Katie Ledecky Says No to Open Water

2017 FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

In an otherwise uninteresting and innocuous interview, American swimmer Katie Ledecky declared after her 800 free win on Saturday at the World Championships that she has no interest in open water.

Ledecky is quickly climbing the ranks of the most decorated pool swimmers in history – that 800 free win is her 14th World Championship in just 3 meets raced, which already puts her 3 ahead of Missy Franklin for the most long course, swimming, World Championships by a woman (behind only Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte among all swimmers).

In spite of becoming so dominant in the distance freestyles that she’s started challenging herself in other races where wins aren’t such a guarantee, she says she has no interest in making the leap into the open water in response to a question in her post-race interview.

“I am not going to venture in open water!” Ledecky said.

Open water swimming is relatively new at the Olympic Games, though there are already swimmers who have had success in both events. In London, Ous Mellouli became the first swimmer to have won gold in both disciplines when he won the open water 10km race. He had previously won the 1500 free in the pool in 2008, and also took 1500 bronze in London – at the same Games where he won open water gold.

The women’s winner in London, Eva Risztov, has never won an Olympic medal in the pool, but almost a decade before her open water triumph, she won 3 long course World Championships in the 400 free, 200 fly, and 400 IM just shy of her 18th birthday.

Ledecky wouldn’t exactly be a trail-blazer into the open water, but subjectively she would be easily the biggest name to try and make that leap. As Ledecky has begun to test new additions to her lineup (she swam the 400 IM at the Pac-12 Championships, and has been on the last few 400 free relays), perhaps open water could be something she’d get more into later in her career. With a Stanford degree on its way, though, Ledecky might not be looking too hard to extending her career much past the point of its natural pool conclusion.

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shanmac
5 years ago

After blitzing Rio and then going direct to her freshman year at Stanford, full subject load, lectures, papers, exams, College swimming, blitzing NCAA’s, back to college for prep for Nationals, College Finals and then Worlds in Budapest – I am not surprised that she may appear a little jaded. She’s done great and shouldn’t have to shoulder expectations of WR’s every time she swims. Isn’t “gold” enough anymore? Good on you Katie.

Prickle
Reply to  shanmac
5 years ago

I think that the type of training environment and in-seasons targets made major influence on her results but not those explanations of her being a freshman in college living away from protection and care of her parents.
She has to train with boys and not in short pool in yards. Has to train with the coach that dedicates his time trying to be up to challenge of coaching such a unique talent. With Coach who knows her better than she does it herself. I don’t blame this Ledecky’s season on coach’s mistakes. I simply don’t know facts to make such a conclusion but I have some doubts that it is a simple task to train at the same pool… Read more »

oli993
5 years ago

Remember trials when she said she was “least tapered ever”? Now look at your swims, Katie, especially the 200 and the 800. Please no more lies about your taper or training.

Kooosh
5 years ago

Simple question: will Katie reset any of her world records?

Katie could retire tomorrow and I think she’d be one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen. I’m just wondering if any of you think she’s peaked, and her record setting is behind her.

Phelps swims 200 breast rio
Reply to  Kooosh
5 years ago

No doubt she is one of the greatest ever and I don’t think she is anywhere near her peak. At a quick glance, there was something different about her stroke. Maybe she missed her taper? Maybe she is exhausted? That said, I love watching her swim. I hope she continues in the sport.

Lane four
Reply to  Phelps swims 200 breast rio
5 years ago

Agree 100%.

Kooosh
Reply to  Phelps swims 200 breast rio
5 years ago

I love watching her swim also, and may she NEVER retire, but I’m not as convinced as you are that she hasn’t peaked. 🙂

Prickle
Reply to  Kooosh
5 years ago

400 free will be broken soon. 500y was the only distance in college that got improved visibly. And she was dissatisfied with the result at NCAA final feeling of being able to swim faster. It wasn’t like the case with 1650 race when the failure to improve personal best at NCAA was taken as that is where she was at the moment. At Nationals 400 was the only race that was swum fast, was smooth and brought smile to her face. Same thing happened at this world championships. If there were no thoughts about following 400 relay she could be under 3:58. She is very consistent with 3:58 swims therefore I think she will attack this record soon should it… Read more »

Kooosh
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to give a detailed answer to my question. That was awesome.

Prickle
5 years ago

Strange standards. Li Bingjie swims 8:15. We are thinking of that as one of the greatest performances. Katie Ledecky swims 8:12 – very bad. We kind of used to live with two types of standards: one for Katie Ledecky and another one for everybody else.
Even Sjostrom with her impressive records is still on the same scale in our mind with other elite swimmers in freestyle. Ledecky made her life in swimming very tough by establishing such dominance when swimming in practice mode is enough to beat best ever swimmers. Once admitting her superiority over anybody else ppl do not consider that a news any more and are expecting something even more extraordinary to get entertained. For example, counting… Read more »

AWSI DOOGER
5 years ago

I’m surprised that the comments express so much surprise. It seemed beyond logical that Rio would be Katie’s peak. The problem on all of those telecasts is that you have cheerleader types and conventional wisdom types on the commentary, and not anyone trained in probability. Consequently it’s all glossy up, up and away. Bob Costas can’t wait to be wrong.

A year or so ago I read a very detailed summary of the age realities in women’s distance swimming, and specifically the 800. Katie Ledecky was actually on the extreme upper age range when she lowered her world record again in Rio at 19 and a few months. The author wrote that no woman at age 20 or above had… Read more »

G.I.N.A
5 years ago

Question- are there trials for 2019 like happened in 2014 ? If not maybe a summer off either in seceding Ca or bravely holding the fort in a Congressional or DC elite’s office as intern . Its election year again folks! Life goes on .

Mikeh
5 years ago

Greg Meehan should take a look at Ledecky’s training leading up to this. She is so good that even her B game is good enough to win, but clearly she was not as well prepared for this meet as she was in previous meets.

Coach
5 years ago

Given the culture, especially on these types of websites, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but some of you people need to get a grip.

I agree she looked a little tired in that 800, but come on. She’s been setting WR every year for 4 years. At some point, that streak had to stop. Given all the transitions this year, including it being a post-Olympic year, her performances make sense.

I’d be more concerned about her mental health if she hadn’t gone to Stanford and had gone pro. We’ve seen how that has worked out for others in the past.

I know I’m spitting in the wind here, but try to cool it on the hot takes, especially… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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