2017 FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Sunday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 30th
- Budapest, Hungary
- LCM (50m)
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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.