Take a moment and imagine yourself swimming down the lane of an Olympic pool – the competitive pressure building beneath the water, hundreds of people screaming from the stands, the muffled roars increasing as you come up for air. For most 19-year-olds, and most adults in general, this is hardly a familiar scene. For Katie Ledecky, though, it’s nothing new. In fact, this August, Ledecky will be returning to the pool to compete in her second Olympic Games. And if all goes to plan, she’ll soon be stamping her claim as swimming’s next big star.
The Ledecky legacy may have just begun, but she’s off to an impeccable start. Securing her first gold medal at the age of 15 in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, Ledecky had earlier success than even living legend Michael Phelps, who failed to bring home a medal in his first Olympics in 2000 at the age 15. While it may be unfair to hold someone up to the standards of the best swimmer ever, she has met all expectations up to this point. Eleven world records and eleven world championships in addition to Olympic gold clearly demonstrate she is no child in the pool. Her fearless Skill at such a young age has allowed her to compete with anyone in the world.
Ledecky’s talent and medals may shine brightest in the pool, but the 19-year-old should also be noted as a Role Model for young athletes across the world. Her diligence to her craft is something everyone can learn from, just as her devotion to family and personal growth deserve considerable acclaim as well. Ledecky has already formed an impressive trophy case, but she still has yet to accomplish obtaining a state driver’s license. Instead of concerning herself with driving, Katie would rather let her parents chauffeur her to the pools – not because she is needy, but because, “that time in the car that I have with them driving to and from practice is valuable,” Ledecky told CNN.
If that doesn’t make you lament, this will. Ledecky is already more accomplished than most pro swimmers could ever dream, yet she has chosen to keep her amateur status in order to swim for Stanford following the 2016 Olympics. On the surface, college may seem like the obvious move for a 19-year-old. However, her choice will cost her roughly 3 to 5 million dollars in sponsorship deals, and has already cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. Some may question her decision, but her commitment to education and excellence is undoubtedly an admirable one to say the least.
Behind Ledecky’s resolution is family, education, and a passion to be the best – not the richest. The Ledecky parents won’t be able to drive their daughter to Rio but they will surely be there to support their daughter as she strives to cement her status as the top dog in women’s swimming. Look for Ledecky to dominate the pool this summer as she competes in the 200, 400, and 800-meter freestyle competitions and the 4×200 relay for the United States.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 2 August 2016