SwimSwam Pulse: 60% Agree With Ledecky’s Decision To Turn Pro

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to weigh in on Katie Ledecky‘s decision to turn pro after two collegiate seasons:


Question: What do you think about Katie Ledecky‘s decision to turn pro after two NCAA seasons?

  • It’s a good decision – 60.9%
  • She should have turned pro earlier – 26.6%
  • She should have finished her NCAA eligibility – 12.6%

6 out of 10 voters in our most recent poll agree with Katie Ledecky‘s timing to turn pro after two collegiate seasons.

High-level swimmers competing both collegiately and in high school usually spur some of the most impassioned debates among SwimSwam readers, but it can be hard to quantify the voices on either side of the debate. While SwimSwam readership in general seems to be a very pro-NCAA crowd, just 12% of voters said Ledecky should have finished out her final two years, turning pro after the 2020 Olympics.

Ledecky now has two years leading up to the next Olympics in which to sign endorsements and train and compete as a pro. About a quarter of voters said she should have gone pro earlier – perhaps after a year of college swimming or perhaps turning pro before ever competing in the NCAA.

The money question is always a tricky one. While Ledecky is still young (21 as of last month) and should presumably have plenty of time left in her career to make money, the same was said of Missy Franklin, who was in a similar situation after two seasons at Cal. Franklin’s career has hit snags much earlier than anticipated, a sobering reminder that young phenoms don’t always stay dominant, particularly on the women’s side.


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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

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HB Swim Dad
4 years ago

You are either committed to professional swimming or not. If you are, then do it immediately while you still have everything in your favor. Hit pro ASAP when you have the endorsement and popularity already at your back. You are only one injury or freak accident away from losing it all. Competing in college is for those not quite there yet and still improving on the international stage, or for those not interested in professional swimming. But if you want to make swimming truly your profession, then do it right and strike while you have your health and enthusiasm. Every year you wait, you risk burn out, etc.

Reply to  HB Swim Dad
4 years ago

I have to agree. Make your money while the going is hot, then you have college and the rest of your life ahead of you. Definitely an over simplification, but it could very will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Ol' Longhorn
4 years ago

And the other 40% must be independently wealthy.

Jim C
4 years ago

I thought she would, as opposed to should, stay for one more year and then go pro. Such an option should have been included in the poll.

4 years ago

Katie Ledecky can do whatever she darn well wants to. I think she enjoyed college swimming, attending Stanford, made new friends with lots of fellow students that are not swimmers and all the other positives you get by going to college.

By going pro now, she got the best of both worlds. Best of luck to her, she’ll do just fine.

farris wheel
4 years ago

If only 10 people voted, I’m not sure you have a large enough sample.

4 years ago

Reinforcing the last paragaph, i think she should have only done one NCAA season,because it´s a hell of a great experience.
But since it´s clearly becoming very difficult to evolve and consequently stay motivated (she already achieved super women level), she has to take the most out of her status to make some money and have other experiences – pro athlete experiences

Go Bearcats
Reply to  SharkSpeed
4 years ago

It would be great if college athletes could still get the money they’ve won and still maintain their amateur status. Maybe they couldn’t have access to it until they graduate, but it is there written on a check the day they graduate (like Arena PSS winnings).

HB Swim Dad
Reply to  Go Bearcats
4 years ago

Unfortunately, the NCAA rules were specifically for Football and Basketball, which pretty much ruined it for all the low profile sports that don’t have to worry about seedy agents or unscrupulous boosters.

4 years ago

Seems like 87.5% agree with her decision to turn pro before finishing college. 60% agree with the timing. Nitpicking the title of the article…

Reply to  Swisher
4 years ago

I agree on that. Basically no question of “should she have turned pro at some point before the end of her NCAA career” – just a matter of did she hang around too long?

HB Swim Dad
Reply to  James
4 years ago

Possibly. She should have turned pro immediately after Rio, while her reputation was red hot and the Games were still on everyone’s mind.

Go Bearcats
4 years ago

I like that she is training with Stanford and with other elite swimmers her age. I voted that she should’ve gone pro immediately because I think it worked well for Phelps and she is the most Phelps-esque in this generation. Although, if she went pro and didn’t change her training group, I’m not sure how she would have done. I’m not sure..just some thoughts.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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