World Record Holder Katie Ledecky Makes College Decision

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.

In This Story

95
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
95 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
YouGotLezakd
7 years ago

Well….. It looks like the cardinals are going to win a couple of titles in the next few years.

mxskier
7 years ago

Stanford FTW. Simone Manuel coming in this year (plus the rest of their ridiculous recruiting class), and now Ledecky next year (which will likely help draw other top tier girls there more than usual). That freshman/sophomore class duo could very quickly propel them to ncaa champions.

Zanna
7 years ago

Wow wow wow. And in hands of good coaches!

ArtVanDeLegh10
7 years ago

I remember just a year or two ago when the CAL women got Missy and others, how pretty much everyone said CAL would be unstoppable for the next 4-5 years. Anyone still think that way?

jim
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
7 years ago

The depth of the women has improved tremendously alongside the men. The thinking was in 2013, only 2 men were seeded at NCAA’s under 46 in 100 back, and in 2014 it was like 14 or 15. For the women, that kind of depth is starting to pile up as well. 22 is the new 23, 21 is the new 22, and even 20 point something is the new fast 21 for women. The top end isn’t just improving, the depth of ‘fast’ is too.

It’s a shame Missy won’t be hanging around after her sophomore year…there could’ve been some ‘epic’ 500 races between her and Katie.

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  jim
7 years ago

Remember, Missy didn’t win the 500 last year–Brittany Maclean from Georgia did. I realize that Missy is the big name, but I don’t think it’s right to say that we’d get epic races from Ledecky and Missy when Missy didn’t even win this past year. Plus, Ledecky would kill Missy in the 500. Missy is not a 500 swimmer, while Missy is. It’s not a fair fight.

weirdo
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
7 years ago

Agree, the 500 wouldn’t be a great race, but maybe the 200 would be. In my opinion, Katie is a better short course swimmer….just better walls.

jman
Reply to  jim
7 years ago

Yes, women’s swimming is deep and great swimmers. But i continue to find it much more anticlimactic vs. men for the simple reason that there are 3 power teams in women’s swimming and more potential for other winners on the men’s side.

Steve
Reply to  jim
6 years ago

“…and even 20 point something is the new fast 21 for women. ”

Has a woman gone 20 point in the 50 yet, flat start? I can’t find that time, but if so that’s awesome.

korn
7 years ago

is she going there right from high school or after Rio?

SeahawkSwammer
7 years ago

Lia Neal, Simone Manuel, Janet Hu, and now Katie Ledecky. Stanford is loading up. Exciting to see!

Johnny
7 years ago

Katie should forget college and go pro. There is nothing noble about giving up millions. She can always get her education after Rio-

coach
Reply to  Johnny
7 years ago

I agree. Name one distance national team member (or even national junior team member) that either of these coaches have produced. Maya and Felicia swam great this year, but remember that Maya was 4th at Trials in both IMs and Felicia, also a previous National Team member, was finally healthy after a shoulder surgery. There were a lot of girls who did not do well this year, but unlike Teri and Cal, this fell under the radar.

This makes me nervous for 2016 and 2020.

Anon
Reply to  coach
7 years ago

Name one female swimmer that has gone pro without going to college and has managed to not flame out.

Admin
Reply to  Anon
7 years ago

Anon – well this is a hard conversation to have unless you define your terms. What’s your definition of “not flame out”? Chloe Sutton has made two Olympic teams and was 6th at Worlds last year in the 800 free. I wouldn’t call that “flaming out,” but you might have a different definition than me.

aswimfan
Reply to  Anon
7 years ago

Majority of the world’s top female swimmers are pro.

And your point is…?

Reply to  aswimfan
7 years ago

Answer the question, name some female swimmers to go pro and succeed.

aswimfan
Reply to  aswimfan
7 years ago

Samuli Hirsi and Anon.

easy..Stephanie Rice, Cate Campbell, Kromowidjojo, Ye Shiwen, etc etc.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Johnny
7 years ago

Completely agree. Hell, the Phelps thing – going to school, training with a team and just not competing – isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Should totally be able to do everything, though. Boo NCAA.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Steve Nolan
7 years ago

I’m sure Steve Nolan expects the maximum of “dislike” when he posts a comment. :mrgreen:

Steve Nolan
Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

I’ve always wondered that, if we could go back and add those thangs to my old comments.

PEOPLE CAN’T HANDLE MY TRUTH.

Rose
Reply to  Johnny
5 years ago

It’s always good to have something to fall back on, though. She can’t be an athlete forever.

New to this
7 years ago

OK, maybe I’m missing something…. I didn’t think coaches were even allowed to speak to juniors until next month? Tell me how this works.

Admin
Reply to  New to this
7 years ago

“New to this” – it’s kind of complicated in swimming, because high school athletes and college coaches have so much more natural contact. By rule, coaches are very limited with what they can discuss with athletes until July 1 before their senior year, when things open up, but a coach can offer a scholarship at any time, verbally. It’s not binding by either side until the letter is sent (which must be after August 1 of senior year), but it’s becoming more-and-more common for top recruits to commit before their senior years – to avoid the chaos that can come from trying to train, be recruited, and graduate at the same time.

It happens more often in sports like football… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

.. and don’t forget that student athletes in any year may visit a campus at their own expense and arrange a visit/tour/talk/etc… with the collegiate coaches. They can also place phone calls to those coaches at their own expense and many juniors now are realizing they can do this to get ahead in the recruiting game… especially the blue chip recruits. Congrats Katie and good luck at Stanford!

ML
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

How do they know she’ll be admitted before she even finishes her junior year? I didn’t know Stanford admissions did that…

DL
Reply to  ML
7 years ago

They don’t know for sure, and they are at the mercy of the admissions office. What they can say is that if she is admitted, they will give her a scholarship. But the coaches know what her grades and sat scores are, so they can make a pretty good educated guess of what the outcome will be, given that Stanford places high priority on people that are really good at something aside from grades, including sports.

ML
Reply to  DL
7 years ago

If that were true, it would be a bit presumptuous to issue a press release saying “I am very excited about the educational opportunities that *will* be available to me at Stanford,” and to take a photo in Stanford gear, etc. Since Ledecky strikes me as a smart, well-mannered person, I’m guessing she has very strong assurances that she’ll get in. And if Stanford makes those kinds of assurances this early, I’m surprised it’s not a better kept secret.

MD
Reply to  DL
7 years ago

The Stanford Athletics Department provided Katie a very special early early application, and the Admissions Department has approved her for admission.

ML
Reply to  DL
7 years ago

That’s dismaying if true. It undermines the idea (maybe it’s been relegated to a myth) that Stanford kids are students first and athletes second. I’m a Stanford grad and will be happy to cheer for Ledecky (who, I’m sure, would have been a qualified applicant as a senior). But it’s sad to think the University has given up that principle. Did Janet Evans and Tiger Woods get that deal?

MD
Reply to  DL
7 years ago

The school grants only a few of these early early applications per year. It’s not that big of a deal. You still need to submit a full application with test scores, grades, etc, and most recruits receive applications around May and hear back in July. Almost any recruit for any school–Pac-12, Big Ten, Ivy League–receives “special” treatment by receiving advance notice that he or she will be admitted; what difference does a few months make?

ML
Reply to  DL
7 years ago

Thanks for the background info. If it’s standard practice for Stanford to admit recruits in July, then I guess May is not such a dramatic departure (though I presume it takes another term’s grades out of consideration). Do you know how long they’ve been offering these special “early early” admissions? Maybe I’m only learning about them now because of the internet.

CraigH
Reply to  ML
7 years ago

They’ve always done it for a select few Football and Basketball players. How else do you think these guys announce their Verbal Commitments so early during their Junior years. Not sure why an exceptional swimming talent would be different.

About Tony Carroll

Tony Carroll

The writer formerly known as "Troy Gennaro", better known as Tony Carroll, has been working with SwimSwam since April of 2013. Tony grew up in northern Indiana and started swimming in 2003 when his dad forced him to join the local swim team. Reluctantly, he joined on the condition that …

Read More »