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

Still early in her career, Katie Ledecky has set the gold standard for female swimmers. 

The 24-year-old distance freestyle swimmer has been on the international stage for nearly a decade and has dominated, winning a record amount of Olympic and world championship gold medals among women in the sport. 

She’ll have a chance this year to add to her legacy when she competes in five more events this year. And this year, without Michael Phelps competing on the men’s side, she’ll be the American swimmer most in the spotlight at the games.

Sporting News is taking a look at Ledecky’s swimming timeline and how she became the most accomplished female swimmer of all time. 

How many Olympic medals has Katie Ledecky won?

While most kids her age were enjoying the summer break between sophomore and junior year of high school, Ledecky was off in London for her first-ever Olympics. The then-15-year-old Ledecky took first place in the 800 meter freestyle at the Olympic trials, coming in two seconds ahead of world champion swimmer Kate Ziegler, who earned the second spot on the team. Ziegler wouldn’t be the only swimmer stunned by the young phenom. At the London Olympic Games, Ledecky finished third in the 800 free heats before winning gold with a time of 8:23.84, which was the fastest in the field by 4.13 seconds and set a new American record in the event. 

In the time between London and Rio, Ledecky continued her domination. She set a world record in the 1500 freestyle at 15:36.53 in a gold-medal winning performance at the 2013 FINA World Aquatics Championships. That wasn’t the end of her trip to Barcelona, Spain. Ledecky added gold medals in the 400 free, 800 free and 4×200 free relay, with a world record set in the 800 at 8:13.86. She broke world records in the 800 and 1500 the next year a few times and took down the record in the 400 to establish herself as the sports’ premier distance freestyle swimmer. She added five more gold medals at the the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia, and five more at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. 

Needless to say, she was not considered a “sleeper pick” to win any events by the time Rio came around. And she didn’t disappoint. Ledecky set Olympic and world records en route to winning the 400 and 800 frees, along with adding gold medals in the 200 free, 4×200 free relay and a silver in the 4×100 free relay. 

She’s kept up the pressure on the world stage since then. She added five more medals — three gold, one silver, one bronze — at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, took home five gold medals and a silver at the 2017 world championships and added a gold and two silver medals in the 2019 world championships.

Her total international medal count as she enters Tokyo is 28 gold medals, five silver and one bronze. Her 20 Olympic and world championship gold medals are the most of any women’s swimmer of all time. 

Katie Ledecky’s records

Ledecky has taken down a number of records over the years. She’s at the point in her career now where the records she breaks are often her own. 

Between the world stage, the Olympics, national and collegiate, Ledecky has claimed a wide range of best times. 

Here is a look at the records Ledecky, to this date, that she still holds. 

World 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 (TYR Pro Swim Series)

Olympic Records

  • 400m freestyle (LC): 3:56.46 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 800m freestyle (LC): 8:04.79 (2016 Rio Games)

American Records

  • 400m freestyle (LC): 3:56.46 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 400m freestyle (SC): 3:54.06 (2019 International Swimming League)
  • 800m freestyle (LC): 8:04.79 (2016 Rio Games)
  • 1500m freestyle (LC): 15:20.48 (TYR Pro Swim Series)
  • 4x200m freestyle relay (LC): 7:41.87 (2019 World Championships; Simone Manuel, Melanie Margalis, Ledecky, Katie McLaughlin)
  • 500y (SC) freestyle: 4:24.06 (2017 NCAA Division I Championships)
  • 1000y (SC) freestyle: 8:59.65 (2015 Nation’s Capital Swim Club Invite)
  • 1650y (SC) freestyle: 15:03.31 (2017 Art Adamson Invitational)
  • 400y (SC) freestyle relay: 3:07.61 (2017 NCAA Division I Championships; Stanford: Manuel, Ledecky, Janet Hu, Lia Neal)

NCAA Records

  • 500y (SC) freestyle: 4:24.06 (2017 NCAA Division I Championships)
  • 1000y (SC) freestyle: 9:08.4 (2016 Ohio State Invitational)
  • 1650y (SC) freestyle: 15:03.31 (2017 Art Adamson Invitational)
  • 800y (SC) freestyle relay: 6:45.91 (2017 NCAA Division I Championships; Stanford: Manuel, Neal, Ella Eastin, Ledecky)

Where did Ledecky go to school? 

Ledecky might have been internationally renowned in high school, but that didn’t mean she missed college. She attended Stanford, starting at as a freshman in 2016 after she wrapped up her trip to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games. 

Unsurprisingly, the freshman swept through the college field. She was an NCAA champion in five events and broke a litany of collegiate and American records along the way. 

She only spent two seasons with the Cardinal, but it was a memorable two-year stint in Stanford as she became the American record-holder in the 500-yard, 1000-yard, 1650-yard, 800-meter and 1500-meter freestyle events, claimed six Stanford school records, won eight events at the national championships, was nine times an All-American. She claimed 11 American, 15 NCAA and six NCAA meet records during her two years at Stanford. 

When is Katie Ledecky swimming? 

Competing in five different events, Ledecky will be on the television often for fans hoping to catch a glimpse of her latest run at history. She will be competing in the heats for each event, which will start at 6 a.m. on their scheduled mornings. The live broadcast will be carried by the USA Network, while NBC will air replays later in the afternoon. When she swims in the finals each day, NBC will broadcast the races, starting at 9:30 p.m. each night. Only the 200 freestyle, among Ledecky’s events, will have a semifinal race, which will be held during the evenings along with the finals for other events. 

Those interested in streaming her races can log onto NBC platforms NBCOlympics.com, NBCSports.com or Peacock, or watch them on fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial

Here is the full schedule for when Ledecky will be swimming. 

Sunday, July 25

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 400 Freestyle Heats 7:39 a.m. USA
Women’s 400 Freestyle Finals 10:20 p.m. NBC

Monday, July 26

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 200 Freestyle Heats 6:02 a.m. USA
Women’s 1500 Freestyle Heats 7:32 a.m. USA
Women’s 200 Freestyle Semifinals 9:30 p.m. NBC

Tuesday, July 27

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 200 Freestyle Finals 9:41 p.m. NBC
Women’s 1500 Freestyle Finals 10:54 p.m. NBC

Wednesday, July 28

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Heats 7:34 a.m. USA
Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Finals 11:31 p.m. NBC

Thursday, July 29

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 800 Freestyle Heats 6:02 a.m. USA

Friday, July 30

Event Time (ET) Channel
Women’s 800 Freestyle Finals 9:46 p.m. NBC


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