Katie Ledecky, Emma McKeon, Due To Illness, & Taylor Ruck All Out Of 200 Free

katie ledecky

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Three of the biggest contenders for the 200m freestyle crown – all potential podium placers at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next year – are gone before the gun goes off at World Championships in Gwangju: Katie Ledecky, of the USA, and Emma McKeon, of Australia, and Taylor Ruck have withdrawn from the event, the first two because they have been feeling unwell.

The decisions to bypass the 200m for three athletes with big programs were taken as precautionary measures that give the women a better chance to be in form in other events during the rest of the week.

The news suggests that there may be more to Ledecky’s silver-medal showing in the 400 freestyle than simply a subpar race. Just before the start of Day Three preliminaries at the World Championships, United States Swimming released a statement announcing that Ledecky was withdrawing from the 200 freestyle and that her status for the final of the 1500 freestyle would be determined at a later time.

“A decision has been made by Team USA in consultation with Katie [Ledecky], her coach and the team’s medical staff for her to withdraw from the 200-meter freestyle event on medical grounds,” said the statement, attributed to National Team Managing Director Lindsay Mintenko.

“The team will determine her participation in this evening’s 1500m final later in the day.

“Katie has not been feeling well since arriving to Gwangju on July 17 and these precautionary measures are being taken to ensure her well-being and proper recovery, and to allow her to focus her energy on an abbreviated schedule.”

Greg Meehan, Ledecky’s coach, told the New York Times‘ Karen Crouse that they are taking it “session to session”. He was hopeful that Ledecky would get back to racing before the week is out. The 1500m final this evening remains touch and go.

Ledecky was the heavy favorite to win a fourth consecutive world title in the 400 freestyle on Sunday night, but the 22-year-old struggled down the final lap, as Australian Ariarne Titmus claimed the gold medal. The loss was Ledecky’s first in international competition in the 400 freestyle, and she had the second-slowest split of the eight finalists over the last lap. That finish was an anomaly for Ledecky, who is known for her tremendous closing speed.


Emma McKeon; Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

Ledecky is currently the top seed in the 1500 freestyle, with that final scheduled for Tuesday night. She is also a key component of the United States’ 4×200 freestyle relay, which figures to be in a duel with Australia later in the week. The absence of Ledecky from that relay would be a significant blow to the team’s chances at gold. Ledecky was the gold medalist in the 200 freestyle in 2015 and shared the silver medal in the event in 2017.

A spokesperson for Swimming Australia said: “Emma’s not feeling 100% so it was decided to pull her from the 200m. She’s got a big program and the hope is that she’ll be better placed for her other events as the week goes on.”

Meanwhile, John Atkinson, High Performance Director and National Coach for Canada, said of Ruck’s withdrawal: “It’s her first world championships and she was looking at swimming a very busy program consisting of four individual events which would have heats, semifinals and finals, and potentially four or five relays.

“We have made this decision in consultation with Taylor and her coach Ben Titley at the High Performance Centre – Ontario to protect her performances for the rest of the world championships. Dropping the 200-m freestyle swims from her program will allow her to focus on her remaining events. The world championships this year is the prelude to Olympic Games preparation next year and this is all part of keeping the long-term best interests of the athlete at the centre of the decision.”



  1. Wayne Goldsmith

    She’s a great champion – she’ll be back.

  2. Reagan Lucas

    Danielle Kathleen this is tough.

  3. Rick Evans

    You could tell something was up. No gas on that final 50 of the 400. Hope for a speedy recovery!

    • Scot Moser

      She didn’t look good coming to blocks!

  4. Choi Nanette

    I don’t think it’s fair to say she withdrew the game because she didn’t know how to lose. How could someone reach the top of the world without knowing how to lose. Impossible!

  5. Ab Ramirez

    Wow but well better here than in Tokyo.

  6. Donna Sizemore Hale

    People get sick. Real swimmers know this. Goodness people she is human

  7. Vicki Marsh

    People,,,, life happens. Give the girl a break!!! Get better fast!!! You’re the best ❤️?

  8. Bridget Lin

    Joshua Zhang another 2 of em ?

    • Joshua Zhang

      Bridget Lin HOLY MOLY Mckeon and Ruck too!!?

  9. Alcherl Rivera

    Oh no, Katinka Hoshuo will dominate again and Pelligrini

    • avatar

      She didn’t even make top 16…

  10. avatar

    Maybe she’s just a sore loser. It’s no secret she hasn’t been on the top of her game the last two years. Swimmers (Titmus) were going to eventually catch up and maybe she can’t handle it. She is human after all.

    • Peter Paul Reich

      John McCormack
      I agree! this is really all warm up for Olympics!!

      Lily and Caleb are studs!!

  11. Dominic Goshert

    Brett Goshert could explain the 400 free upset

    • Brett Goshert

      Dominic Goshert yes it does. Too bad for her.