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.