Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel Named to Sports Illustrated’s “Fittest 50”

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Sports Illustrated recently released its list of the “fittest 50 athletes” for the year. The list was selected by a panel of “trainers, exercise physiologists and performance experts, athletes were selected based on their performances over the last 12 months; demands and risks of their respective sports; durability; training regimens; and other physical criteria including power, speed, strength, agility, endurance, flexibility and more.​”

Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and US Water Polo player Maggie Steffens made the list, which had 25 men and 25 women on it.

Ledecky notably broke a world record in May in the 1500 free at the Indianapolis Pro Swim Series, along with three gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in August. Ledecky was also named to ESPN’s “Most Dominant Athletes of 2018” list in December, placing fifth.

Ledecky placed sixth on the women’s list with Simone Biles of the USA Gymnastics team in the top spot.

Sports Illustrated wrote this about Ledecky:

“The world’s most dominant female swimmer had a quiet 2018 season by her unbelievably high expectations, earning three golds, a silver and a bronze medal at the Pan Pacific Championships and becoming one of just three women to set an individual long course world record on the year. In addition to a handful of world records, Ledecky has five Olympic gold medals and 14 world championship gold medals, the most in history for a female swimmer, and she’s already training to extend her reign at the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

Water polo player Maggie Steffens also made the list, placing 21st. Sports Illustrated wrote this about Steffens:

“The list of accomplishments for 25-year-old Maggie Steffens is lengthy: two Olympic gold medals, two world championships, two Pan-Am Games titles and two World Cups, plus three NCAA titles at Stanford. Her trophy case is filled thanks in part to her approach to training her 5’8”, 165-pound body. Steffens will go from the CrossFit gym, to workouts on the beach, to laps in the pool—sometimes all in one day.”​

December 18, 2017; Joint Forces Training Center, Los Alamitos, California, USA; Waterpolo: RockTape; Maggie Steffens Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne- KLC fotos

Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Dressel had a huge 2018 with three new American Records in short course yards at the NCAA Championships, putting up mind-boggling times in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly in March. Dressel had a minor setback this summer when he got injured in a motorcycle accident and almost missed US Nationals.

Dressel was 22nd on the men’s list with New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley in the top spot.

Sports Illustrated wrote this about Dressel:

“At age 22 and more than a year out from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Caeleb Dressel is already making waves. Standing at 6’3” and 190 pounds, the American sprint specialist dominated the 2018 NCAA Championships. He then went pro in 2018, signing with Speedo and breaking records at the ’18 Fina World Championships. In addition to training for missile-like, explosive power off the blocks, Dressel has mastered the art of building strength without adding too much muscle mass or bulk.​”

The List


  1. Simone Biles, Gymnastics
  2. Catherine Ibarguen, Track & Field
  3. Tia-Clair Toomey, CrossFit
  4. Dina Asher-Smith, Track & Field
  5. Gwen Jorgensen, Triathlon, Marathon
  6. Katie Ledecky, Swimming
  7. Amanda Nunes, UFC
  8. Daniela Ryf, Triathlon
  9. Emma Coburn, Track & Field, Steeplechase
  10. Serena Williams, Tennis
  11. Breanna Stewart, Basketball
  12. Courtney Dauwalter, Ultra Running
  13. Caster Semenya, Track & Field
  14. Mary Keitany, Marathon
  15. Emily Regan, Rowing
  16. Hilary Knight, Hockey
  17. Kaillie Humphries, Bobsled
  18. Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing
  19. Sasha Digiulian, Rock Climbing
  20. Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing
  21. Maggie Steffens, Water Polo
  22. Caroline Wozniacki, Tennis
  23. Jessie Diggins, Cross Country Skiing
  24. Julie Ertz, Soccer
  25. Claressa Shields, Boxing


  1. Saquon Barkley, Football
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Basketball
  4. Novak Djokovic, Tennis
  5. Kevin Mayer, Decathlon
  6. Mat Fraser, CrossFit
  7. LeBron James, Basketball
  8. Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling
  9. Conor McGregor, UFC
  10. Canelo Alvarez, Boxing
  11. Aaron Donald, Football
  12. Luka Modric, Soccer
  13. Russell Westbrook, Basketball
  14. Patrick Lange, Triathlon
  15. Tommy Caldwell, Rock Climbing
  16. Kjeld Nuis, Speed Skating
  17. Giancarlo Stanton, Baseball
  18. Patrick Mahomes, Football
  19. Hamish Bond, Rowing
  20. Connor McDavid, Hockey
  21. Eliud Kipchoge, Marathon
  22. Caeleb Dressel, Swimming
  23. Jim Walmsley, Ultra Runner
  24. Geraint Thomas, Cycling
  25. Brooks Koepka, Golf
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3 years ago

Meadow Rosenthal

3 years ago
Reply to  Melanie Whyte

Melanie Whyte I bet they don’t eat a bag of brownie bites…

3 years ago
Reply to  Melanie Whyte

Meadow Rosenthal you are probably correct

ty web
3 years ago

Gulf???? A “gulfer” is on the list? Why…

3 years ago

And Maggie Steffens at #21! Swimming World

3 years ago

Akiane Zave Casin Jacinto

3 years ago

Honestly, any swimmer, at any age is “fitter” than probably 90% of the mainstream sport athletes. Swimming is finally getting some spotlight attention.

3 years ago