Making waves: A spotlight on Katie Ledecky

If you know your breaststroke from your butterfly, the chances are you’ll have heard of Katie Ledecky.

The American swimming sensation has seen remarkable success and has gained prominence as one of the best freestyle swimmers of her generation.

The US athlete holds two world records, owns 18 of the 20 fastest 1500m freestyle times ever and has seven gold Olympic medals to her name.

It’s, therefore, no surprise that Ledecky has been hailed as the 'one to watch' in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

We take a look at Ledecky’s success to date and what we can expect of this tour de force at the Paris games.

Ledecky’s legacy

Like all the top athletes, Ledecky began training at a very young age. Hailing from Washington in the US, she started to swim competitively at just six years old.

Before she’d even left high school, Ledecky twice set the American and US Open record in the 500-yard freestyle event.

It was the 2012 London Olympics, however, that really put the swimmer on the map as Ledecky won gold in the 800m freestyle. After this remarkable achievement, she then went on to win four golds at the 2014 Worlds.

The Rio Olympics saw a return to form where Ledecky won a further four gold medals and finished as the second most-decorated athlete, with the first being Michael Phelps.

Olympic predictions

Ledecky possesses an unmatched ability to maintain her speed over long distances. Her perseverance and endurance are unparalleled.

As well as garnering great adoration from her fans and followers, Ledecky has also earned the respect and admiration of fellow athletes within the world of sport due to her intensive training regimes and work ethic.

Ultimately, Ledecky only needs one more gold to tie the all-time female swimming record - this will most likely be spurring her on.

With both her prowess and clear objective in sight, success will likely be on the horizon again.

A contender for the crown

Whilst Ledecky may be the favourite for all freestyle races up to 1500m, she certainly isn’t without competition.

One of the most anticipated rematches of the 2024 swimming will be between Ledecky and Tasmanian swimmer Ariarne Titmus.

The rivalry between the two world-class swimmers first gained attention during the World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, South Korea where Titmus won the 400m freestyle, which essentially ended Ledecky’s winning streak.

The healthy competition between the athletes resumed into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where Titmus once again triumphed over Ledecky in a thrilling race.

Races and new events

As is usual, swimming events for both individual and relay races will be across the four strokes; breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle.

There will also be a fifth race, the mixed medley, in which swimmers will switch between all four strokes.

Races vary from a show-stopping 50m sprint to a test of endurance with 1500m.

La Défense Arena, usually used for rugby union events, will be transformed for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

However, it’s the banks of the Seine that will be drawing in the crowds with the introduction of an open-water swimming event.

Whilst Ledecky herself is unlikely to compete, other world-class competitors will race for 10km along the Seine River, starting at the Beaux-Arts-style bridge and crossing Pont Alexandre III.

This exciting event will be the first point-to-point open water race since the games were first held in Paris in 1900 and is set to be one of the highlights of the games.

To Paris, we go!

Whether it’s a trip up the Eiffel Tower, a stroll along the Seine, a meander around the Louvre, or a delightful gastronomic experience, there's so much to do in the stunning capital when you’re not inside the arenas and stadiums.

Not only is Paris such a desirable place to visit, but it’s also incredibly accessible.

The public transport infrastructure is sound once there, but even the journey to the capital is relatively straightforward and affordable, especially if booked in advance.

UK fans can quite easily fly to Paris with Opodo, for example, as the travel agency offers budget flights from airlines including Vueling, easyJet and Flybe.

Moreover, given the proximity of the destination, they'd arrive in a little over 90 minutes.

With this in mind, the 2024 Paris games will likely be a return to form for the Olympics given the limited attendance permitted to attend the Tokyo Games due to the pandemic.

Paris 2024’s swimming events will take place between the 27th of July and the 4th of August.

The games will be the biggest event ever organised in France and with the promise of world-class stars such as Katie Ledecky, potential record-breakers and some good old-fashioned rivalry, the swimming, in particular, is already hotly anticipated.

All this action taking place against the backdrop of the world's most beautiful cities is surely set to make both the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics events to remember.


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