One of the fastest female swimmers of all time, most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympic Games, five-time Olympic gold medalist, 14-time world champion, 2016 Female Athlete of the Olympic Games
"Katie Ledecky is an American competitive swimmer. She is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and 14-time world champion, the most in history for a female swimmer. She is the current world-record holder in the women's 400-, 800-, and 1500-metre freestyle (long course). She also holds the fastest-ever times in the women's 500-, 1000-, and 1650-yard freestyle events.
In her international debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games as a 15-year-old, Ledecky unexpectedly won the gold medal in the women's 800-metre freestyle. Four years later, she left Rio de Janeiro as the most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympic Games with four gold medals, one silver medal, and two world records. In total, she has won 26 medals (24 golds and two silver) in major international competitions, spanning the Summer Olympics, World Championships, and Pan Pacific Championships. During her career, she has broken thirteen world records.
Ledecky's success has earned her Swimming World's World Swimmer of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Ledecky was also named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 2017, international female Champion of Champions by L'Équipe in 2014 and 2017, United States Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Year in 2013, 2016 and 2017, and Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation in 2017. Ledecky's 10 individual gold medals at the World Aquatics Championships and 14 combined individual titles at the Olympics and World Aquatics Championships are records in women's swimming…
During her high school swimming career, Ledecky twice set the American and US Open record in the 500-yard freestyle and twice set the national, high-school record in the 200-yard freestyle…
At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska (her first senior national competition), Ledecky made the Olympic team by placing first in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:19.78, which was over two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kate Ziegler. In Omaha, Ledecky also placed third in the 400-meter freestyle (4:05.00) and ninth in the 200-meter freestyle (1:58.66). Her third-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle was the fastest time ever swum by a 15- to 16-year-old American. At 15 years, 4 months, and 10 days, she was the youngest American participant at the 2012 Olympic Games…
In the final, Ledecky stunned the field, winning gold by more than four seconds, with a time of 8:14.63, the then second-fastest effort of all time just behind Rebecca Adlington's world record of 8:14.10 set in 2008. In addition, she broke Janet Evans' American record of 8:16.22 that had stood since 1989. In the final, Ledecky went out hard and, by the 200-meter mark, she had already established an almost body-length lead. Her 400-meter split was 4:04.34, a personal best for Ledecky in that distance, and would have placed fifth in the individual 400-meter freestyle. At the 750-meter mark, Ledecky was 3.42 seconds ahead of Mireia Belmonte García, and 0.31 seconds under world record pace. Ledecky won by 4.13 seconds and just missed the world record by 0.53 seconds. Her gold was the first international medal of her career, earning her the 2012 Best Female Performance of the Year and Breakout Performer of the Year at the Golden Goggle Awards…
At the 2013 World Championships, Ledecky won gold in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle, and in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and set two world records. In winning the 400 through 1500-meter titles, she became the second woman ever to win the events in a World Championships since German Hannah Stockbauer in 2003. In her first event in Barcelona, the 400-meter freestyle, Ledecky became a world champion for the first time by winning in 3:59.82, setting a new American record and becoming the second-fastest performer of all time in the event.
In her second event, Ledecky won gold in the 1500-meter freestyle in a world record time of 15:36.53, breaking the record held by compatriot Kate Ziegler by six seconds. In what was a hard-fought race with Dane Lotte Friis, Ledecky overcame Friis in the final few hundred meters after losing the lead at the 300-meter mark, which included a final 50 split of 29.47.
In her third, and first relay event of her international career, the 4×200-meter freestyle, Ledecky and teammates Shannon Vreeland, Karlee Bispo, and Missy Franklin won gold in 7:45.14. Anchor Missy Franklin overtook Australian Alicia Coutts in the last 200 meters, giving the US the gold. Ledecky provided the US with an early lead, swimming the first leg in a personal best of 1:56.32.
In her fourth and last event, the 800-meter freestyle, Ledecky won gold in a world record of 8:13.86, bettering Rebecca Adlington's world record of 8:14.10. Much like the 1500-meter freestyle, Ledecky let Lotte Friis lead most of the race, making a move at the 650-meter mark to eventually win the race by 2.46 seconds…
At year's end, Ledecky was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine. She was also named the best female swimmer for 2013 by FINA Aquatics World magazine.
Ledecky began  by breaking her own world records in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle at the 2014 Woodlands Swim Team Senior Invitational in June. Despite being in season and swimming multiple events, Ledecky was able to first break the world record in the 1500-meter freestyle with a time of 15:34.23, bettering her previous mark of 15:36.53. Three days later, Ledecky then broke the world record in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:11.00, bettering her previous mark of 8:13.86.
At the 2014 US National Championships, the qualifying meet for both the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, Ledecky finished first in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle. In the 400-meter freestyle, Ledecky set her third world record of the year by breaking Federica Pellegrini's 2009 world record of 3:59.15 with a time of 3:58.86. With her mark in the 400, Ledecky became the first female since Janet Evans to hold world records simultaneously in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyles…
At the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, Ledecky won five gold medals and broke two world records. Her wins came in the 200-, 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle. Ledecky almost broke the world record in the 800-meter freestyle, finishing with a time of 8:11.35. Her world records came in the 400- and 1500-meter freestyles, with times of 3:58.37 and 15:28.36, respectively. She became the first woman to win four individual gold medals at a single Pan Pacific Championship...
On the meet's final day, Ledecky set her fifth world record of the year, lowering her record in the 1500-meter freestyle by nearly six seconds with a time of 15:28.36. Ledecky swam the second half of the race faster than the first, completing the final 800 meters in 8:14.11—faster than any other woman has completed a regular 800-meter race in a textile suit. Ledecky lapped three competitors in the final and finished 27.33 seconds ahead of silver medalist Boyle. National Team Director Frank Busch described Ledecky's 1500 performance as "the most impressive race I have ever seen, and I've been in the sport for 50 years.... She's blazing a completely different trail than anyone who has come before."
During the championships' closing ceremonies, Ledecky was named the female swimmer of the meet.
At year's end, Ledecky was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine…
At the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia, Ledecky won five gold medals and broke three world records. Her wins came in the 200-, 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyles and the 4×200-meter freestyle. Her world records came in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyles. Ledecky is the first swimmer to win the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyles in a major competition. Ledecky was also named the female swimmer of the meet. Ledecky began the World Championships by winning gold in the 400-meter freestyle in a time of 3:59.13, a new championship record and almost four seconds ahead of her closest competitor.In the heats of the 1500-meter freestyle on the second day of competition, Ledecky broke her own world record in a time of 15:27.71…
On the seventh day of competition, Ledecky completed her World Championships run by winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle in a world record time of 8:07.39, breaking her own record by 3.61 seconds.
Ledecky began 2016 at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin. On the final day of competition, she reset her world record in the 800-meter freestyle, clocking a time of 8:06.68. Earlier in the meet, she set world-leading times in the 200- and 400-meter freestyles and a U.S.-leading time in the 100-meter freestyle.
At the 2016 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Ledecky won the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyles to qualify for her second Olympic team… On July 1, Ledecky broke Janet Evans's 28-year-old national championship record in the morning preliminary heats of the 800-meter freestyle (8:10.91) before placing seventh that evening in the 100-meter freestyle (53.99). The next day, Ledecky lowered her meet record, winning the 800-meter freestyle final by nearly 10 seconds (8:10.32). With her pair of swims in the 800-meter freestyle, Ledecky took control of the top 11 fastest times in the event's history. At the conclusion of the week, Ledecky was named the female swimmer of the meet.
Ledecky's first event in the 2016 Summer Olympics was the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, swimming the anchor leg for the United States in both the prelims and final. Ledecky recorded a split of 52.64 in the heats. In the final, she joined Simone Manuel, Abbey Weitzeil, and Dana Vollmer and recorded a split of 52.79, helping the team earn a silver medal (behind Australia) with a time of 3:31.89, a new national record for the United States.
Her first individual event was the 400-meter freestyle. Ledecky qualified in the heats with a time of 3:58.71, an Olympic record. In the final, she won the gold medal with a world record time of 3:56.46––nearly two seconds faster than her previous record from 2014 and almost 5 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Jazmin Carlin.
Ledecky won a second gold in the 200-meter freestyle with a personal best of 1:53.73, beating Sarah Sjöström by 0.35 seconds.
Ledecky claimed her third gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, with Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, and Maya DiRado. Swimming the anchor leg again, Ledecky provided the fastest split of the field (1:53.74) to turn a 0.89-second deficit into a 1.84-second victory, stopping the clock at 7:43.03.
She won a fourth gold in her final individual event, the 800-meter freestyle. She qualified in the heats with an Olympic record, 8:12.86, and set a world record in the finals of 8:04.79, over 11 seconds faster than the silver medalist, Jazmin Carlin.
With three individual titles, Ledecky became the first swimmer to win the 200, 400 and 800 m freestyle at the same Olympics since Debbie Meyer did so in 1968 in Mexico City. Ledecky's final medal total (four golds, one silver) is the most decorated single-Olympics performance by a U.S. female athlete in terms of gold medals, topping Missy Franklin (2012; four golds, 1 bronze), Simone Biles (2016; four golds, 1 bronze), and Amy Van Dyken (1996; four golds). Ledecky was also the 2nd most decorated Olympian at the 2016 games behind Michael Phelps (5 golds, 1 silver).
During the 2016-17 NCAA season, Ledecky set 12 NCAA records and nine American records while swimming as a freshman for Stanford University.
At the Ohio State Invitational in November 2016, Ledecky lowered her American and U.S. Open marks in the women's 500-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle.
At the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, WA, Ledecky earned Swimmer of the Meet honors with four American records as Stanford won its first conference title in four years. On the first day of the meet, Ledecky anchored the 800-yard freestyle relay with a 1:40.28 split to break the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open record in the 800-yard freestyle relay with Lia Neal, Katie Drabot, and Ella Eastin. The next day, Ledecky lowered her own mark again in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:25.15. On the meet's third day, she won the 400-yard individual medley in a new American record of 3:57.68 before finishing second to teammate Simone Manuel in the 200-yard freestyle with a personal best time less than a half hour later. On the meet's final day, Ledecky joined Manuel, Neal, and Janet Hu to break the NCAA and American record in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
At the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ledecky helped lead Stanford to its first team title since 1998. She reset her American, NCAA, and U.S. Open records in the 800-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, and 400-yard freestyle relay and won a meet-best five race titles overall. On the meet's first day, she recorded the team's fastest split to lower the 800-yard freestyle relay record to 6:45.91 with Manuel, Neal, and Eastin. The next day, she lowered her own record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:24.06, beating the second-fastest performer of all-time, Leah Smith, by nearly five seconds. On the meet's third day, Ledecky's 20th birthday, Ledecky recorded a personal-best time of 1:40.36 in the 200-yard freestyle to edge Manuel and tie Louisville sophomore Mallory Comerford for the title. On the meet's final day, Ledecky set an NCAA record in the 1000-yard freestyle (9:06.90) en route to a championship record in the 1650-yard freestyle (15:07.70), defeating runner-up Smith by 21.19 seconds and lapping all other competitors. In the meet's final event, Ledecky joined Manuel, Neal, and Hu to swim the second leg of Stanford's 400-yard freestyle relay. The team lowered its previous record with a time of 3:07.61, securing a 526.5-366 decision over runner-up California-Berkeley, the largest championship margin of victory since 2003.
Following the season, Ledecky became the first freshman in 35 years to receive the Honda Cup, which recognizes the nation's top female collegiate athlete.
In Budapest, Ledecky broke the World Aquatics Championships' all-time female gold medal record, winning five golds and one silver to bring her career title total to 14.
In her first event, the 400-meter freestyle, Ledecky successfully defended her world title, finishing with a championship record time of 3:58.34. Later that evening, Ledecky swam the third leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle. Joined with Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel, Ledecky recorded a split of 53.83, helping the team win gold with a time of 3:31.72, a new national record for the United States.
On the third day of competition, Ledecky defended her 1500-meter freestyle title, winning with a time of 15:31.82. With this win being Ledecky's twelfth World Championship gold medal, Ledecky passed Missy Franklin for the most gold medals won by a female swimmer in long course World Championships history.
On the fourth day of competition, Ledecky tied for silver in the 200-meter freestyle (with Emma McKeon), finishing behind Federica Pellegrini with a time of 1:55.18. This was Ledecky's first international loss in an individual event. Notably, in the semifinals the day prior, Ledecky recorded the top time in the semifinals with a time of 1:54.69. She achieved this result less than an hour after swimming the 1500-meter freestyle final…
Ledecky concluded the meet with a win in the 800-meter freestyle, her fifth-straight title in the event across Olympics and World Championships.
Ledecky was a USA Olympic team member in 2012 and 2016, and holds the record for most individual gold medals (10) and overall gold medals (14) at the World Aquatics Championships.
Her combined 14 individual titles at the Olympics (four) and World Aquatics Championships (10) are also a record for female swimmers.
Ledecky has also received the following awards:
Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year Award: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Swimming World American Swimmer of the Year Award: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
FINA Swimmer of the Year: 2013
FINA Best Swimming Performance of the Year: 2015, 2016
Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year: 2017
L'Équipe Champion of Champions: 2014, 2017
Time 100: 2016 (youngest person on the list)
USOC SportsWoman of the Year: 2012–13, 2016, 2017
USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
USA Swimming Performance of the Year Award: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Golden Goggle Female Athlete of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Golden Goggle Female Race of the Year: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Golden Goggle Breakout Performer of the Year: 2012
Honda Sports Award Winner for NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving: 2016-17
Honda Cup Winner: 2016-17
Women's Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year (Individual Sport): 2017" (1)