In Pursuit Of The Quad: Katie Ledecky’s Historic Quest Set To Unfold in Kazan

Katie Ledecky shows her feelings after her world-record form [Photo: Peter Bick]

American Katie Ledecky will be in search of four individual freestyle titles when the World Championships are held in Kazan.

All SwimVortex articles are placed in our archive after five days, the library of content available to subscribers.
Log In Register

American Katie Ledecky will be in search of four individual freestyle titles when the World Championships are held in Kazan.

Comments

o surename?

Remember Tim Shaw Cali 1975 ?
200, 400, 1500

aswimfan

Ledecky’s confident words give hints that she’s in the best shape of her life, and that’s saying a lot. Even without Sjostrom, the 200 free will still be extremely exciting.

John Lohn

Certainly remember Shaw. Just unfortunate he didn’t have the 800 on the program. Nature of the sport evolving to wider program.

Yozhik

Very nice, John. And very good timing for this article to make the anticipation that is already very high even higher. It would be indeed another step to the legend should she win 4 individual medals. But I personally don’t care much about podium. What Katie gave many people is the fairytale believe in limitless of human abilities. Does any historian remember such craziness in predictions of particular swimmer’s results? It was a tsunami of them. 800m under 8 minutes, world record in 200m, championships in all freestyle disciplines etc. I want this locomotive to continue to move. Doesn’t matter how far. I still cannot forgive Sjostrom for not competing at 200. Such a target, maybe unreachable is what Katie needs.

John Lohn

Thank you, Yozhik. I also believe that she may be on the USA 400 free relay by Rio, if not sooner.

aswimfan

Yozhik,
Read up on “Shane Gould” to learn more about “limitless human ability”, “championships in all freestyle events” 🙂

John Lohn

Yes, we’ve done several pieces on Shane Gould, including some discussing her range with that of Katie Ledecky.

Yozhik

Sure I will, Aswimfan and thank you for the direction. What puzzles me about Shane is her so short life in competitive sport. What was that? Personal circumstances or the feeling that whatever can be achieved has been already reached or just a fear to lose or Adlington’s like retirement.

beachmouse

IMO, it’s far easier to recover from hard effort when you have the resiliency of a teenager than it is as you get older and creakier. If Ledecky is going to do the Quad, this is probably her best shot at it.

As for the 4×100 free relay, with no 1500 on the Olympic program, there’s no reason not to try a bit of sprinting. I’m not sure if she could develop the raw speed for an evening swim, but 5th or 6th at Trials and a prelims spot in Rio seems a reasonable effort given the current American talent pool.

Yozhik

Aswimfan, Shane Gould’s championships were achievements in competition. It says either of her superiority or about field weakness. She also was a record holder on wider range of swimming disciplines. But those records were short lived and we don’t know what could happen to them should she compete longer. Not knowing much about swimming in early 70x I am nevertheless taking a liberty to assume that Ledecky’s case is something different and comparing of achievements and influence of these two swimmers just doesn’t have common ground.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

If the field were weak during Gould’s time, then how come/why is it that she was the only female swimmer who dominated across wide range of events?

Using your logic, we should also say that the field were weak during 2007-2008 because Phelps was able to win so many events and broke many WRs.

Craig Lord

Yozkik: Shane Gould’s records were short-lived at the start of the GDR era (look at the size of drops from 1973 to 1976 and on… off the chart relative to what had been). There is common ground between two of the greatest freestylers ever but of course their stories are different – they always are, part of what makes sport special.

Yozhik

Aswimfan, there was no statement in my post. There were questions to the person who made reference to the 40 years old events.
Thank you Craig for the explanation.

gheko

Shane was up against the best Americans Shirley Babashoff, Keena Rothammer, Sandy Neilsen, and Kornelia Ender of East Germany, hardly a walk in the park!

easyspeed

I say Ledecky will be victorious in her quad attempt. Let’s go Katie!! USA #1!! 🙂

Yozhik

Gheko and aswimfan, in my original post I wondered if anybody remember similar excitement about possible achievements of particular swimmer. I got an answer. Thanks. That is the following: should communication abilities been developed as they are now then Gould’s records would make the excitement wave of high magnitude among wide public. The question who is greater was brought by Aswimfan. Was brought for no reason. I never dispute what color of rainbow is brighter: red, blue, green or others. They all are beautiful. The attempt to compare them by degree of greatness is GROUNDLESS, in my opinion.

Craig Lord

No, indeed not, gheko: she remains one of the outstanding swimmers all-time, no question.

Richard Ortiz

With all of the talk about how good Shane Gould COULD have become, all you have to do is take a look at Shirley Babashoff from 1972-1976 and see how far her times dropped. If Shirley went from a 59 to a 56 for the 100, 2:04 to 2:00 for the 200, 4:22 to 4:10 for the 400 and finally 9:02 to 8:37 for the 800, then it is safe to estimate Shane would have had substantial drops as well. Their ages were similar and their body size was similar as well. The major difference was Shane already having three solo Olympic gold medals to her credit while Shirley had two solo silvers. Perhaps Shane felt she had accomplished what she wanted and there was no more to gain and wanted to move on. Shirley, on the other hand, wanted that individual gold medal and was ready to swim through a brick wall to get it. Unfortunately, on the other side of that wall was the DDR. Without the DDR swimmers pushing Shirley to greater and faster times, would she have had such substantial time drops from 1972-1976? Who knows. But with the DDR swimmers getting faster and faster and faster, Shirley HAD to push herself beyond what she MAY have thought possible. In the end, Shirley is still regarded as one of the greatest female swimmers in the sport’s history even without that one solo gold medal in her pocket. How great Shane Gould could have become is a moot point. Her Munich accomplishments as well as numerous world records is already set in stone.

gheko

Different eras, for example the 1500m free was a newish event for women back then, Shane was a sprinter who could also set WRs in longer races, Forbes Carlile did a fantastic job with her, Its very rare to be able to hold the 100m free through to 1500m free WRs at the same time. Katie is a great swimmer no doubt about that! and as Yozhic pointed out we should celebrate all swimmers achievements in their own right without comparing!

gheko

In 1968 The men’s 1500m freestyle was won in 16.38.9, In 1974 Jenny Turrall of Australia aged 14 swam a 16.33!

KeithM

Of course the Mx City games were swam at very high altitude. It affected the distance events the most. Burton was 30 seconds off his time from the US trials. Nonetheless it was an impressive swim by Turrall. An important figure in the annals of women’s distance. A shame her fleeting career was cut short by injuries.

Yozhik

My quick search returned almost nothing that contains analysis of Shane Gould phenomenon. Five world records at age 15! Ye Shiwen can see in her dreams only such a feat 🙂 Unfortunately it is hard to say with confidence now if it was the beginning of unprecedented swimming career or she went through a very unique puberty transition. Unbalanced dynamic period in development of human body, when the defense mechanisms that protect internal systems from overloading and extreme functionality are either not developed yet or are temporary suppressed by special hormones to allow quick changes. When the body is fully developed a similar bio-chemical effect can be achieved later by PEDs only.

Yozhik

Aswimfan, thank you for sending me to nowhere. I hope that by ending your post with “smiling face” you didn’t attempt to make a fun of me. Next time when your recommend some reading then please, provide an explicit reference. If you meant just a wiki article that listed Shane’s golds then it is too little to make conclusion about her greatness. The deeper my search about her goes the more confusing I am getting.

Yozhik

Craig, 5 times Gould’s records were broken by Americans. Not sure what GDR era means in your interpretation. Is it how the doping situation was in general in 70x or you just meant GDR’s records.
Also I am wondering why GDR only was that “smart” and none of other country from Eastern Block did the same. Is it because GDR only could smuggle high-tech technology form the West and it was expensive to share? Usual route of smuggling banned products and technologies was USA-South Africa- GDR – Soviet Union.

Yozhik

Who is stronger Whale or Elephant and who will win the fight Lion or Tiger? This kindergarten dispute never ends. By getting older we are not getting smarter by trying to compare swimmers of different generations. You don’t want to put all your greatest in one hypothetical race to figure out once and for all, because it will look pathetic. 4:19 may was outstanding when the rest of the field swam around 4:30 but you don’t want to embarrass Shane by making her swimming alone with Katie. The explanation that we should not match races that stand 40 years apart doesn’t work for me, because Janet Evans still can be awarded medal at competitions of highest level.
So whenever one is talking about greatness I assume that we are talking how swimmer was great at his/her time. Then the question if Shane was great at her time is not that obvious to me. I didn’t find with my (not extensive actually) research compelling arguments to support this statement. Her greatest feat – simultaneous records in 5 freestyle discipline may look unbelievable today. Today when record holder at 50m has little chances at 100m and 100m champion has no chances even at 200. But was it that difficult 40 years ago. I didn’t find statistics that confirms that it was. So Aswimfan I am not sure that Shane Gould is example of the person who pushed limits beyond believable (unless you were joking). Her Olympic medals could not be taken away from her and by this measure she is great as any other Olympic champions.

Craig Lord

I think you’re wrong on that last score Yozhik: greatness is also about impact. Shane Gould’s impact was enormous, a shooting star in the southern sky and its effect burns brightly to this day. First inside 4:20, extraordinary swim in its time; 2:03, extraordinary in its time; world record 200IM, 3 golds and close to gold in 2 other races, at 15. No-one came close to that since. There is no question whatsoever that Shane Gould is one of the greats of swimming. I don’t think I would find a serious swim expert who would say anything other, no offence intended. Greatness is also about longevity, not just in the pool but what you do with what you know later on in life. I urge you to buy Tumble Turns and read cover to cover (as a starting point). best, Craig

Craig Lord

You need to read more, Yozhik. Oral-Turinabol was made at Jena in Thuringia and distributed to places such as Kreischa, the then IOC-approved lab in Saxony, and from there administered to legions of teenagers in a carefully orchestrated and documented systematic program of doping. It was most effective, by far, among young women: change the nature from a 14 year old girl to being on the way to a 16-17 year old boy and you have a fairly striking effect. The route map was contained inside the Wall – not imported, regardless of what was learned from research elsewhere, including measuring a fair few leading European swimmers in the sixties in the interests of ‘science and progress’ condoned by foreign federations who ought to have been more careful. Jenapharm, after the B. Wall fell, went on to be awarded the Golden Pill award for its services to women (contraception), irony of ironies from the book of the company that made the little blue pills.

Craig Lord

Yozhik…. it was not just about the gold medals… it was about the impact from arrival on the international scene early in 1971, a world record holder matching and swimming past the greats that went before her, Dawn Fraser, Debbie Meyer etc… think thread and do allow for the GDR era and the USA chasing that down and you get a better idea of why Shane Gould was great. It was also about style, approach, technique, a 2-beat kick, bilateral breathing – no goggles…

Yozhik

Craig, I feel guilty for taking so much of your time to satisfy my curiosity. I was really interested to figure out if the Shane Gould’s case is really something spectacular or as any legend with time passing got more stories than real facts. My point was that since it is humanly impossible to repeat her feat with world records nowadays then the racing conditions at her time should be completely different from what we have now. So a different approach has to be used for evaluation of her achievements. Your information was very helpful. Thank you again.

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!
×