Katie Ledecky Named 2017 AP Female Athlete of the Year

American swimmer Katie Ledecky  has been named the 2017 AP Female Athlete of the Year. The honor comes in a whirlwind year where Ledecky finished her freshman season at Stanford with 5 titles in March, and then went on to win 5 gold medals and 1 silver at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

In the process, while Ledecky didn’t break any World Records, she did set American Records in 3 individual events and as a part of 3 relays.

Ledecky is the first collegiate athlete to win the award since 1995 when UConn basketball player Rebecca Lobo won it, and the first swimmer to win since Amy Van Dyken in 1996.

The award is voted on by AP Sports Editors across the United States. While athletes of all nationalities are eligible, Americans have won the vast majority of the awards. The men’s honor has been won by swimmers 4 times, which includes most recently Michael Phelps in 2008 and 2012.

Update: The 2017 AP Male Athlete of the Year is Jose Altuve, who plays professional baseball for the Houston Astros.

Final AP Female Athlete of the Year Voting, 2017:

  1. Katie Ledecky – 351 points
  2. Serena Williams – 343 points
  3. Allyson Felix – 248 points

All-Time Swimmers Who Won the AP Female Athlete of the Year Award

  • 1931 – Helene Madison
  • 1937 – Katherine Rawls
  • 1942 – Gloria Callen
  • 1944 – Ann Curtis
  • 1962 – Dawn Fraser (Australia)
  • 1969 – Debbie Meyer
  • 1996 – Amy van Dyken

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Steve Nolan

I mean don’t get me wrong, I love me some Katie Ledecky. But if we were gonna rank her best years, 2017 is what, like, 3rd?

In the course of writing this comment, I may have reminded myself how contingent these awards are on the rest of the candidates.


Ledecky didn’t win it last year, she was beaten by Biles.
So this is just like a dessert they forgot to serve you in time, but still serving it to you before you left the restaurant.
It’s good to have a make up anyway, consider how many awards she lost to Biles last year. – Plenty! I am telling you!
Even if this was, like what, her worst year in five years?


Well it’s not like she lost out to some nobody last year. Biles was incredible as well. This year isn’t really a make up award. There simply wasn’t anyone that should have won over her this year. Serena getting as close as she did is ridiculous.


Wait until Serena wins another Grand Slam. ?
But I do feel like this is kinda like The Oscars, as those actors or actress won’t win it by their best acting, but will be rewarded afterward.
Like Cate Blanchett didn’t win it for Elizabeth but for The Aviator in supporting actress?
Anyway, it isn’t about if it was your best year or worst year, it’s about timing.


I think you can related with Nick as the result of last year:
Would be interested to hear the arguments of the four voters who chose Serena Williams over Biles, Ledecky, etc.

You have to give credit to Serena’s strong fan base!


An argument could be made for Mikaela Shiffrin. Best female Alpine skier in the world right now.


She might get it next year if she does well at the Olympics. But unless it’s an Olympic year skiing is the kind of sport that can get overlooked.


This comment will be long but I have something to say. It’s about the women 1500 free added to the Olympics program and Ledecky. In case some of you didn’t know, Ledecky had yet committed to swim 1500 free in Tokyo. http://olympics.nbcsports.com/2017/06/26/katie-ledecky-usa-swimming-nationals/ Secondly, we have no idea how the schedule is gonna be with women 1500, men 800 and mixed medley relay being added. And there is, Ledecky’s performance in this Worlds Championship. For all the points I listed above, me guessing Ledecky is waiting for IOC and FINA to announce the official schedule for Tokyo Olympics. Here is the thing, if women 1500 free being added at the beginning of the meet(just like Worlds), will Ledecky swim it? As… Read more »


It is too early to talk about the Olympics


As I said, it would be better if they run the new schedule at 2019 first. To do that, I am hoping they will announce it 6 or 12 months before Worlds.
It is not too early to talk about it now…

And no one thinks it overkill having TWO 1500m swim at the second and third day at Worlds Championship??

If they followed the current schedule, I doubt Li and Smith will take part the 1500 free at 2019.

Years of Plain Suck

Good thoughts.

I suggest that FINA add a “day 0” to their Olympic program. This would be the same day as opening ceremonies. This would give them a chance to play with their schedule and move some distance prelims to the front. This is already done in some of the team sports at the Olys where a few early round robin matches are played on day -2 and day -1.


How about two timed finals without any prelims hears on Day 0 ?


Uhm.., so 29 year-old Federica Pellegrini (who already objected a lot about Morini’s choice, instead her coach Giunta, as Italian coach of the year) has been able to defeat at Worlds the female athlete of the year, considering every sport…
1) Like already written in some comments, Ledecky’s career certainly deserves this prize
2) This choice won’t certainly be the worst: between 2002 and 2005 4 times honored Lance Armstrong (and at Olympics 2004 Michael Phelps won 6 gold) and 4 times honored Tiger Woods as well.
These are the most named male athletes ever, also over Michael Jordan.
And to cite another debatable choice: Ben Johnson, male athlete of the year 1987.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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