Can Katie Ledecky rediscover her old form ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer?

Katie Ledecky

With five Olympic gold medals and 15 World Championship golds to match, it was quite some decade for Katie Ledecky.

Having established herself as not only a legendary swimmer but an era-defining athlete in general, her success since the London 2012 Games has been unrivalled.

At times the 24-year-old has seemed simply unbeatable. A world record holder in three separate events, Ledecky has broken a total of 14 world records during her illustrious career.

But, despite this unsurpassable glory, 2020 proved to be an unprecedented year. Having won three events at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Des Moines, Iowa –– the rest of the calendar year was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ledecky

With a year to contemplate and reflect without competition, has this given an opportunity for others to catch Ledecky or for new youngsters to emerge?

As Ledecky’s coach Greg Meehan told the Washington Post: “The lack of competition isn’t ideal from a racing perspective.”

Yet, for Ledecky, this break has only fueled her desire even more. “For someone like Katie, I don’t think it hurts her as much,” Meehan said.

“It’s allowed her to get in some really good training blocks, and we’ve been able to talk about some things that a year ago, we just didn’t have time to discuss.”

Indeed, while some swimmers’ determination diminished, Ledecky persisted, practised and perfected her craft even more.

This was evident three weeks ago as she swept four titles at the Pro Swim Series in San Antonio,her first national competition in over 12 months.

In two weeks, she’ll compete for more silverware at the next stop in the series at the Marguerite Aquatics Center in Mission Viejo, California.

Ledecky will challenge for the 200-metre freestyle, the 400-metre freestyle and the 1500 metre freestyle as normal. Interestingly, however, the US icon will also swim the 100-metre freestyle.

While not as dominant as her other events, perhaps there are plans for Ledecky to swim the 100 metres at Tokyo this summer. Considering her dominance across the board elsewhere, at least she’d have a challenge.

From the evidence so far, it’s increasingly clear that Ledecky is still the person to beat. Though some feared the lay-off could hinder the star’s progress, don’t be surprised if it makes her even stronger.

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