Katie Ledecky learns valuable lessons at Pan Pacific Championships

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Five-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky demands a lot of herself.

An example? The 21-year-old swimmer finished the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo with three titles, one second and one third-place finish.

Yet she wasn’t all smiles.

Take the 1500m freestyle, an event she has never lost. Ledecky crushed her rivals and easily won it by 21.11 seconds!

But her time of 15:38.97 was well off her world record (15:20.48).

“Yeah, the time wasn’t great,” Ledecky told media after the event in Tokyo had ended.

“But swimming the range of events that I swim, it’s hard to put together all great races.”

“There are a lot of great things that I can take away from this week, a lot of things that I have learned, so I’m excited to get back to training.”

Lessons learned

Many American swimmers posted slower times than at the nationals two weeks earlier. Jet lag was one  reason for it, according to U.S. officials, as the swimmers arrived in Tokyo only four days before competitions.

Ledecky, who also admitted that she had trouble adjusting, tried to focus on the positive aspects:

“It’s been successful, and I think that I have a lot of things that I have learned from this meet and a lot of areas for improvement and a lot of motivation, so I’m just going to hold on to those things and take them back in the training in the fall and start working towards my goals.”

Heavy workload

She has qualified for the world championships in South Korea next year in the 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m frees and figures she will also do the 4x200m free relay.

In 2017, she swam all those events – AND the 4x100m free.

“I don’t anticipate trying to drop any of them. I think it’s the challenge that I enjoy. It’s something that makes training challenging and exciting for me to compete in the shorter races and the longer races. So, I have no plans of dropping anything.”

“Plans can change, but I still have a lot in me, I swam faster earlier this year in all those events so it’s just about trying to get it right at the right time,” she added.

Experience is everything

Ledecky swept all five events at the world championships in 2015.

That might be tough to repeat, even though she seems like a swimming veteran after debuting as a 15-year-old at London 2012.

“I have done it at worlds where you have to do two 1500s, two 800s, three 200s and I think I’m very experienced in swimming those events and I will continue to get more experience,” the world record holder said.

“I think I kind of know how to manage my races and manage my energy and something I think I can still improve on. Doing that managing energy to be at my very best at the finals.”

And of course she is hoping for another visit to Japan for Tokyo 2020.

“A lot of people in Tokyo have been extremely welcoming and it is just a really great city and the crowd has been amazing cheering us all on. I’m excited for the opportunity to come back here in two years. I have to get through Olympic trials back in the States in two years first, so there are a lot of things between now and 2020. I’m just going to work towards those things and hope that I will be back here competing.”

 

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Author: Nicklas Vinde
Nicklas Vinde is an Olympic Channel news producer, reporter and VJ. A proud Dane in love with Spain. Came for the fútbol and stayed for the Olympics.