Adlington: ‘Ledecky’s 200-1500 Olympic Epic Will be A Thriller But what Happens Next?’

Rebecca Adlington [courtesy: British Swimming]

Former double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has welcomed the addition of the 1500m free to the women’s Olympic programme in Tokyo in 2020, excited to see whether Katie Ledecky can claim the freestyle sweep from 200m upwards but questioning what will happen once the American walks away from the pool.

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I think there is a strong liklihood that at least the W800 & 1500 may fall into a comparative “lull” for at least a cycle or two post Ledecky given her sheer dominance and massive gap in times over the rest.

As for the form-stroke 50s, they were never realistically going to “get up” in these days of trying to cap competitor numbers/halt Olympic gigantism. The extra distance events will essentially call on those already qualified in other events, ditto mixed relay …. the 50’s will, end of story


While both Phelps and Ledecky are both Americans, I’ll always feel that the better Ledecky equivalent on the men’s side is Ian Thorpe- the unbeatable distance ace able to throw down a really nice 100 at times.

For me, the Phelps equivalent on the women’s side is Hozzou- brilliant in both a specialty stroke and the IMs.

As for female distance swimmers, while 8:04 is going to stand for a long time, I do think there’s going to be a junior generation going in the 8:10-8:15 range soon because she’s shown what’s possible.


Mouse, I suspect it will play out somewhat akin to the post Janet Evans era with these events especially the longer trips. Whilst her 400 marks may stay for a while, there are at least a crew scaring the life out of 4.00 and a few of them are going to break through it within the the next year or so.


There may be a threat from the Chinese girl Li Bingjie who at 15 has made big jumps this season. Whether she can continue to do so only time will tell.

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