Prior to the IOC agreeing to add the men’s 800m free and women’s 1500m free to the Olympics swimming program, American world record holder Katie Ledecky’s maximum distance stalled out at 800m at an Olympic Games.
The 5-time Olympic champion will be targeting the women’s 100m-1500m at the U.S. Nationals this weekend in Indy, a schedule the Stanford swimmer could potentially carry into Tokyo for the first time ever. Ledecky also has a chance to earn more Olympic hardware should she be selected for the newly-added mixed gender 4x100m medley relay.
When speaking today in Indianapolis, Ledecky responded when asked about the new events, “Adding the 1500m was a long time coming. It’s good that there’s parity in the men’s and women’s distance events now. Obviously, the 1500m will have to be in the conversation now.”
The freestyle ace continued, “It’s good that the sport isn’t static. I mean, the world isn’t static. If you look at the history of swimming, events have been added over time. Women had a lot fewer races back in the day. I’ve met some female swimmers who swam in the ’60s and didn’t have the opportunities that we had in terms of the events. I think there was only a 100m and 400m free at one point [before 1968]. And then they added the 200m. Then they added the 50m in 1988, I think. So, over time, more events have been added. I think the 1500m fits right in there this year. It’s a good opportunity for swimmers moving forward. Hopefully, it will encourage some young kids to try out some distance swimming.” (NBC Olympics)
“I’m swimming the 100m because I like to contribute to that relay,” she said. “As long as I’m pushing the other girls, then we can get some good times up there. Hopefully whoever’s on that relay can compete for a top medal.”