR’s .

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

Who are u to KNOW that what she does in not normal ?. have u lived like 250 years allready to tell about other periods of time when this could or not have happened ? NOPE , U have not .
From now , better see within your huge imagination that anything abnormal may fit into the mainstream of normalty . your thoughts are immesely immerged into appreication for the sport , it shows well . Good luck dude

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Give over.. her performances aren’t normal. You are playing guesswork, “250 years”, give it up. She is a girl swimming faster than her male age group equivalents. Her 15.28 would have been 16th at Europeans. A 16 year old girl, 16th at Europeans, in a mens event. If you tell me that is normal, you have no idea what you are talking about.

I do not agree with Carlo nor am I defending him, his comments are offensive and unacceptable, I am in no way echoing them. Just stating the fact, scepticism is justified.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

Skepticism is justified? Based on what? Not all men are strong nor the talent to be the best in their field. You’re generalizing that no one can compete against the men.

You disregard that Ledecky’s under-water is getting better. One of the European commentators even mentioned that her strokes are similar to Sun Yang. This year she’s working with her speed and it’s evident in her 200m event.

But hey, she’s a woman, so there’s no way she can be the better than the men. *roll-eyes*

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

We are talking about the European championships, not a provincial meet. The best swimmers in Europe, the strongest men with the most endurance. Women are not as strong as men, and Ledecky isn’t even a woman yet, she is a 17 year old teenager.

A few examples, I concede this is far from scientific, but just to give a basic Idea of a few other 16th placed times at Europeans (Men’s events)…

400IM – 4mins21secs
400FR – 3mins51secs
800FR – 8mins01secs

A few examples from elite male events, of 16th places in other endurance events. Now, the thought of a woman getting close to these times is ‘new world’, it is just not conceivable. Now, we’ll expand my earlier comments to the whole of Europe…

Amongst 17/18 year old boys across the whole of Europe, Kathleen sits in 6th position. Now, if you specify further, amongst just 17 year olds, Kathleen sits second, less than one second behind the fastest European 17 year old male.

Now, nobody is debating that “not all men are strong”, however, we are not speaking about “all men” – we are speaking about Europe’s BEST swimmers, they are strong, they are machines.

I am not saying Kathleen has done anything wrong or that she is cheating, I’ve never said that. I’ve purely stated her achievements are unprecedented and abnormal, if you had asked a swim coach 3 years ago “could this happen?” and propose Kathleen’s current situation, most would have said “No” in no uncertain terms. For those reasons, scepticism is perfect understandable and justified.

Josh
1 year 9 months ago

While I agree ledecky’s swims are most definitely large enough outliers to warrant suspicion, comparing women’s age group to men is fraught with issues. I would argue women peak much younger and men much later. Men’s physical development in the late teens/early twenties is generally highly favorable for sports whereas women’s development in those years is likely unfavorable for sports.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

3 years ago on Swimswam Bobo Gigi predicted that Katie Ledecky would do something like this. I am sure Katie has exceeded his expectations, but I am also sure that if you asked him if there were any possibility that she would do this well he would have said yes.

And consider this. Katie’s records in the 400. 800. and 1500 are 2.247, 1.052, and 2.493 percent less than what the records were 25 years ago today. The textile best for women’s 100 is 4.385 percent less than what it was 25 years ago.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

If you check, in 2011 I also predicted in this site the huge future Ledecky and the battle between between Ledecky and Remy Fairweather, who was also 14 yo and swam faster 400 than Ledecky.
I am wrong about half of them.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I agree with you Dee.
why can’t people take the word “abnormal” in its neutral meaning, and not in negative meaning.

PVK
1 year 9 months ago

Anyone who knows what they’re talking about knows that Katie Ledecky is 17, not 16. You’re attacking one of the world’s most talented and accomplished athletes for no good reason. I’m sure the drug tests will provide a definitive answer to the question of doping.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Scroll up, “She is 26 seconds faster than any British male 17yo” – From an earlier comment. I know how old Ledecky is, 6 & 7 are rather close together when you are typing on a mobile 😉

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Apparently although Shiwen passed tens of doping test at home and abroad since she was 12, that didn’t satisfy american swimming coaches who accused her of doping.

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

Unfortunately drug tests only give definitive answers when they come back positive.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

True. And this principle should apply to everyone.

Josh
1 year 9 months ago

Drug tests definitive? LOL. Ledecky is an outlier, plain and simple. Suspicion is warranted, plain and simple. Frankly, I couldn’t care less, I want to see the fastest, doping or not. But if the discussion is about whether doping is a realistic possibility, the answer is clearly yes, as it is with almost all world class athletes as I have already mentioned before. And drug testing is hardly even close to a definitive proof someone is clean (see lance armstrong, marion jones, etc. etc.)

Coach Mike
1 year 9 months ago

Every world record is “unprecedented and abnormal”.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

No, every world record is unprecedented. Very few are abnormal, or done in an abnormal way. You are simplifying way too much. Cesar going 46.9 was not abnormal, Lezak splitting 46.0 was abnormal. Phelps clipping a world record and Improving it by 0.09s is not abnormal, an athlete Improving by 3seconds on a 200 to become World champion but just missing a World Record is abnormal (hypothetical). My point is, there is a difference between unprecedented and abnormal.

Coach Mike
1 year 9 months ago

Well then,by your definition, this record was not abnormal for Katie. If you look at her progression of swims over the last couple of years then this swim fits right in.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Her fastest 800m worth of splits were “faster than” the current 800m WR. That is not the norm.

Lane Four
1 year 9 months ago

Ok Dee, time to get out the swimming history books. I know a lot about this sport considering I have been around since the 1960s, wrote a book on the sport and hosted a television program on Olympic athletes (including swimmers). You talk about her back 800 time as not being normal. Well, it is not unprecedented. This has been done in the past and by all people, an Australian. A teeny, tiny little girl by the name of Jenny Turral. Way back in 1974 at the United States National Championships in Concord, California, Jenny broke her own then world record of 16:39 with a 16:33. In that race, American Jo Harshbarger went out blazing fast and broke the world record for the 800 meters. But guess what???? Are you ready for this???? Although Jenny was at least six seconds behind Jo’s pace, she picked up her tempo from masterful negative split coaching (thank you Forbes Carlile) and cranked out a LAST 800 split that was about three seconds faster than Jo’s opening 800 and world record. At the end, Jenny won the race by roughly six seconds and showed the world that it IS possible to split that LAST 800 of the 1500 race faster than the first and also swim it faster than the listed world record for the distance. And by the way, there was NO talk about Jenny taking a PED of any type. She was a well-conditioned and beautifully trained swimmer who was just as gifted and talented as Katie Ledecky.

1 year 9 months ago

Lane four,

Read what I said. Something can be unprecedented but NOT abnormal, just as something can be abnormal but NOT unprecedented. I said, Kathleen’s swim was NOT the norm, not that it was unprecedented. So, you have actually added nothing new to this conversation (other than a very interesting story than I was born 20years too late to witness).

Scroll up a little, I posted an eight paragraph elaboration of my comments, that should explain everything to you. Particularly regarding people seeming to think I am suggesting Kathleen is cheating, as that is the furthest thing from my thoughts.

let me know if that clears this all up!

Lane Four
1 year 9 months ago

Ouch, I hit a nerve. So sorry.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

A 19 year old at the Europeans swam 14:39.93. If a nineteen year old boy can swim this why can’t a seventeen year old girl swim 15:28.36?

carlo
1 year 9 months ago

yes voices are being judged bcos if a female athlete has a deep voice it is either a sign of doping or she,s androgenous.my country doesn,t suck at swimming bcos i,m american.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

We have a troll here. I’m done.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

So what’s wrong with men who have effeminate voices? Her voice is nothing to do with anything, so stop bringing it up. Not all women with deep voices are androgynous. A voice is not something to judged on, it’s offensive.

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

There are plenty of prominent successful female swimmers with voices deeper than Katie’s (if this is the standard you’re going to use).

PVK
1 year 9 months ago

If you judge someone’s athletic accomplishments based on their VOICE…maybe you need to take a look at yourself.

JD
1 year 9 months ago

Everyone talking about normality in relation to gender and muscle. XXI century swimming is not about muscle. Have you seen her technique? BTW, is Sun Yang muscular? Technique people. Somewhere you can find and read about the formula Velocity (V) equals square root of Force (F) divided by drag coeficient (Cd). The two swimmers have been able to minimize drag.

Pvdh
1 year 9 months ago

Dee, I understand you to be a British fan, right? Well what if I asked you how Adam Peaty dropped that much time in that short of a period? You’d take it as an Insult, not a conversation starter. Katie Ledecky has been to the Olympics and Worlds, put on incredible performances, and has passed multiple drug tests with flying colors. No suspicion of a PED, or a Masking Agent. There is NO room for suspicion, and even what you are saying is insulting. Tell those 17 year old boys to get it together, because the good17 year olds in USA and Australia are faster than Ledecky. Maybe , just maybe, she is just that good, and the 17 year old boys in GB are just that bad.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

And maybe Dee’s arithmetic is really bad. On April 15, 2014 in Glasgow Daniel Jervis swam 15:16.46 about 12s faster not 14s slower than Ledecky.

1 year 9 months ago

Yes, It actually is – Is that a problem? We are having a conversation, no need for your futile bitchiness. If you want an argument, I’m not going to give you one here – But feel free to tweet me any more of your enlightened sledging. If you click where it says ‘Dee’, it’ll send you to my twitter… can’t wait to hear from you.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

1. Peaty isn’t breaking world records every weekend. 2. Who said I wasn’t sceptical of Peaty? I have been posting on these forums for years and have always held my tongue when people have spoken regarding ‘suspicion’ generally. Scepticism of Peaty is justified, not to the same extent, but it is justified. 1.01-59-58 in three years isn’t quite as dramatic as the rise of Ledecky now, is it?

How many times did Armstrong fail a test? Many dopers get away with it for years before they get caught, that’s the whole attraction of doping. Now, before anybody accuses me of likening Kathleen to Lance, I am not – Just using him as an example, it quite often takes years to catch cheats. Also, I don’t know why you are presuming I think Kathleen is doping, I’ve never said that – All I have said is that scepticism is justified, and it is undeniably justified. Then again, I got chastised for questioning Efimova so I am not shocked at all.

This is not just Britain, there is only one European 17yo faster than Kathleen – one boy, and he is less than a second faster, getting dragged along by elite men. Also, the faster Australian 16/17yo is 15.40s – 12seconds slower than Ledecky. Wherever you look around the world, Ledecky is faster than boys her age.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

WTF? Have you even read Armstrong’s history? He tested positive already even when won those titles. You’re making an accusation because you’re bitter.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Where have I made an accusation? You are confusing scepticism (google it) and an accusation of doping. Scepticism is a reservation about something, scepticism in elite sport is healthy, accusation of doping are not. I have not accused Kathleen of anything.

Coach Mike
1 year 9 months ago

Carlo comes across as bigoted and mean in his comments

You, Dee, seem more intelligent and worldly and are arguing a point that seems valid to you about suspect results. Unfortunately, when you voice a suspicion publicly with no evidence other than your feelings (also done by all of the ye shiwen disparagers) it is in reality an accusation. These swimmers and their coaches character are being assassinated by people that have no actual information. It is one thing in a private conversation to say “hey I have my doubts about that person, something does not seem right” and another to put it out for public consumption. There is a funny tv commercial about everything on the internet being true and the reason it is funny is because so many people have such a difficult time determining who is stating solid verifiable “true” info and who is giving opinion.

So bottom line: healthy suspicion good. Posting it online bad.

Sorry if you feel like this is an attack, it is not intended to be (well other than Carlo I guess) just my thoughts about a continuing pattern on swim sites when someone swims fast.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

I understand where you are coming from, Mike. I don’t take this as an attack at all, I’ve had all sorts of bitchiness hurled at me today, your comment is nothing compared haha.

If you read all of my comments though, you’ll see what I am actually saying is to do with scepticism, not suspicion. It is entirely Illogical to witness sporting greatness and not ask questions, in my opinion. Questions are not an accusation, not in my world at least. I view it as pragmatism, sportspeople do cheat, that’s a fact sadly – some champions are made by way of foul-play.

This was not a direct attack on Kathleen, I hold this scepticism regarding numerous champions across numerous sports – and sportspeople generally. The bottom line is, we don’t know who does and who doesn’t (cheat). Therefore, I take the pragmatic approach and while congratulating greatness, I am also very aware that sometimes it is achieved through questionable actions and cheating.

“I’d be more interested in some conversation about Katinka Hosszu as a hard to believe female physique” – That is a quote from a comment that has 8 ‘thumbs up’. This goes further than suspicion, this is a blatant attempt at Implicating Hosszu in doping. Yet, not one commenter has challenged it.

I simply suggested that I was sceptical of Ledecky (and every other athlete that delivers greatness) and I have been chastised, insulted, berated and made to feel unwelcome on this forum/site.

There is an apparent double standard on this site, Aswim and I have said this for years – maybe now people will notice that?

Coach Mike
1 year 9 months ago

I understand your thoughts on a double standard. I believe that this site, while covering world swimming, originates in the US and by far the most readers are from the US I would expect. It is far easier to suspect one of “them” than it to suspect one of “us”. Not fair but realistic. I would guess that there are the same number of unreasonable people percentage wise everywhere but through sheer volume we come out with the most on this site.

My point though is that publicly stating accusations, suspicions, skepticism, etc. as done by many on this site (and others) is a practice that needs to stop. There is a very real social consequence to being “suspect”. Hence law enforcement now using the term “person of interest” when they are investigating rather than “suspect”.

Yes, cheating is very real in top level sport and we need to support a vigorous testing protocol and keep our eyes open. When we actually have real knowledge we need to bring it to the attention of the appropriate officials. Continuing to foster an environment of unsubstantiated accusations by anonymous contributors is not only unfair to the individuals discussed but toxic to the swimming community if in fact we are trying to be a swimming COMMUNITY.

I realize that you feel there is a major difference between your “skepticism” and the outright accusations of others, but I believe that In reality on this format, they both amount to the same thing.

1 year 9 months ago

I am actually not anonymous, I can be found by clicking on my tag ‘Dee’ above my posts. I do apologise (as I did earlier) for any offense my comments caused, but I do stand by them. I do accept your comments, and I will refrain from commenting on Individual cases in future, as I had done until now – I can see how it could be construed incorrectly. It’ll just be known, I am sceptical of all cases of sporting greatness haha.

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

Nice comment! Also, look at her rate of improvement. She was a stud as a 13, 14 and 15 year old. She is just continuing the rate while others aren’t as much. She’s pulling away from those who were close to her (Olympics and WC) and I’m sure it’s frustrating to some.

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

The nice comment was for PVDH!

Bossanova
1 year 9 months ago

Please don,t…

carlo
1 year 9 months ago

i,m not a troll but i want to ask you guys if katie ledecky somehow swims 14.40.56 in the 1500 freestyle what will be the explanation.that she,s as good as the men.

jiggs
1 year 9 months ago

If it writes like a troll, and it punctuates like a troll, …

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

U are a TROLL ! period .NO more non sense of non passionate swim fan ! it’s clear

1 year 9 months ago

This guy… lol thanks for making my day

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

That is the same line I have heard from crazy swim parents as I have seen from people having too much fun out on the town… Yeah. Okay. Sure…..

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I may get attacked again for this.
But first to clear off,
1. I am a huge fan of Ledecky
2. I think she’s legit
3. I am in awe of her achievements.

That being said, my purpose of saying the following is to show the double standards and hypocrisy (and NOT in any way questioning Ledecky):

Had Ledecky been chinese, I can only imagine the unrelenting viscous attacks, allegations, suspicion, etc etc coming from the traditional (read: american) swimming power.
Case in point:
In London, John Leonard, top US swimming coach led the attacks on Ye Shiwen:
He described 400 IM swim by ‘Supergirl’ Miss Ye as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘disturbing’.
He also made the extraordinary suggestion that the Chinese could be using genetic manipulation to enhance performances.

OK, to emphasize again:
I wrote all these NOT to question Ledecky’s achievement AT ALL. My purpose is only to present the double standards and hypocrisy.

law Dawg
1 year 9 months ago

aswimfan, you always conveniently leave this out: Chinese women have a history of doping. American women do not. You continually complain and mourn about the double standard instead of addressing the past malpractice of China. Simply put, after the behavior of east germany and, more recently, china, the west is bound to be very suspicious of break out swims. This isn’t to say America is 100% clean and completely moral in their proceedings, it’s just that they haven’t been found breaking the rules (speaking only of swimming). Stop putting the impetus on the fans to change, when really it’s China that should do their best to clear any doubts.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I can list you a looong list of american female athletes (not necessarily swimming) who have tested positive, or confessed in the court or 100% people think they are doping.

Philip Johnson
1 year 9 months ago

We’re talking about swimming, stop shifting the goalpost. Why don’t you think most has ever accused Sun Yang of doping? I mean, he’s Chinese and has shattered records. Thus, you would think there would be a same level of suspicion. Because the male Chinese swimmers don’t have a history of doping.

SwimFanFinland
1 year 9 months ago

But history doesn’t justify making accusations against someone, especially 16-year-old girl, who is completely unguilty of that history. You can’t give a parking ticket for someone without any proof just because she/he has a history of parking illegally.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Also, if the chinese use genetic manipulation to enhance performance as accused by US top coach, what made US top swimmers like Phelps, Franklin, Ledecky not undergoing such procedure as well? US genetic tech is far more advance than anyone else.

Again, I am not accusing Phelps, Franklin and Ledecky, I am only showing at the ridiculousness (and double standard) of the accusation.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

You already accusing them. Just pure bitterness.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I did not. Please read again carefully without any hatred.

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

Actually, I suspect Phelps is a genetic experiment sent back from the future.

Teacher and Coach
1 year 9 months ago

I think Aswimfan and Law Dawg have nailed the two central points here.

As an American swim fan, I know myself well enough to know that I would be immediately suspicious of a Chinese swimmer putting up times like Ledecky’s It’s not fair, and it’s unfortunate that that’s my gut reaction. However, it’s based on exactly what Law Dawg said.

I’m also a huge fan of cycling. I was SURE that Lance Armstrong was doping during his successful run at the TdF, simply because of what I knew about the doping culture of the sport. I’m less certain about the cyclists who win the grand tours these days, but it will take time and evidence for me to believe that the doping culture is gone.

Same with the Chinese swimmers. I’m not generally suspicious of their athletes these days, since their national program has been improving at a steady reasonable rate (including the men, which is a big part of it.) But when that program produces a huge star, and he/she is beating Americans, sour grapes and jingoism will continue to bring the cry of “Cheaters!” This will likely be the case for a while, unfortunately.

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

I think transparency is the key to why some are questioning the Chinese. You can watch Katie’s practices and talk to her coach any day of the week.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I think language barrier present more of challenge.

Are you really sure that NONE of chinese training schedule/techniques etc have not been uploaded onto the web?

JD
1 year 9 months ago

Honestly, I think you did not present any strong argument. You just presented a fallacy.

SwimmerTX
1 year 9 months ago

One journalist that wont get of yeshiwen’s case is Craig Lord of swim vortex.

SwimFanFinland
1 year 9 months ago

Carlo,

Please stop.

Swimmers have access to this site and some may even read these comments. You’re talking about someone who is still a child.

Even though you may not be serious, those comments may have an effect on youngsters if they happened to read or hear about them.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

So we have to be sensitive to these american young swimmers who visited this site but it is OK for US most prominent coaches to downright accuse Ye Shiwen of doping at the biggest event and venue in the world where their accusations were reported in ALL international media, leading Ye Shiwen to have a breakdown?

SwimFanFinland
1 year 9 months ago

No, we have to be sensitive to every single athlete.

What Leonard did in London was completely unacceptable.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

ASWIMFAN, you’re joking right? That troll already attacked the 17 year old, judging even her voice! You’re a troll and bitter. So maybe you can smell trolls like yourself.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

This comment is to Pol who wrote this:

“ASWIMFAN, you’re joking right? That troll already attacked the 17 year old, judging even her voice! You’re a troll and bitter. So maybe you can smell trolls like yourself.”

This is a personal attack. Is that the best you can do?
There is NOTHING in all my years at swimswam which defines me as a troll. Yes, some of what I wrote maybe controversial, but I have NEVER attacked anyone personally.

All I have been doing in this thread is to show hypocrisy and double standard. Someone mentioned we need to be sensitive to young american swimmers who visit this site, and then I showed the hypocrisy of John Leonard who attacked a 15 yo foreign swimmer which was reported ALL OVER THE WORLD.
For Leonard, attacking a 15 yo young foreign swimmer is more important than dealing with coaches’ sexual abuses that happened under his nose.

Philip Johnson
1 year 9 months ago

This is something you can’t seem to get pass. It seems every time there’s an article on Ledecky, you want bring this up. You should at least be consistent. Next time Cate swims a phenomenal time, you should comment in the same manner.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

To be fair, it wasn’t Aswimfan who brought it up this time.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

What about the hypocrisy of Aswimfan making the blatantly false claim that John Leonard attacked a 15 yo young female swimmer. There were two different 15 year old swimmers attacked by Ye supporters, Katie Ledecky and Ruta Meilutyte, but Aswimfan knows perfectly well that Ye Shiwen was older than 15 at the London Olympics.

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

Who are you calling prominent?

JD
1 year 9 months ago

NAG 13 14 1976 Jesse Vasallo 15:31 NAG 15 16 1976 Bobby Hacket 15:03 those are pretty impressive times. Ledecky is fine. I was suspicious too. What I see now is perfect technique.

wave rider
1 year 9 months ago

Katie looks pretty girly to me.

Pvdh
1 year 9 months ago

Aswimfan, as you can see, ledecky is under fire from these morons, just as shiwen was under fire from those morons. Shiwen was defended heavily by most sportspeople in USA in the major networks such as ESPN. Those guys that accused Shiwen are idiots, mostly jealous that a country outside of USA is dominant in swimming. I can’t tell you how many of those same idiots insult people such as Usain Bolt, who has NEVER been tested positive, but defend Tyson Gay, who plays his positive test as a accident. They are in the extreme minority, but they scream the loudest.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

And Phelps defended Shiwen too. Apparently when there are Americans who whined about other athletes in other countries, the generalization is that that the entire America is whining. Trolls are everywhere in the internet.

Jay
1 year 9 months ago

I can’t believe you allow this Carlo filth on your site, Braden.

Santos
1 year 9 months ago

His comments were so ludicrous that I immediately classified them as sarcasm, a joke, which made for a nice change of pace. Guess the site is getting too serious now

Santos
1 year 9 months ago

Granted, rather distasteful but still.

Becky D
1 year 9 months ago

I think it’s healthy to be skeptical, but saying “She’s too good to be a woman” is offensive. It’s like saying that women are free to play their frivolous little games, but as soon as they threaten the superiority of men, then need to be punished.

Bah.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

This is my point, scepticism is acceptable and perfectly justified. All I seem to get for it is accusations of being a “moron” or told to “shut up”, and people presuming I am saying Kathleen is doping. Oh well, they can Interpret however they want.

Pvdh
1 year 9 months ago

Lance armstrong tested positive 4 times in 1999, but excuses were made. Ledecky has no positive results.

And just as Id thought, you make an excuse for Adam Peaty. If you were consistent with your ignorant thinking, you’d think that a 19 year breaking a Supersuit 50 time was more suspicious than Ledecky. Give me a freaking break.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Read my comment again. “Scepticism of Peaty is justified” – that is the ONLY thing I have said regarding Kathleen. Of course there is less scepticism surrounding Peaty, he isn’t an OG winner or World gold medallist, he hasn’t broken World record after World record nor has he taken his event to a new stratosphere. Scepticism is justified in both cases, there are no excuses being made here, you on the other hand..

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

Good lord man, it is sKepticism…

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

How Ignorant can you get… I am English, I know how English words are spelt. You guys in the US changed it to ‘Skepticism’ for some unknown reason. In England, it is spelt (not ‘spelled’ as you say, so no need to correct me) ‘scepticism’… that okay with you, Einstein? Backfired, didn’t it? ha.

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

So you mean the US version based on the spelling of the greek translation is incorrect, just something us ignorant Americans came up with?

I also don’t remember calling you any names, might need to easy up.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Hey, Don’t try and turn this around – you told me I had spelt the word Incorrectly, “good lord man, It’s sKepticism” – remember that?

I never commented on how legitimate the US spelling is, however as you bring it up, I will let you know what happened.

After Independence the US wanted to rid their culture of British Influence and set about in a conceited way to stand out. Effectively, they switched a few things around, a few examples… ‘z’ instead of ‘s’, ‘er’ instead of ‘re’ and ‘o’ instead of ‘ou’ – that is effectively what happened. That is not the creation of a new language, that is manipulating an existing language.

Centre (UK)
Center (US)

Metre (UK)
Meter (US)

Theatre (UK)
Theater (US)

Flavour (UK)
Flavor (US)

Colour (UK)
Color (US)

Notice the pattern? They were very small changes designed to distinguish themselves from the British. ‘American’ isn’t a language.. it was born out of the need to be different and stand out. So, for me, I was just insulted that you tried to tell me I was spelling the world incorrectly. Britain is the home of the English language, therefore the English spelling of words is irrefutably correct.

Francene
1 year 9 months ago

Agree that Carlo sounds more the a tad sexist… and unaware. However, he should have a voice.

I know of no known PED protocol than can produce those results time-after-time over such a long stretch of time. Given the consistency of Ledecky’s results it seems implausible that she is being administered PEDs.

wave rider
1 year 9 months ago

For the people that are saying Ledecky is manly and has high testosterone, you should look at this. There are a lot of female swimmers that are more “manly” than Ledecky. An easy way to tell if a female has high testosterone is to look at her hands. Most men have a longer ring finger than index finger because of testosterone. Most women have a longer index finger. However, some women do have a longer ring finger because they were exposed to more testosterone in the womb. In this photo it is clear that Ledecky has a longer index finger. There are some female swimmers like Ruta that have a longer ring finger. In this pic you can see the difference in finger sizes. Missy Franklin has a longer index finger and Ruta’s ring finger is clearly longer. These comments about Ledecky are asinine and insulting.

Santos
1 year 9 months ago

Yeah! Science!

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

Uh, pseudoscience.

Francene
1 year 9 months ago

Just to add to my previous comment: Note that Lance could only excel at one race per year.

1 year 9 months ago

It was a rather long race though 😉

(That was a joke, for all the jobs-worth’s on here today).

easyspeed
1 year 9 months ago

Ledecky is the most amazing thing in the sport since Phelps in the 2000s; every time she swims, tapered or not, a record might fall. And it isn’t her body that makes her so good; it’s her brain. She puts in the work and doesn’t want to lose. And, she can get it done when it matters. Many good swimmers set records in smaller meets but choke on the big stage. Only a select few, Phelps and Peirsol for example, can get it done when it counts. It’s a privilege to be able to watch Ms. Katie swim!

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

the best comment of the whole page ! thanks

Pvdh
1 year 9 months ago

Haha no. You clearly stated that peaty is to a lesser extent. Just stop. You are making a fool of yourself.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Of course there is more scepticism aimed at Kathleen. She has, as the article states, set 28% of all swimming WRs over the past 3 years. Peaty clipped a WR at European’s, hardly similar situations. However, as I said, scepticism of both is perfectly justified, so don’t try and manipulate my comments, it won’t work. The man throwing around personal Insults accusing others of “making a fool” of themselves? Ironic.

caliswimgrl
1 year 9 months ago

Skepticism is a good thing, but look for the truth based on science, not speculation. Katie’s parents have stated publicly that Katie will not even take vitamins for fear of accidentally ingesting a banned substance. She does NOT have abnormally low body fat percentage, facial hair, elongated chin structure, pronounced musculature, or aggressive irritable behavior – all pretty telltale signs of testosterone boosting and/or HGH boosting. She works out ridiculously hard, sets high standards for herself physically and morally, and loves to race fast. I’d be more interested in some conversation about Katinka Hosszu as a hard to believe female physique. When we see gifted women racing and getting results like Ledecky has, let’s ask what it is about them physiologically andy mentally that has innately given them such an amazing capacity to endure such tough swims. The point about a national history of doping athletes does bear on the argument against Li Shiwen, I think. I don’t think Ledecky, her parents, or Coach Gemmel would consider anything but the best training techniques based on hard effort over a long period of time. She is a phenomenon. I’d like to know about her buffering system, her VO2 max, her other systems in comparison to boys and girls in her peer group, age wise. Also, BTW, when you’re 17, you’re a woman already – just a very young one. As she matures, her body will continue to change including changing center of gravity due to body fat shifts. She’ll eventually slow down.

Philip Johnson
1 year 9 months ago

CSG, there have been posters on here that have voiced their suspicions on Hosszu because of her physique and seemly endless endurance.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

very goooooooooooooooood points ! This will close the debate for now .

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Agree 99% with this. Scepticism is healthy, it just seems you can’t be openly sceptical or pragmatic without people presuming you are accusing athletes of doping. I would say if I thought Kathleen was doping, just like I did with Efimova, but I haven’t… take from that whatever you like.

My only point, why is it more ‘acceptable’ to debate Katinka? I get the point about physique, but I don’t think that’s an acceptable reason to make her somehow an easier target. I have been sceptical since 2009 and I’d love to have open debates on here regarding all of the swimmers doing crazy things, as I think they are all open to scepticism, but it seems Impossible without provoking aggressive reactions. Shame.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

I’d just like to add, to the people who do not seem to realise. Scepticism is NOT an accusation, it is a doubt, a reservation – There is a difference between scepticism and an accusation of doping. All I have stated is my scepticism, nothing more.

JD
1 year 9 months ago

Everything, except the comment on Katinka, is a great argument on what this is supposed to be about. Shifting focus or frame of reference does no good to the debate. You, me, we do not know anything about Katinka, so it does no good to speculate on someone else to validate Ledecky.

caliswimgrl
1 year 9 months ago

I just found the photograph of Hosszu getting out of the water at the end of one of her races posted on this site the other day to be pretty startling. I know it’s possible (having had one female friend in particular in my own experience to be very masculine in appearance naturally), but the leanness of physique combined with very pronounced musculature was just startling in that one picture. Maybe it’s just dryland techniques and nutrition that does that. So, I watched all ten seconds of what NBC showed on TV this morning of Ledecky’s 1500 (are you KIDDING me NBC? – that was Beamon-esque at that meet compared to the other swims, and that’s all we get to see. Ugh). She digs in and boom she’s gone, a young master of her stroke, more so as she gets through each race experience.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

Again, disclaimer, I am NOT accusing Ledecky or any other swimmer of taking PED.

However, Dave Salo has reportedly said that he bans his swimmers from taking any supplement.

And you know what happened next?

six or seven of the swimmers training with him was tested positive to various banned substances.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

And again, you are one of those american commenters here where my “double-standard” posts were directed to. That’s it’s ok to be suspicious of Ye Shiwen or any other chinese swimmers… but an american?? naaahhh…. we amereicans are super clean and we work hard etc etc.

You mentioned a tell tale of someone using HGH: an elongated chin structure. Is that really true?
I can think of a few americans having that facial feature.

pol
1 year 9 months ago

Why is this troll even allowed to post here? He’s already attacking someone’s physical personally. Sad.

Katie was fantastic again tonight. But the trolls and sore losers are in full force.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

TROLL U ARE ! stubborn U are too ! Intelligent and imaginative ? Not sure . Get into some meditation , it helps . Good luck

Lennart van Haaften
1 year 9 months ago

Ridiculous comment. Don’t implicitly accuse someone of drug use without proof.

Jim C
1 year 9 months ago

Swimming is also about buoyancy, and women are superior to men in that regard. At super long distances women can outswim men–but at 1500m Ledecky is much slower than the top men.

The 1500m race is a non-Olympic event for women which is presumably much weaker than most freestyle events. I’m actually more impressed by her 400m time.

Sven
1 year 9 months ago

Here’s my take: Everyone at Pan Pacs/WC’s/The Olympics is suspicious. They may be ahead of the testing game, either with a new substance/masking agent or by having advance notice of when they’ll be tested. The times that these people put up are incredible. Not just the winners. Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian, etc. How has Ryan Lochte bounced back so amazingly from such serious knee problems and gotten his breaststroke split to within almost half a second of his WR split? How is Kosuke Hagino SO DAMN GOOD at everything, despite being 6 inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than all his competition? Sure, it could be Lochte’s great physical therapists and serious dedication to rehab. Sure, Hagino could have supreme technical skills and a badass work ethic. Or it could be something less admirable.

HOWEVER

Until I see a positive result or other evidence to suggest they’re less than clean, I will give each of them the benefit of the doubt and assume they have achieved their results through hard work, winning the genetic lottery, and great coaching. Katies voice is more alto than soprano, but I think she sounds like a normal girl. Also, she’s just generally calm and laid back when she talks. I bet if you got her excited, she’d squeal just like Missy. Hairline looks normal too. That’s all I have to say about Carlo’s comments. Besides, if Katie’s voice means she should swim with the men, I can think of at least one U.S. National Team male who should be able to swim with the women for his voice, because *obviously* he’s taking something to boost his estrogen.

As far as times, Katie’s times are incredible only when compared to other people. Her progression has been normal the past few years. The only difference is that this normal progression is on a much higher level than most people. This isn’t a sudden, Biedermann-style breakout (not to claim anything about him other than the suit advantage– I think he’s legit, but he’s an example of someone who was relatively unknown on the international level, and never a major factor at huge meets, and then all of the sudden he’s breaking world records). While it’s true Katie is an anomaly in women’s swimming right now, there’s nothing to put her integrity, or that of her coach, in doubt.

And as for Ye Shiwen, it is unfortunate how she was vilified in London. I have no doubt that her country’s history of doping is part of the reason some people suspect her, or the comparison to Lochte’s last leg in the 400 IM. Sure Lochte sprinted the first 300 and died the last 100 while Ye coasted 300 and sprinted the last 100, but I can see how it would look shady to someone who doesn’t know anything about splits or race strategy.

I know this is long, but I have one more point: among the most common defenses when Ye Shiwen comes up is “it was only John Leonard making that accusation, no one else is saying she doped.” Well, among members of Team USA, sure, and that’s great. But go to the comments section of this article (http://swimswam.com/opinion-on-ye-shiwen-and-doping/) and you’ll see that although the public figures in swimming are supporting her, there’s a sizeable chuck of swimming followers who allege foul play. Of course the ones with the camera on them are going to play nice, but the fact is that there is a very loud, and not very small group of people calling her out.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 year 9 months ago

Great effrot SVEN. I loved reading it all because it’s very interesting to see the whole picture on the subject . Swim fans are smart connaisseurs , u are one of them

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

This is essentially what I’ve been saying – People just took it as an attack on Kathleen. Plus, I’d say I was more sceptical than suspicious. Generally, I agree with this comment.

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

What is the difference between being skeptical and being suspicious? Seems like a fine line.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Not much, it is an extremely fine line. You’d know if you’d read my comments. For me, I am sceptical of sporting greatness generally – We all know sometimes it is achieved through foul-play. I find it naïve and illogical not to question greatness, to just accept it as “another swim”. And I don’t mean question in regards to “doping”. I mean, we often ask questions about greatness… We analyse it, we learn from it. Unless you are Kathleen Ledecky herself or her coach, it is entirely natural to greet her greatness with an amount of scepticism as you know so little about how she is achieving these phenomenal performances. To chastise my scepticism in bewildering. I have not suggest foul-play in regards to Kathleen, so what’s the problem?

Having said that, I am not suspicious of Kathleen, not in the slightest. All my comments were trying to explain that scepticism is both justifiable and pragmatic, this applies to all acts of sporting greatness in all sports, not just Kathleen Ledecky and swimming.

Dee
1 year 9 months ago

Also – for me, to be suspicious you have to hold some element of knowledge directly linked to an athlete doing something they should not be doing.

Scepticism is broader – We all know some athletes cheat, it is perfectly logical to be sceptical of great performances even if you believe the person is clean and a true ‘freak of nature’. That is not because of the athlete in question, it’s because if the wider issue of doping in sport. My scepticism in not a reflection on Kathleen, not in the slightest, I believe she is an honest champion.

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

Fair enough. Looking at it from a swimming context people can draw those differences out. But generally in layman’s terms the person on the street won’t make any distinctions between the two words.

Bill
1 year 9 months ago

Ledecky is a supreme talent that we are not likely to see again. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I think her biggest strength is mental toughness. That was evident in her gold winning performance at the 2012 Olympics at age 15. She handled the pressure much better than the favored seasoned veterans. She’s always trying to improve.

MarkB
1 year 9 months ago

Bill,
The exact same thing was said about Janet Evans – a talent we’re not likely to see again. It took a while but we’re seeing it again. And we will when Katie is done, we’ll see another – someday.

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I agree. I think Ledecky is the biggest swimming female talent since I followed the sport in 1992.

Josh
1 year 9 months ago

No one knows who is doping and who isn’t, except the athletes themselves and maybe their coaches and doctors, but to not be suspicious about any world class athlete in virtually any sport, especially one that utterly dominates the competition is delusional. Testing hardly catches anyone so it means nothing, what athletes, friends, and coaches say means nothing (see um, just about every athlete eventually caught or not caught by testing but outed by press and investigations)

coacherik
1 year 9 months ago

The real question for me is why are people investing so much time wondering if Katie Ledecky is cheating or not when they could be trying to figure out how to make themselves a better swimmer/coach/father/sister/student. So much energy being wasted here while the best keep getting better…

TheTroubleWithX
1 year 9 months ago

Punctuation. Please.

The horror.
The horror.

Bossanova
1 year 9 months ago

Is anyone else mostly just bothered by how Carlo uses commas instead of apostrophes? I mean WTF!?

KeithM
1 year 9 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks her 400 record is more impressive?

aswimfan
1 year 9 months ago

I agree with you. Her 400 is more impressive in my opinion, just because 400 free is much much older and more competitive than w1500.
w400 free was already swum in 1924 Amsterdam Olympics. w1500 has never been swum in the olympics and was only swum at worlds in 2001.
Obviously the 400 WR is stronger than 1500 WR.

And that’s why you see that SCM WRs are much softer than LCM WRs.

billy
1 year 9 months ago

I have never for even one second, thought that Katie Ladecky was or is using PEDs. Give the young lady some credit for crying out loud for what she is. An unbelievably talented, intelligent, hard working athlete.

Some folks call athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt. Edwin Moses, Mary T. Meagher. Ian Thorpe and Janet Evans athletic “freaks” as in so freakishly talented it’s hard to fathom. Katie is a “freak” too.

They appear every decade or two and make sport that much more interesting.

liquidassets
1 year 9 months ago

Some obviously trolling aside, this was a pretty good discussion from which I learned a lot. Some things that stood out were the points that Ledecky has an unusually strong mental game (she has been compared with Phelps in that regard), that has been underemphasized here, and superior technique. I am a pretty knowledgeable swim fan, except in the area of technique where I still feel relatively pretty weak. But watching her stroke underwater, she seems to catch and push back the water at a very optimal angle and the angle seems to vary slightly with each stroke suggesting that she has some kind of instinct about where that optimal angle will be that kicks in when her hand hits the unique water wave environment each cycle. Maybe a coach or technique can elaborate on my “layman” observation and reject or accept it.

I think that what Dee has been saying has been consistent and speaks to the dilemma we have as sports fans in this day and age: We all must deal with the reality of doping, in the context of uncertainty given the lack of objective proof either way. We can choose to be slightly skeptical of everyone, and in most cases rejecting our own skepticism after thoughtful consideration, which is the most rational, although it might decrease our enjoyment of the entertainment slightly, it results in less disappointment when inevitably somebody tests positive. Or we can be naive and suspect nobody except our imaginary “adversaries”, and then be completely overwhelmed and shocked when somebody we like tests positive, which is the least rational and most emotional strategy. Or we can try to find some middle ground along a spectrum. We all fall somewhere on that spectrum. I am probably a little closer to Dee’s strategy than the other end of the spectrum, and given the inherent dilemma and uncertainty, I can understand his strategy as understandable and completely reasonable. And I think the word “abnormal” is tricky, in the context of this emotional debate it might be misinterpreted as “illegitimate”, as opposed to “varying from the norm”, which is purely statistical. Others here have made interesting arguments that the latter may not necessarily be the case about it being abnormal statistically, I think that is where the most productive discussion lies.

I have rejected my own very slight skepticism that I initially entertained briefly, along with several other explanations that ultimately seemed more likely to me, and I’m celebrating Ledecky’s swim. Like Dee, I think she’s legit and amazing!!

billy
1 year 9 months ago

I have never for even one second, thought that Katie Ladecky was or is using PEDs. Give the young lady some credit for crying out loud for what she is. An unbelievably talented, intelligent, hard working athlete.

Some folks call athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt. Edwin Moses, Mary T. Meagher. Ian Thorpe and Janet Evans athletic “freaks” as in so freakishly talented it’s hard to fathom. Katie is a “freak” too.

They appear every decade or two and make sport that much more interesting.

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About Braden Keith

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The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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