Ledecky Named AP Female Athlete of the Year

Bethesda swimmer won five golds and a silver at world championships this year


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Katie Ledecky

AGÊNCIA BRASIL FOTOGRAFIAS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Katie Ledecky keeps earning the accolades.

The Associated Press named the Bethesda swimmer as the female athlete of the year on Tuesday after a year in which she continued to dominate in international competitions.

Ledecky, 20, won five golds and a silver at the world championships in Budapest, a medal haul that followed her four golds and a silver at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She is the current world-record holder in the women’s 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyle.

The AP described Ledecky as “the world’s best swimmer in the post-Michael Phelps era.”

Ledecky finished second in the 2016 balloting for AP female athlete of the year to gymnast Simone Biles.

In receiving the honor this year, Ledecky became the eighth female swimmer to win—joining a list of names that includes Amy Van Dyken in 1996 and 1969 winner Debbie Meyer, who, like Ledecky, swept the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle races in a single Olympics, according to the AP.

The Stanford University sophomore told the wire service she’s training hard in advance of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I know the four years goes by very quickly,” Ledecky said to the AP, “and I want to do everything I can to prepare.”

While Ledecky was born in Washington, D.C., she grew up in Bethesda and graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.

She burst onto the international swimming stage at the 2012 London Olympics, when she won the 800-meter freestyle gold as a 15-year-old.

During her career, she has racked up 26 medals—24 golds and two silvers—in the Summer Olympics, world championships and Pan Pacific Championships.

In December 2016, Ledecky was honored at an event at the Silver Spring Civic Center for her Olympic achievements. She thanked the local crowd of about 300 people for their support.

“I can’t even describe the amount of support we all received in Rio and that’s what keeps us going every day in practice,” Ledecky said at the time.

Earlier this year, Ledecky was also named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sportswoman of the Year.

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