Reported by Robert Gibbs.
Surprising no one, Katie Ledecky was named Female Swimmer of the Year for an unprecedented fourth straight year at the 2016 Golden Goggle awards, the culmination of a year which she dominated from beginning to end.
Ledecky kicked off the calendar year in record-breaking fashion, swimming to a 800m freestyle world record in January at the Austin Pro Series meet. Throughout the spring, she continued to swim with her longtime NCAP coach Bruce Gemmell, having chosen to defer enrollment at Stanford for a year to focus on preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Fast forward a few months, and Ledecky won the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle events at Olympic Trials in Omaha. For good measure, he also finished seventh in the 100 free, and the rest of her times indicated that she had plenty left in the tank for Rio.
The Team USA coaches certainly believed she had more speed than she showed in Omaha, and elected to put her on both the preliminary and finals squad in the 4×100 free relay, where she helped the USA earn a silver medal behind the Australian speedsters.
That was her last non-gold medal in Rio, as Ledecky went on to win the 200 free, 4×200 free, 400 free, and 800 free, the latter two events in world record fashion.
This fall, she became a college freshman, one who almost certainly came into college with more international medals than any other freshman in the history of swimming, and she shows no signs of slowing down. In less that two months she has set NCAA records in the 500, 1000, and 1650, with American Records in the 500 and 1650. And we have to assume she won’t even be fully tapered until NCAA’s in March.
With four straight awards in this category and a bevy of Olympic medals, Katie Ledecky is already one of the greatest swimmers ever, and at only 19 years of age, there should be many more accolades to come.