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Katie Ledecky has shot at history in Tokyo in 1,500 as she reveals ambitious schedule for Olympic trials


In her acclaimed career, Katie Ledecky has won five Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship titles, more than any other woman in swimming history. At this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, she’s hoping to add to that collection with what could be a very ambitious schedule, even for her. 

“I’m targeting the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle and I’d love to be on the 4×200 relay in Tokyo as well, but that’s obviously not an event that we swim at trials,” she said Wednesday when asked what her plans were for the U.S. Olympic trials, scheduled for June. “Of course things could change. I swam the 100 in Omaha (the site of the trials) five years ago and got on that relay so you never know, I might adjust things ever so slightly, but 200 through the mile is the focus.” 

The women’s 1,500 (the mile) has been added to the Olympic program for the first time in Tokyo. In addition to it being about time that women got the same chance as men to swim that distance, it also happens to be an event in which, like the 400 and 800, Ledecky holds the world record and has dominated.

Katie Ledecky at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Des Moines on March 5, 2020 at the MidAmerican Energy Aquatic Center at the Wellmark YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa.

Like every athlete training for the Olympics during these uncertain times, Ledecky, 23, has spent a year adapting. A psychology major at Stanford with a minor in political science, she filled the unexpected 2020 Olympic void with a full load of classes and completed her degree in the fall. 

For a few weeks at the height of the shutdown, she found herself trying to swim laps in two different backyard pools in the San Francisco Bay area. One was 25 yards long, which wasn’t bad. The other was smaller; just a couple of strokes and she’d reach the wall. 


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