Katie Ledecky Hits Hardest Winter Training Ever Ahead Of The Olympic Games

7-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky won the 1500 free at the Knoxville Pro Swim by nearly 100 meters. She touched in 15:38.8, the 17th fastest mile ever–a time just shy of her 2020 Tokyo Olympics win where she stopped the clock at 15:37.

What does this mean, in January, six months out from the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games? As expected, Ledecky’s locked-in, marching toward two more individual Olympic gold medals (800 and 1500 free), which would bring her total to nine. If Ledecky picks up 400 free and 4×200 free relay Olympic hardware, that pushes her total medal count to 14, another historic metric. For those keeping score,  Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin are tied with the most Olympic medals overall, at 12.

In this interview,  Ledecky unpacks her recent Florida Gators training, characterizing it as her hardest winter training ever.

I think it’s too early to play the Olympic prediction game, but, please, play your own in the comments.  SwimSwam will catch up with Ledecky again in March.

Follow Katie Ledecky on Instagram.

Follow Gold Medal Mel on Instagram.

Want your SwimOutlet+ Membership to save on every purchase, earn reward credit towards new purchases, and more?  Sign up here.

SEE A RECENT GMM EPISODE:

Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

In This Story

87
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

87 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bub
1 month ago

Curious – If ledecky does the 400/800/1500 in Paris/LA, would she have swam the most Olympic meters of any pool swimmer?

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  Bub
1 month ago

I’m pretty sure yes.

I can’t think of any other distance swimmer male or female that made mid to distance events final in 4 Olympics.

torchbearer
1 month ago

A lot of speculation about KL in LA28, but I wonder if this is one last big push before retirement after Paris. She must be mighty exhausted from the amount of training her events require after 12plus years.
KL is up to her 4th Olympics- Titmus and McIntosh just their second!

Willy
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

You should never compare Katie Ledecky with anyone else.

torchbearer
Reply to  Willy
1 month ago

She is still a human….and cant go on forever.

Viking Steve
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

She will swim in LA if healthy

Facts
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

I think and hope she pushes for LA28. What better way than to go out on top winning a record 5 consecutive gold medals in one event in your home country

Rob
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

I read that as “us veteran elites” and thought “Don’t do it, Mel!”

Wethorn
1 month ago

What does the historical data say about distance swimmers as they age? Is it easier to maintain results at longer or shorter distances?

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  Wethorn
1 month ago

For swimming:
It’s harder to maintain results at longer distances.

Ledecky is an anomaly and an outlier.

The reverse is true for running: marathon runners seems to be faster the older they get. Usain Bolt was peaking at the age of 23 and went slower the older he got

96Swim
Reply to  Beatriz Cortez
1 month ago

I wonder how much of maintaining the results for swimming has to do with the volume of training required, and the relatively few people, especially until recently, who could afford to make swimming a career and sustain training into their late 20s and 30s. It’ll be interesting to see if that data on that changes in the next 20 years.

Admin
Reply to  Wethorn
1 month ago

The historical data is very mixed on female distance swimmers. It’s rare for best-of-the-best distance swimmers to go best times past the age of about 20. But they can also stay competitive for a very, very long time.

Historical data is also not very good at stuff like this, because it’s clear that there has been a marked shift in the timelines of swimmers over the last 5-7 years.

Elsa Nystrom
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
29 days ago

Can’t imagine that she hasn’t been a virtual goldmine for TYR since she signed with them and exceeded their expectations. As to LA, if she is still loving training and competition and stays healthy, she will go for iot. But, it might be time to start the next phase of her career.

Sherry Smit
1 month ago

400 Free: 3:58.14 (4th)
800 Free: 8:05.54 (🥇)
1500 Free: 15:23.56 (🥇)
200 Free Split: 1:54.15

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

I think Ledecky can still win bronze in 400.

It’s the first day after all.

Lisa
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

She’s pretty much a solid third place right now in 400 free and going by your prediction that means Fairweather or someone else could go sub 3:57 which I don’t know if it’s going to happen.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lisa
Isabella
1 month ago

After hitting the hardest winter training she could hold 15:38 (just 1 second slower than last yr PSS & 7 more seconds faster than US open). I am convinced she is gonna do big things in the two long events though I used to keep moderate expectations.

Last edited 1 month ago by Isabella
John26
1 month ago

Is there a possibility Ledecky doesn’t even swim the 400free to be primed for her longer events?

Isabella
Reply to  John26
1 month ago

She may not swim 400fr in LA.

John26
Reply to  John26
1 month ago

In Paris

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  John26
1 month ago

Nope.

She’s guaranteed gold in 800-1500.

Swimming 2×400 in a day is nothing for Ledecky.

Lisa
Reply to  Beatriz Cortez
1 month ago

It’s her first final at the meet so she’s likely to swim it

420openwaterswimmer
1 month ago

The beauty of this set after the Todd Desorbo quote yesterday about winter training makes for great conversation…..

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  420openwaterswimmer
1 month ago

It’s like there’s more than one way to train and training sets is tailored individually.

Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

Most of Jenny Thompson’s and Dara Torres’ medals are relay medals. This made me think of this —>

Tangential Question for Melvin and the commenters:

Which is more highly valued:

— an individual Olympic BRONZE medal (say, for example, Tom Wilkins’ bronze medal in the 200 IM in 2000), or
— an Olympic RELAY PRELIMS GOLD medal (say, Scott Tucker as a prelim relay Gold winner in the 4×100 free relay in 1996).

Tom got to stand on the podium with Dolan and that Italian dude. No podium for Tucker, but he got a gold.

Which would you rather have?

Joel
Reply to  Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

Bronze

Swimguy94
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Agreed, the whole hype around finals swimming is unreal. Never was at that level but nationals, states etc you make a final and it’s electric

Swim Dad
Reply to  Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

Gold opens a lot more doors than Bronze and allows the swimmer to forever be introduced as an Olympic Gold Medalist.

Knotty Buoy
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

It’s like “Dr. Jill” having an Ed.D. (Doctorate in Education). Sounds sort of OK, but upon closer examination, it’s not quite the same.

John
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

You are one of icons too.

Viking Steve
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Never seen more consistent up votes for both sides of the discussion with few down votes for either.

To me that says…. both are pretty amazing accomplishment that verrrry few will achieve and should be recognized appropriately in history.

snailSpace
Reply to  Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

One is being third best in an event in the entire World. The other is being 5-6th best in one country.

Sub13
Reply to  Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

From a general public perspective: they’re always going to think a gold is worth more.

From a swimming fan perspective: an individual bronze is obviously a more impressive achievement.

But if it was me personally, and I reached the end of my swimming career and could either have the individual bronze or the heat gold medal, I’m going for the gold.

Beatriz Cortez
Reply to  Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

IMO, individual bronze is worthy than prelims relay swim of any medal

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, …

Read More »