Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, speaking Thursday at the 2021 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee media summit, confirmed her desire to compete in five freestyle events at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am working towards swimming the 200, 400, 800 and 1500, and hopefully the 4x200 freestyle relay as well,” Ledecky said.
Ledecky first must qualify for each of the four individual events at the U.S Olympic Swimming Trials in June, but she is expected to do so, barring injury or illness, with relative ease.
The women’s 1500m freestyle, considered Ledecky’s strongest event, is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo. While the addition offers Ledecky an excellent chance for another gold medal, it will require here to swim multiple races in a single session twice during the Games. Both the 200m and 1500m freestyle events share a date for heats and for finals. It is exceptionally rare for a swimmer to compete in both events, a testament to Ledecky’s versatility.
Ledecky pointed out that the same overlap does not occur in the men’s competition, so a male swimmer attempting a similar feat would face less of a challenge. However, she said she remains excited about the women’s 1500 and wants to help showcase the event in its Olympic debut.
“I think there have been so many great female distance swimmers that have come through the U.S. that haven’t had that opportunity, so I want to take advantage of that opportunity and really get us started on a great note,” Ledecky said
Ledecky is scheduled to compete at this weekend’s Tyr Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, Calif., streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. The event features a “Tokyo Twist” schedule of evening prelims and morning finals, simulating what swimmers will experience at the Tokyo Olympics.
In addition to Ledecky, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Lochte and Ryan Murphy are among the notable swimmers listed on the psych sheet