Katie Ledecky Brings World Championship Gold Medals to “Today” Show

Photo Courtesy: NBC

Katie Ledecky stopped by Rockefeller Plaza in New York City today for her first Stateside interview after what most would call a stellar week at the FINA world championships in Russia, talking with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show on NBC.

Right out of the gate, Ledecky downplayed her performances, saying “I wouldn’t say (the races were) perfect, but it was pretty the best week I could have asked for.”

Ledecky became the first person to win the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles in one world championship meet and set world records in the 800 and 1500. She left the meet with five gold medals, the most of anyone at the meet and one of the highest tallies of any female at a world championships.

Now she’s back home getting ready for the push toward the Rio Olympics, where she could be the second woman after Debbie Meyer in 1968 to win the 200, 400 and 800 in one Olympic Games. (There is no 1500 free for women in the Olympics, an omission that continues to irk swimmers, coaches and fans.)

“It’s not every day you can say you’ve done something nobody’s done before,” Ledecky said. “I’ve been enjoying it, and at the same time, looking forward to this next year.”

Lauer brought up the topic of Ledecky’s stamina in the sport, and whether she can continue to put in the grueling amount of time that distance swimmers need to be at their best. At 18 years old, she could have a career that lasts 10 more years. The woman she’s succeeding as the queen of distance swimming, Janet Evans, was 24 years old when she swam in her final Olympics.

“I’m looking at new ways I can improve with my coach, Bruce Gemmell,” Ledecky said. “I hope I can continue to improve.”

Before speaking with Lauer inside the studio, Ledecky was outside among cheering fans and talked with Angie Goff from NBC affiliate WRC in Ledecky’s hometown of Washington, D.C.

ICYMI: Watch Angie Goff chat with Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky!

Posted by NBC Washington on Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 Comments

4 comments

  1. avatar

    I just realized that Janet Evans set her first world record and times peaked at age 16, Ledecky is still improving at 18 so far. Maybe because Ledecky’s more conventional stroke technique allowed her to grow into it more easily? Although I’m sure there were other factors, Evans seemed to slow down a bit as she grew–maybe because of her unusual stroke?

    • avatar
      Jeff Commings

      A few of history’s best swimmers had trouble after setting world records and winning medals at the Olympics in their teens, but there are many who continued to swim well into their 20s: Krisztina Egerszegi, Daniel Gyurta, Amanda Beard, Michael Phelps to name just a few. There could be many reasons why Janet did not improve into her 20s, but her stroke was not likely one of them.

      • avatar
        Bill V.

        Several years ago I analyzed Janet Evans’ stroke for an article called “Windmill Revolution” in Swimming Technique magazine. One of the observations I had was the way she lifted her head and undulated. Those two aspects of her technique could have been affected by growth. She was quite a bit taller and more muscular in Barcelona than she was in Seoul. So, I do wonder if those aspects of her stroke were more easily maintained in her 16-year-old body.

  2. avatar
    Mark Schwartz

    It is easy to forget that she is just eighteen years old. She carries herself with such grace and dignity, just a very genuine and poised young woman.

Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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