Katie Ledecky: Back to the Classroom After Coronavirus Took Hold of Olympic Plan

Katie Ledecky re-enrolled in classes at Stanford after the coronavirus pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky had originally taken the year off from school so she could be all-in on the Olympic Games this summer. But when the Olympics got pushed back a year from the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the entire world, Ledecky decided to head back to school, she revealed in an interview with Karen Crouse of The New York Times. The world record holder and two-time reigning Olympic champion in the 800 freestyle, re-enrolled in online classes for the spring quarter, which began April 6 – 13.

Ledecky is in four classes this quarter, and one of them includes an infectious disease course, fitting for the events going on today.

“It’s Global Change and Emerging Infectious Disease, and it actually fulfills my last general requirement,” Katie Ledecky told The New York Times. “It’s a lot about the different environmental and social factors that cause these outbreaks. They go through SARS and MERS and HIV, but there’s definitely a focus on coronavirus.

“Our professors are giving us insight on the data that they’re tracking. It’s a lot about the bats and the markets and learning how to calculate transmission rates and contractibility and all those different things. It’s been really fascinating.”

katie ledecky, stanford, ncaa championships, morning splash

Katie Ledecky. Photo Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

Ledecky is a psychology major at Stanford University, where she has been training and studying since the fall of 2016 right after the Rio Games. Ledecky was finishing up her third Olympics quad under her third coach, as she was pushing for Tokyo 2020 under head Olympic coach Greg Meehan after seeing success in London under Yuri Suguiyama and in Rio under Bruce Gemmell.

But since the Olympics have been postponed, that plan has been disrupted. Ledecky was hitting on all cylinders this year.

“I felt really good about my swims (at the Des Moines Pro Swim Series) and felt it was indicative of how I was training,” Ledecky said. “It was nice to see that starting to show in meets. I was excited to get back to work. It’s tough when you’re doing well and feeling good about things and then things change. But I feel good about where I was at and feel I’ll be able to maintain that, and replicate that and remember how that felt.”

Katie Ledecky has been swimming in a backyard pool, just a short drive away from her home in California. It’s the only time in her day that she consistently ventures outside. She gets her groceries through Hello Fresh and grocery delivery apps, and she is able to use her small balcony for dryland workouts.

Ledecky has been known to be a good student. In her two years of swimming for the Stanford team, she was a CoSida First Team Academic All-American swimmer and was a two-time CSCAA Scholar All-American.

To read the full interview with Ledecky and The New York Times, click here.


  1. John Magalhaes

    The other day she was swimming backstroke, now the photo she is doing her breaststroke!!How odd is that???

    • Andrew Webber

      John Magalhaes always a good idea to swim all strokes, no matter what your event

    • John Magalhaes

      Andrew Webber she has been swimming some IM races on those TYR PRO Swimming meetings.

    • Andrew Webber

      John Magalhaes good stuff. Imagine coming into the brs/free turn neck and neck, ouch