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.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers if Katie Ledecky is the female GOAT of swimming:
Question: Is Katie Ledecky the greatest female swimmer of all-time?
- Yes – 69.4%
- Ask Me After Paris – 23.4%
- No – 6.9%
Last week, Mel Stewart posed a simple question to the SwimSwam audience: Is Katie Ledecky the greatest female swimmer of all-time?
After laying out some key bullet points on Ledecky’s resume, his ultimate conclusion was yes, and clearly, many of you agree.
We took the question to the A3 Performance Poll, and 69.4 percent believe that yes, Ledecky has earned GOAT status.
Her resume currently includes seven Olympic gold medals, 10 across three Games in total, along with 21 World Championship titles, 16 of which are individual—a distinction that broke Michael Phelps‘ record for individual LC world titles this past summer.
Ledecky’s case also can’t be simply based on medal count, we also have to take into account the unprecedented dominance she’s shown throughout her career in the 800 and 1500 freestyle (and the 400 at times), winning by a landslide essentially every time out.
She’s broken 14 individual long course world records so far in her career, and it’s kind of crazy to think of what the landscape of the women’s distance events would be right now if she never came around.
The world record has dropped more than nine seconds in the 800 free since Ledecky grabbed hold of it (8:14.10 to 8:04.79), and in the 1500 free, it’s gone down more than 22 (15:42.54 to 15:20.48).
Still just 26, Ledecky will be looking to add to her Olympic medal tally next summer at the 2024 Games in Paris, coming in as the clear-cut favorite for a fourth straight gold in the 800 free, a second straight title in the 1500 free, and she’ll also be in the hunt in the 400 free and 800 free relay.
Nearly a quarter of the votes, 23.4 percent, went to “Ask Me After Paris,” as some fans want to see her extend her Olympic success into 2024 before being locked in on Ledecky as the GOAT.
Just under seven percent voted no, Ledecky is not the greatest female swimmer ever. Other contenders for the distinction based on Olympic medal count include Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, though all benefitted from relays much more than Ledecky.
ChatGPT apparently also mentioned Missy Franklin, Janet Evans, Shirley Babashoff and East German Kristin Otto (doped, so disregarded) in the discussion, while someone like Dawn Fraser should also be considered.
Others from past generations that could be included are Shane Gould, Krisztina Egerszegi and Tracy Caulkins, while recent names who have also entered the discussion include Katinka Hosszu and Sarah Sjostrom.
However, it’s clear that Ledecky has started to distance herself from the pack, and if she does what many of us think she will do next year, there will be no debate left to be had.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Should the 1000 free remain on dual meet schedules?
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.