Olympic gold medalist and 2013 World Champion, Katie Ledecky, has verbally committed to swim at Stanford. Ledecky, a junior, plans to sign her letter of intent in November of 2014, and is expected to graduate from Stone Ridge of The Sacred Heart High School as a member of the class of 2015.
Her list of athletic accomplishments is very long. She was the youngest member of the US Olympic Team in 2012, earning her first Olympic gold medal in the 800 freestyle, with what was at the time the second-fastest time ever swum. At the 2013 FINA World Championships, she won four gold medals and broke two world records. She was also named the 2013 FINA World Swimmer of the Year, USA Swimming’s Athlete of The Year, and the U.S. Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year. The last two years she has won USA Swimming’s Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award.
“I am thrilled to announce that upon completion of my high school education, I am committed to pursue my college education at Stanford and very much look forward to the opportunity to swim for the Stanford Cardinal women’s team in NCAA competition,” said Ledecky. ” I am very excited about the educational opportunities that will be available to me at Stanford and to swim for its great NCAA program under the leadership of Coach Greg Meehan and Assistant Coach Tracy Duchac.”
Stanford has done very well recruiting the past few years. The 2014-2015 recruits include Simone Manuel, Lindsey Engel, Janet Hu, Ally Howe, Alex Meyers, Heidi Poppe, and a national champion diver, Gracia leydon-Mahoney. That class has a ton of strength and will be very noticeable next season. When you add Ledecky into the mix in two years, in addition to any other elite recruits this team may attract, we could be looking at a new national championship contender.
Ledecky’s short course yard times are hard to beat, with the seventh fastest time in history in the 200 freestyle, the American records in the 500 freestyle and 1650 freestyle, the second fastest time in history in the 1000 freestyle, and several other very competitive times. Her sprint freestyles are not as strong as her distance events comparatively, but will still be very competitive NCAA times.
“Katie’s success as a swimmer and a student are truly exceptional and provides us all with great inspiration,” said Head of School at Stone Ridge Catherine Ronan Karrels ’86. “She has made tremendous contributions at Stone Ridge with her talents, strong faith, self-discipline, courage, and confidence. Katie will surely thrive at Stanford and in her future pursuits. “
While Ledecky’s co-star of the American women’s team Missy Franklin will be turned pro, if she sticks to her plan, by the time Ledecky gets to Stanford, Georgia’s Brittany MacLean, a Canadian and NCAA Champion in the 500 and 1650 frees this season, will be in her senior season, and Virginia’s Leah Smith, who had a great rookie season in 2013-2014 in the distance events, will be a junior. The reality is that Ledecky will be the favorite in the 200-1650 freestyles from day one of her NCAA career, but the quality and depth of the 1650 free in her freshman season could be as good as we’ve seen in the NCAA in a long time, which will hopefully push her to even further success.