Katie Ledecky’s Olympics timeline: Medals, records and more to know about U.S. star swimmer

It wasn’t that long ago that Katie Ledecky was the up-and-coming star.

The Olympics coming up only every four years means time feels like it moves quickly. Three Olympiads ago, Ledecky was the breakout star in the 2012 London Games. She was then the biggest star in the 2016 Rio Games.

But in 2021, Ledecky was the chased, and Ariarne Titmus ran her down for wins in the 200m and 400m free races. Ledecky maintained her dominance in the 800m free and won the inaugural 1500m race, though. 

The chase will continue in 2024, and it might be even more difficult. Titmus and Canadian phenom Summer McIntosh will provide steep challenges in the 200m, 400m, and 800m, though Ledecky should remain a favorite in the 1500m.

The 2024 Olympics will be another chance for Ledecky to add to her legacy. She already has more world and Olympic medals combined than any female swimmer in history.

Sporting News is taking a look at Ledecky’s swimming timeline and where she stands in Olympic history.

How many Olympic medals has Katie Ledecky won?

Ledecky has seven Olympic gold medals and 10 total. That puts her two gold medals away from surpassing Jenny Thompson for the most Olympic gold medalists by a female swimmer and three total medals away from passing Thompson and Dara Torres for most overall medals by a female swimmer.

It was at an early age that Ledecky emerged on the international swimming scene. She beat world champion Kate Ziegler in the 800m freestyle at the 2012 Olympic trials, setting herself up to win gold at the London Games. She was the fastest in the field by 4.13 seconds with her time of 8:23.84, setting an American record in the event.

Ledecky furthered established her dominance on the international stage by setting a world record in the 1500m freestyle in the 2013 FINA World Aquatics Championships, and she added gold medals in the 400m, 800m, and 4×200 free relays. She continued setting world records and racking up gold medals on the international stage leading up to her appearance in the 2016 Rio Games.

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In Rio, Ledecky turned in a stellar performance, earning four gold medals in the 200m, 400m, 800m, and the 4×200 free relay. Her times in the 400m and 800m frees both set world records, though the 400m record has since been taken down.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics provided Ledecky with her biggest challenge to date. Ledecky did not place top three in the 200m freestyle, and she lost the 400m freestyle race to Titmus, finishing with a silver medal. However, she did beat her Australian counterpart in a narrow race in the 800m and then survived a late push by American teammate Erica Sullivan and Germany’s Sarah Kohler to win the inaugural 1500m freestyle by just over four seconds.

The competition will only be more fierce for Ledecky in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Titmus will be back to compete with Ledecky again, and McIntosh took Ledecky down in the 800m of the Southern Zone South Sectional Championships in February, handing Ledecky her first defeat in the event since 2010.

Katie Ledecky’s records

Throughout her swimming career, Ledecky has been a record-setting machine. She has broken world records 14 times, several of which involved breaking her own record.

There have been a number of other swimmers who have worked to take down her marks, but several remain to this day.

Here’s a look at Ledecky’s current records:

World records

  • 800m freestyle (LC): 8:04.97 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 1500m freestyle (LC): 15:20.48 (2018 TYR Pro Swim Series)

Olympic records

  • 800m freestyle (LC): 8:04.97 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 1500m freestyle (LC): 15:37.34 (2021 Tokyo Games)*
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American records

  • 400m freestyle (LC): 3:56.46 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 800m freestyle (LC): 8:04.79 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 1500m freestyle (LC): 15:20.48 (2018 TYR Pro Swim Series)
  • 800m freestyle relay (LC): 7:40.73 — Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden, Katie McLaughlin, Katie Ledecky (2021 Tokyo Games)
  • 400m freestyle (SC): 3:52.88 (2022 World Cup)
  • 800m freestyle (SC): 8:00.58 (2022 World Cup)
  • 1500m freestyle (SC): 15:08.24 (2022 World Cup)
  • 500 freestyle (SCY): 4:26.06 (2017 NCAA Championships)
  • 1000 freestyle (SCY): 8:59.65 (2015 NCAP Invite)
  • 1650 freestyle (SCY): 15:01.41 (2023 Florida Swimming Spring Senior Champs)
  • 800 freestyle relay (SCY): 6:45.91 — Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, Ella Eastin, Katie Ledecky (2017 NCAA Championships)

NCAA records

  • 500 freestyle (SCY): 4:24.06 (2017 NCAA Championships)
  • 1000 freestyle (SCY): 9:06.90 (2017 NCAA Championships)
  • 1650 freestyle (SCY): 15:03.31 (2017 Art Adamson Invite)
  • 800 freestyle relay (SCY): 6:45.91 — Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, Ella Eastin, Katie Ledecky (2017 NCAA Championships)

LC – Long-course meters
SC – Short-course meters
SCY – Short-course yards

Where did Katie Ledecky go to school?

Ledecky went to school at Stanford for two years before leaving after her sophomore year to become a professional swimmer. She was a collegiate athlete in 2016-17 as a freshman and 2017-18 as a sophomore.

Unsurprisingly, few could match up against her at the college level. She won five NCAA events in the 200y free, 500y free, 1650y free, and 400y free relay as a freshman, then won another three as a sophomore with wins in the 500y free, 1650y free, and 800y free relay.

By the time she left college, she held collegiate records in the 500y, 1000y, 1650y, 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle races. She broke American records 11 times, NCAA records 15 times, and NCAA meet records six times.

When is Katie Ledecky swimming?

Ledecky will be swimming in four different events in the 2024 USA Olympic swimming team trials. Here’s a look at when she’ll be swimming in each, and how to watch her when she does compete in the events. Specific times have not been listed for her races.

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Saturday, June 15

Event Time (ET) Channel
Heats: Women’s 400m free 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Peacock
Final: Women’s 400m free 8-9 p.m. NBC, Peacock, Fubo

Sunday, June 16

Event Time (ET) Channel
Heats: Women’s 200m free 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Peacock
Semi: Women’s 200m free 8-10 p.m. NBC, Peacock, Fubo

Monday, June 17

Event Time (ET) Channel
Final: Women’s 200m free 8-9:15 p.m. NBC, Peacock, Fubo

Tuesday, June 18

Event Time (ET) Channel
Heats: Women’s 1500m free 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Peacock

Wednesday, June 19

Event Time (ET) Channel
Final: Women’s 1500m free 8-10 p.m. NBC, Peacock, Fubo

Friday, June 21

Event Time (ET) Channel
Heats: Women’s 800m free 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Peacock

Saturday, June 22

Event Time (ET) Channel
Final: Women’s 800m free 8-9 p.m. NBC, Peacock, Fubo

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