Katie Ledecky – Biography, Age, & Career

American swimmer Katie Ledecky won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics before shattering numerous world records. She continued her winning streak at the 2016 Summer Olympics, earning four gold medals and one silver medal.

Who Is Katie Ledecky?

Born in Maryland in 1997, Katie Ledecky began swimming competitively at age six. After earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic team at age 15, she set an American record in the 800-meter freestyle to win a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games. Ledecky has since shattered world records across an array of freestyle events ranging from 400 to 1,500 meters. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, she dominated the pool, winning gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle in world record time, the 200-meter freestyle and the 4×200 meter freestyle relay, and silver in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. She also broke the world record, winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle.

Early Years and Competitive Career

Kathleen Genevieve “Katie” Ledecky was born on March 17, 1997, in Bethesda, Maryland. The second child of David, a lawyer, and Mary Gen, a former collegiate swimmer and hospital administrator, she began swimming competitively at the Palisades Swim & Tennis Club at age six, alongside her older brother, Michael.

With her seemingly insatiable appetite for pool activity, Ledecky became a standout at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club under coach Yuri Suguiyama. In 2011, Suguiyama began instructing Ledecky to kick more aggressively while racing, a technique commonly used by elite men’s swimmers but rarely seen on the women’s side. That summer, before the start of her freshman year at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, she dominated the U.S. Junior Championships with wins in the 400-, 800- and 1,500- meter freestyle events.

2012 London Olympics Breakout Star

Ledecky made her senior debut at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, entering the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyles. The lack of top-level experience proved to be no obstacle for the 15-year-old, who surged to an eye-opening win in the 800m to become the youngest member of the U.S. team.

Her momentum continued through the competition at the 2012 London Games, where Ledecky paced her heat in the 800m. She then blew the competition out of the water in the final, breaking Janet Evans’s 23-year-old American record with a time of 8:14.63 to win the gold medal.

Afterward, Ledecky displayed the easy confidence of someone who expected to win. “I knew if I put my mind to it, I could do it,” she said. “I wasn’t intimidated at all.”

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