Katie Ledecky Named AP Sportswoman of the Year

The changes suited Katie Ledecky well.

He moved from one coast to another and turned to a new coach after the Tokyo Olympics. As a result, the American swimmer achieved another spectacular performance in a World Cup, she set a couple of records and closed 2022 obtaining The Associated Press award as the Woman Athlete of the Year.

Ledecky, who had already won this award in 2017, surpassed her compatriot, the American athlete Sydney McLaughlin, in the vote, the results of which were announced on Wednesday.

The two were even in total points, but Ledecky earned the distinction based on her 10 first-place votes to McLaughlin’s nine. Basketball player A’ja Wilson finished third.

“I know many great athletes have received this honor,” Ledecky said. “I’m really happy with the way my year has gone, and I’m excited for the future.”

Ledecky, who won her first gold medal in 2012 at age 15, has remained at the pinnacle of freestyle swimming for the better part of a decade.

He has held the record in the long course since 2013, both in the 800 meters and in the 1,500, freestyle. He has rarely faced a serious challenge in any of those tests.

At this year’s Swimming World Championships in Budapest, Ledecky came first in the 800, with an advantage of more than 10 seconds. She conquered the 1,500 by almost 15 seconds. She also won gold in the 400-meter freestyle and was part of the American team that won the 4×200 freestyle relay.

Before 2022 was out, Ledecky added two world records to his resume. He set the records in the short course in both the 800 and 1,500 meters, one week apart. He did it despite the fact that he barely competed in 25-meter pools.

But Ledecky enjoys it even more when no one is cheering for her, when she works alone with her coaches and teammates through the long training hours.

“I might be one of the few swimmers who like training more than competition,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love racing too. But I really enjoy practicing every day. I get excited when I get out of bed to train in the morning.”

Last year, after an Olympic performance that was somewhat disappointing by his high standards, Ledecky cut ties with coach Greg Meehan and with the team at Stanford University, where he had competed and trained since graduating with a psychology degree.

His priority was to get even a little closer to his family in the Washington, DC area. He was curious about the program he had created at the University of Florida by Anthony Nesty, a rising star as a coach.

Bobby Finke, one of Nesty’s freestyle protégés, surprisingly swept gold in the 800 and 1,500 meters in Tokyo. Another, Kieran Smith, was made from an unexpected bronze.

“Every day has been so much fun,” he said. “This is the right place for me to be at this point in my career. I am training really well and learning a lot along the way.”

Read Also:  Lucas Vázquez accepts Florentino's renewal parameters

The switch to working with Nesty on a show that has her regularly practicing with men seems to have taken Ledecky to new heights at 25.

Nesty said one of her main challenges was making sure Ledecky doesn’t train too hard.

“She needs to understand that once you get older, your body changes,” the coach said. “I have to tell her, ‘Katie, you have to understand that you’re not 18 anymore.’ The body gets tired. When you get tired it’s okay to slow down a bit.’”

The move to Florida has spawned other changes.

Normally somewhat reserved, Ledecky now seems more willing to talk, even engage in some rather friendly verbal duels, with her male partners, according to Nesty.

“This group is very competitive, fun, and sometimes talks a lot,” he said. “It seems like this has made her talk more. You have to be with our group, I think she has made her a little more outgoing ”.

Ledecky agreed.

“The boys are the boys. They love to challenge each other,” she said with a smile. “I make some jokes with them, I pressure them with some things. I definitely feel comfortable now in this environment.”

Ledecky faced a brutal program at the Tokyo Olympics, where women competed for the first time in the 1,500-meter freestyle. As expected, she doubled in the 800 and 1500, but fell to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in two shorter freestyle events.

He had to settle for silver, coming behind Titmus in the 400m. She didn’t even medal in the 200, finishing fifth, second and a half behind the Australian.

It was the first time that Ledecky did not finish an Olympic test by getting on the podium.

“There were many things that I would have liked to do better in Tokyo,” he acknowledged. “But I also really pushed myself. I swam the 1,500 at the Olympics for the first time and also the 200 free. The events were even on the same day, and I don’t think anyone else was doing this. It was a challenge that I had on my mind for many years, something I wanted to try. I do not regret it”.

Fifth place was certainly an anomaly in Ledecky’s outstanding career.

In three Olympic appearances, Ledecky has won seven gold and three silver medals. In the World Cup, her impressive harvest is 19 golds and three silvers.

And he has every intention of continuing to win.

Ledecky is now concentrating on the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where she could compete in at least four events. She even dreams of reaching the Olympic event in his country, in Los Angeles 2028.

By then he will be 31 years old. But she doesn’t see a reason why she can’t remain competitive at that age.

“I’m always setting new goals for myself,” Ledecky said. “I enjoy the process more and more each year, which is all it takes to stay at this level and to keep looking forward to something that will happen in a couple of years.”

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here