LedeckyFranklin 564886605ME00181_Swimming_1
Getty Images

At New York's world-renowed 21 Club last month, the new owner of the NHL's New York Islanders couldn't say enough about his niece.

"A delightful young lady" was how Newsday quoted Jon Ledecky as describing Katie Ledecky, who will swim for Team USA in the Summer Olympics.

"She was around great athletes from the beginning of her life, and it seems to have rubbed off. She’s quite the swimmer," he said, surrounded by journalists who report on his hockey team.

It's a statement nobody would contest — Katie Ledecky is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 800-meter freestyle. She is also the defending world champion in the 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle, 1,500-meter freestyle and the 4x200 freestyle.

In Rio, Katie Ledecky will compete in the 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle and the 4x200 freestyle.

"I'm always motivated by competing against the best and going to the Olympics — I will be swimming against the very best in the world," the Maryland native told Bethesda Magazine in July.

"I expect good competition and tough races and that’s what I train for every day, to be in those races and be able to get my hand to the wall first. We’re all shooting for gold," she added.

Ledecky’s toughest competition in Rio could come from Team USA teammate Missy Franklin.

Franklin, who won five medals in London — four golds and a bronze — will swim against Ledecky in the 200-meter freestyle. The duo also makes up half the 4x200 freestyle relay team.

It's not lost on Franklin that her friend and teammate is also her measuring stick. And she looks at Rio as an opportunity to see how she stacks up against Ledecky.

"To have that kind of competitor and that kind of influence in my life, as a person and an athlete?" Franklin, who left Cal after two years told Sports Illustrated about Ledecky, who will enroll at Stanford after the Olympics. "I'm truly so, so grateful for that. I know Katie's going to make me better, so why would I ever want to push that away? Getting to race against her is incredible. It's such a challenge every single time, and a challenge that I warmly welcome. I'm going to go after it. She's going to put up a fight every single time, and I'm going to put up a fight with her."

"I'm going to have a different place on this team and it's going to be a different Olympics for me," she added.

Contact Us