Is Katie Ledecky the Greatest Freestyler of All-Time – Gold Medal Minute Video


Katie Ledecky now has the 400, 800 and 1500 meter freestyle world records, and she appears to be ontrack to threaten the 200 freestyle world record by the 2016 Olympic Games.

Is Ledecky the greatest freestyler of all-time?

Greatness, in swimming, is typically measured by Olympic gold medals, but for us — hardcore swim fans — I feel world record swims matter more. It’s pure, simple, fast swimming at any time. HOWEVER, I do believe Ledecky could win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle at the 2016 Olympic Games. (And  I think we, swimfans, should start a campaign to allow Ledecky to race the men’s 1500 freestyle if the International Olympic Committee doesn’t include the 1500m for women in Rio. I love my Olympic family, but I’m embarrassed by how backward they are by excluding this event for women. It’s an issue, like fast food restaurants being sponsors of the Olympic movement. Our priorities need some realignment.)

Ledecky? Being the greatest freestyler?  I’ve looked through the swimming history books. I can’t find her match. Debbie Meyer won the 200, 400 and 800m free at 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, but I think Ledecky could top that performance in either direction. Ledecky could crush the 1500m (if it were an official women’s event), and I believe Ledecky can make Team USA’s 4×100 freestyle relay. Think about it. If Ledecky can final in the 100m free in Omaha at US Olympic Trials, all she has to do is beat two people to get a spot on the sprint relay.

QUESTION: Is Ledecky potentially the greatest freestyler of all-time for men or women? Please share your knowledge of the sport in the comments. 

Follow Katie Ledecky on Twitter here.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of

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Steve Nolan

Is she? Absolutely not.

Could she? Well yeah, especially if she hits all the milestones you’re proposing. She still could w/o all those; she’s got hopefully plenty of years of swimming left.


Let’s not forget Shirley Babashoff:1976 Olympics she was a finalist in the 100, 200, 400, and 800 Freestyles; winning 3 silvers behind 3 East Germans (she was 5th in the 100). . . plus she won the 1976 Trials in the 400 IM — an event she scratched once she got to Montreal.


No not yet and even if she medals in the 200/400/800 in Rio she is no greater than Debbie Meyer unless of course she is able to repeat the feat in 2020. It will be fun to watch however.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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