Updated: May 10

With our Blackboard Breakdown series we look at one of the top swimmers in the world and discuss who they are, what their major achievements are and why they are so good.

It's a quick guide to their strengths whether that's physical, mental or otherwise.

In this blog we dissect Freestyle distance queen, Katie Ledecky.

Who Is Katie Ledecky?

Katie Ledecky is possibly the greatest female swimmer of all time.

She doesn't need much of an introduction to most but just in case you’ve been under a rock for the last 8 plus years, let's go through the basics.

Ledecky is an American Freestyle swimmer who specialises in distance events but can race from 1500m all the way down to 100m.

She’s won 5 Olympic golds and holds World Records in the 400, 800 and 1500m Freestyle.


Ledecky first broke onto the International stage at London 2012 when, at just the age of 15, she upset home favourite Becky Adlington to win the 800m Freestyle in a stunning time of 8:14:63 winning by over 4 seconds. What’s even more outstanding about this race is that her split at the first 400m was a new PB!

I think you all know what happened from this point onwards. She’s gone on to win a incredible 15 World Championship golds. 4 Golds in 2013, 5 Golds in 2015, 5 Golds and a Silver in 2017 and 1 gold and two silvers in an illness riddled 2019 World Championship.

All in all some stunning performances, but the crème de le crème of her achievements came at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She became the first swimmer since 1968 to win the 200, 400 and 800m Freestyle at the same Olympics, added to the gold and silver she won in the two Freestyle Relays for USA.

In total she has broken 14 World Records so far and for 7 straight years finished with the top time in the world for both the 800 and 1500m free.

On top of all this she has won World Swimmer of the Year a record 5 times!

The Big Question Is: How Is Katie Ledecky This Good?

Well, it comes down to one thing. Her stroke.

It has long been said that Katie Ledecky has one of the strongest strokes in swimming full stop, male and female swimmers included. She swims with a gallop stroke much like Michael Phelps. This gallop stroke requires a gigantic amount of core strength to swim effectively and is something that usually only the top male swimmers possess.

Ledecky herself has said 'we found that it's a very hip driven stroke. I have really good rotation and rhythm with my hip rotation, and I get a lot of power out of my hips. So, this stroke kind of maximises that'.

Described as a regular, caring person, it's nothing out the ordinary that makes her stand out from the rest. She just has more commitment and drive in training and that's what makes her so dominant.

So, what will Tokyo have in store? Will she carry on swimming unbelievable World Records or will someone challenge her to the Olympic titles?

Check out the video below!!

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