How old is Katie Ledecky? What star swimmer has said about retirement, 2028 Olympics

Stop if you’ve heard this before: Katie Ledecky is going to the Olympics.

The Olympic team trials are little more than a formality for the all-time great, who made the Olympics in every event for which she competed in both 2016 and 2021. She’s looking to extend that streak with another sweep of the team trials in 2024 to pack her schedule for the Paris Games.

Ledecky has been at this for a long time. She made headlines in 2012 when, as a 15-year-old, she won the 800-meter freestyle, a stunning development after she shocked Kate Ziegler in the U.S. Olympic team trials.

Because of that, it might seem odd to think that as she prepares to compete in her fourth Olympics, she’s potentially nearing the end of her illustrious career. Michael Phelps competed in just four Olympics. Competing in five is an incredibly rare accomplishment for swimmers.

Ledecky is guaranteed to be headed to the fourth Olympics of her career. But how old is she, and what has she said about retirement plans? Here’s what you need to know.

MORE: Revisiting Katie Ledecky’s 2012 Olympic gold medal

How old is Katie Ledecky?

Ledecky is 27 years old. She celebrated her birthday on March 17, meaning she will be 27 when the 2024 Olympics are held.

Peak performances tend to come at younger ages in swimming. Ledecky, who competes in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle in the Olympics, has not set personal bests in any of the events since May 16, 2018, when she posted a world-record time of 15:20.48 in the 1500. She set her personal bests at the other three at the 2016 Rio Games (1:53.73, 200; 3:56.46, 400; 8:04.79, 800).

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In 2021, Ledecky earned silver in the 400 behind Australian Ariarne Titmus, who was 19 years old. This year, Ledecky lost in the 800 free to 17-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh, who is expected to be Ledecky’s top competition in the event in Paris.

Titmus will be 23 and McIntosh will still be 17 at the 2024 Olympics, giving each an age advantage over the seven-time Olympic gold medalist.

MORE: Katie Ledecky’s swimming schedule, results from Olympic team trials

When will Katie Ledecky retire?

Don’t count out seeing more of Ledecky on the Olympic stage after 2024. Yes, competing in five Olympics is rare, but Ledecky is a one-of-one athlete.

The next Summer Games after the Paris edition will be held in Los Angeles in 2028, at which point Ledecky will be 31. But Ledecky has made it clear she has no intention of packing up her swim cap anytime soon.

“I take things year by year, but right now, I definitely could see myself competing in 2028, with it being a home Olympics,” Ledecky told NPR. “It’s something that’s very unique. It’s something that not every Olympic athlete gets. And so I definitely know I’m not retiring after this summer and 2028 is very appealing.”

Ledecky noted she wants to compete in at least one event in Los Angeles. She did add that there is the possibility plans change, but she said her focus “is solely on this summer in Paris at this moment.”

Should Ledecky continue in just one event, it would be up in the air as to which she would continue in the long term. She has arguably been her most dominant in the 1500, an event in which she has not lost in 14 years. She has been similarly dominant in the 800, though McIntosh beat Ledecky in the event in January, snapping her winning streak in the event that dated back to 2010.

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But as Ledecky herself has said, all the focus for now is on Paris. Any other time beyond that of Ledecky is a question for another day.

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