Katie Ledecky Defers Stanford Until Rio 2016 Olympic Games Are Done; World Cup Goes L/C

Katie Ledecky leading the US gold hunt (Photo: Peter Bick)

News Round-Up: Olympic 800m freestyle champion Katie Ledecky, of Bethesda, Maryland, is to defer her enrollment at Stanford University for one year, until the autumn of 2016 beyond the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; World Cup Goes Long-Course For 2016; Denmark bids for 2017 Euro s/c titles four years on from Herning gathering

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News Round-Up: Olympic 800m freestyle champion Katie Ledecky, of Bethesda, Maryland, is to defer her enrollment at Stanford University for one year, until the autumn of 2016 beyond the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; World Cup Goes Long-Course For 2016; Denmark bids for 2017 Euro s/c titles four years on from Herning gathering

Comments

pol

Good decision Katie. Now after Rio, just forget about competing in College!

aswimfan

This is expected.

She is a very smart girl.

She should have gone “pro” (like only in the USA swimmers are divided into “amateur” and “pro”), and pay for her Stanford education using her own money from prize money and sponsorships and not be bound by constant SCY swimming.

MP

Great news about World Cup LC. About time too…

Wesley

I love the concept of LC World Cups.

It will be more strategic, and i feel that there will be more world class swims jammed into a calendar year.

Rafael

Agreed with aswimfan.

How much $$$ could she have by now if she become pro after London?

And she controls her race so easily she could make a living just breaking WRs by the minimium amount each time..

for33

Interesting and very welcome the switch to long course for the world cup. Now we only hope that the US university races will also switch from 20 yards pools to long course.

Danjohnrob

@for33: It would be wonderful if the NCAA swiched to LC, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you! 😉

Rafael

for33 if they changed to SCM pools would be good already, and on the 400/800/1500 races..

Rafael

@Danjohnrob, it would be good for US swimming (Longer Race)

Can´t recall any recent Olympic medalist on long distance who came from NCAA.

Craig, PVK and Jensen were NCAA products or they made like Ledecky and focused on LCM since the beginning?

Too Much turns and too little swim hurts a lot Long distance swimming.

Probably Jeager Mcbroom could have gotten much faster if they focused on LCM. Swimmers like Horton and Paltrinieri are much faster (even being younger) and one of the possible causes is probably because they focused on LCM.

beachmouse

Money isn’t a concern for Ledecky’s family. (Her uncle bought majority stake in a NHL ice hockey team last year.) So she’s a good amount of freedom to just swim and not worry about having to make that her paycheck too soon.

I also think she’s a little less commercial than Missy Franklin, whose bubbly nature will make it easy to have her making believable commercial endorsements in the mass market in the lead up to Rio. When Missy says a product is “The best sports drink ever!” her enthusiasm will make you want to believe her.

felixtzu

She should certainly go pro. I understand the comment about being less commercial than others, but she’s so good prize money and suit deal alone would more than pay for an education.

easyspeed

Thank goodness she is deferring. Swim fans all around the world breathe a sigh of relief!

easyspeed

Felix, Pol, A Swim Fan, et al are exactly correct; a swimmer of Katie’s level should not be in the NCAA.

Unfortunately she is being stubborn and going anyway after Rio, looks like. It makes no sense at all. I blame the swimming culture for over-idealizing the “college swimming experience.”

Reminder: going pro and getting an education are not mutually exclusive; one can do both.

One of my favorite points to make: if NCAA allowed pros to compete, this would all be moot and athletes wouldn’t be faced with such difficult decisions.

beachmouse

NCAA will stay SCY for one simple reason- money. A lot of second tier programs have a typical 25Y x 25M set-up with the 25M side not conductive to starting blocks.

And its those programs that are in most danger for elimination because an athletic program needs an extra million dollars to pay a men’s basketball coach for a 11 win-14 loss season. To go to LCM would give many an athletic department head an easy excuse to get rid of the cost of a swimming program because ‘we don’t have the facility to be competitive’.

easyspeed

I’m a fan of Katie and Missy but have to give some tough love here. Both of these young ladies need to be ready to answer tough questions from the media re: this matter as the Olympics approach. For example, “Given that millions of people in the country looking for work can’t find it, what would you say to those people re: your decision to turn down millions of dollars in endorsements and prize money?” Better have a good reply to this for PR sake…

beachmouse

The Americans feel a bit burned by a number of woman who went pro as teens in the 00s and never really lived up to expectations. Katie Hoff is still looking for her first Olympic gold medal despite being brilliant from 05-07. Kate Ziegler has publicly said that going pro was a bad decision for her and if she had it all to do again, she’d go the college route.

Dagny Knutson is probably the biggest unrealized potential- pushed to go pro by some folks in the elite athlete office at USAS, then adrift when she did and relocated to California for a club that fell apart shortly after. No real help from anyone about her eating disorder when a tighter team environment might have offered resources to get her healthier. Such an amazing talent and only a single WC relay gold out of it all when she should be fighting for a ticket to Rio right now.

I’m sure Franklin talked to some of those women before deciding on two years at Cal.

Jay

“That’s the most moronic question I’ve ever been asked.” How’s that for a PR answer, easyspeed?

Luigi

Easyspeed, I guess I would go for “That money would have not gone to the unemployed anyway”, or even better “wouldn’t it be even more immoral to take all that money just for being good at swimming up and down a pool?” But the best answer is Jay’s.

easyspeed

@Jay and Luigi: I am being serious. Some non athletes and non swimmers might see it as pretty bratty to turn down tons of money just to get an NCAA trophy. Especially a person who is struggling financially. And if you don’t want a big check from Speedo you can always donate it to charity.

easyspeed

@Beachmouse: thank you for the serious response. Good point re: Hoff and Knutson, but with all due respect to those ladies, they are not at the level of Franklin and Ledecky.

Rafael

@beachmouse.. there are a great deal of swimmers who usually have to train most of the year on 25m pools, but they mostly compete on 50m… the colleges could still continue to swim on 25 y or 25m pools.. but the NCAA itself would happen on a 50m pool..

pol

Give me one example in the recent years that won an Olympic/World gold medal while still competing in the NCAA. Silver/bronze doesn’t count.

ZERO.

Danjohnrob

@Rafael: Even if they would just follow your suggestion in Olympic years it would be an improvement! I would imagine the athletes would like it too, because they all want to qualify for the Olympic Trials too.

Rafael

@pol

Cielo competed on 2008 NCAA and became Olympic champion.

But we probably will only find example of sprinters..

Yard is not the best thing but won´t hurt sprinters.. but it is very bad on forming Long Distance swimmers..

SCY is VERY VERY different from LCM.. and the longer the race.. the bigger the difference

While many NCAA 500/1000/1650 swimmers have great underwaters.. you rarely see underwater being used so often on 400/800/1500

beachmouse

Hoff from 2005-07 was scarily good and had huge expectations for multiple golds in 2008. And Ziegler knocked off a Janet Evans record in the 1500M and seemed to have a real chance to run the table in the 800M in 2008 as well.

Jay

@easyspeed: https://youtu.be/0MRmxfLuNto

Danjohnrob

LOL! Best answer to a question EVER!

Viva la Bang

In fact Hoff and Zeigler were supposed to be the next golden girls leading into 2008, neither won gold, although Hoff won a bag full of silver and bronze!

Viva la Bang

Heading into the 2008 Olympics, Hoff was considered a strong contender. Hoff held the American record in the 200-meter individual medley at 2:09.71 and set the world record in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:31.12 set at the 2008 U.S. swim trials. (This time was subsequently bettered by Stephanie Rice in the Olympic finals with a time of 4:29.45).

Hoff’s performances in Beijing produced a decidedly mixed record. NBC commentator and former-Olympian Rowdy Gaines described her results as disappointing (this included finishing second to Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington in the 400-meter freestyle), yet noted that her three medals at one Olympics is a significant achievement and cited the depth of the field in each of her events. Prior to the Olympic Games, Hoff was saddled by the media with the label “the female Michael Phelps” due to the challenging slate of races in which she was competing. Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach, thought the comparison was unfair.

Hoff set the American record in the 200-meter freestyle, yet finished fourth in the event; 70 minutes later in the finals of the 200-meter individual medley Hoff again finished fourth, well behind her time at the U.S. swim trials. These results led to questions as to whether Hoff’s program in Beijing was too aggressive. It was also suggested that Hoff’s narrow miss of a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle created a confidence issue that affected her later races.[4] Following her consecutive fourth-place finishes, Hoff’s coach, Paul Yetter, held that she was having a good meet and denied she had peaked too early. Yetter also predicted that Hoff could have an “awesome” 800-meter freestyle race to conclude her second Olympic games.[5] However, Hoff dramatically faded over the second half of her preliminary race, finishing in 8:27.78, 8.08 seconds off her personal best time, and failed to advance.

easyspeed

@ Beachmouse and Viva la Bang: You are both making the same good point. However, the comparison is not quite the same. Hoff was billed as the next Phelps; I remember it well. She didn’t deliver. Or didn’t live up to the hype. Same with Ziegler. Yes, there is some risk turning pro. But there is also a risk not turning pro. You run the risk of a career ending injury. Also, many females peak when they are young and don’t perform as well when their bodies change. Not all, but some. I think Ledecky and (young) Phelps are (were) on a different level tho. Baring injury Ledecky is a lock for at least two individual golds. As far as Franklin, she could have and should have cashed in after London. I disagree with her decision not to. And I think from a swimming standpoint, she put herself at a disadvantage. She is very talented and might have a good Olympics in ’16, but agree with Pol and others that wasn’t the best move career wise- from a training standpoint and a financial standpoint; however, I am very glad to see Franklin getting paid finally; better late than never.

aswimfan

Viva la Bang,

I watched all Beijing races live.

It was not the loss of the 400 free that sparked the loss of Hoff’s confidence. It was the 400 IM.

the 400 IM was the first of Hoff’s program, and on the first day. The 400 free was on the second/third day.

Also, she was the WR holder and a strong favorite for the 400 IM, while in 400 free the heavy favorite was Pellegrini.

And did you not see her facial reaction after finishing 400 IM, knowing she was soundly beaten by both Rice and Coventry?
A complete shock.

400 free only made the matter worse when she was finishing her race in the way of an age grouper and that sealed the deal.

easyspeed

Yeah, Hoff not doing well very sad to see. Unfortunately she had trouble even early on: remember, she had that anxiety attack on deck at her first Olympics. Hoff and Zeigler were good swimmers but couldn’t get it done on the big stage. Bad, but that is just the way it is sometimes. The best examples I can think of in recent times of consistent performers doing it right at the right time are Phelps and Piersol. The reason why those two were so good was their mental toughness. Some with any great athlete, Jordan in basketball, etc.

AvantSwim

Some swimmers turn pro and succeed, while other fail expectations. Some swimmers remain amateur and succeed, while others fail to develop.

To suggest there is a single “right” way for all swimmers seems a little ridiculous. For many, decisions are, thankfully, not always about the money.

I am surprised that a number of the commenters feel as if they have “the answer” for the each and every swimmer. Beyond ignoring or simplifiying the multitude of variables that contribute to a swimmer’s relative success, or failure (as if one’s decision to attend college or go pro is the only point of reference), this reductionist view seems to rob a swimmer, like Ledecky, of the agency, forethought and self-awareness that has made her such a champion in the first place.

I am happy that Ledecky is deferring Stanford: I think it is a wise move to maintain a consistent training and home environment. But I certainly wouldn’t begrudge her or judge her for doing what she feels is best for her swimming career, education goals and life after swimming.

Pol is incorrect: “recent” NCAA swimmers who were also gold medal Olympians concurrent with college eligibility: Cielo, Soni, Schmitt, Coventry, Lochte, Adrian, Berens, Vollmer, Vanderkay…. I am sure there are others.

easyspeed

@ AvantSwim: all I am trying to do, and I think others too, in our small way, is to change the culture of the sport. The NCAA has been put on a pedestal for too long. Up and coming elite swimmers need to get the message that it is ok to skip college swimming. You will still make great friends, have great teammates and won’t regret it.

AvantSwim

easyspeed–fair enough. I am just not sure how making light of what seems to be, historically speaking, THE most successful path to Olympic success is helping to change the culture of the sport.

AvantSwim

Also, I would not and do not begrudge any swimmer who chooses a professional path.

I also wouldn’t assume to speak for, judge, or pretend to understand, the thought process, reasoning and weighing of pros and cons that went into that swimmer’s decision.

easyspeed

@AS: not “making light” of anything (think u might be confusing me with Pol). Yes, historically the NCAA was the way to go. In fact, the NCAA made the USA the dominating swimming country that we have been. And for most swimmers the NCAA is the best way to go still. But not for everyone; times have changed.

Yozhik

Good news about Katie. I wish her family was rich enough so the money consideration would never be a major factor in her sport career that promises to be legendary. But I almost sure that she will swim for college. There are several reasonings of doing that and one of them is the following: she still have two records to bit – 1000yrd and 200yrd. It may look childish, but viewing how seriously she prepared for her final state meet I won’t be surprised if her legacy means more to her than money.

AvantSwim

AS: thanks for clarification. I guess I feel that the NCAA “pedestal” is well earned. But I agree with you: I think the NCAA needs to update its model to be less exploitative of student-athletes. For most NCAA athletes, even a “full ride” remains a low subsidy. Perhaps they should get rid of “pro” distinction.

Regardless, the NCAA forum specifically, and world college swimming in general, remains a highly proven, and viable, pathway for improvement and success for the vast majority of swimmers entering adulthood.

AvantSwim

Sorry, above, thanks easyspeed: AS is me!

aswimfan

Rafael,

Larsen Jensen’s textile PBs were all swum before he turned 19.

In fact, his 800 PB, still the NAG record, was swum when he was 17.

His 1500 free PB at 18 is still also American record.

Luigi

Easyspeed, I wasn’t making fun of you in my comment above. I was serious. What sick individual would feel insulted by someone turning down pro money to do something else? If anything, these girls should be admired. In the least, it’s their choice and no one else’s business. They do no harm to anyone.

Rafael

@Yozhik.

Having the 1000yd won´t even be counted as a Legacy for the majority of the swim fans around the world.. It may be appeasing for US college swimming lovers, but whenever the name Ledecky appears, people will think of the girl who destroyed 400/800/1500 WR, not the girl who was the 1000yd holder..

No NCAA record/medal will ever mean more than OG and LCM WR..

Yozhik

Rafael, I’m totally agree with you. There is more joke in my comment than serious consideration. But look how important was for her to set unbreakable high school record at 500, so elite level swimmer got tapered in the beginning of the year.

easyspeed

@Luigi: that’s cool. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. Think “sick individual” is way over the top. If you asked most people if they wanted to be paid a million dollars for their job or just a fraction of that, most would go for the former and people would have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose the latter. I think your opinion is in the minority; I am very glad to see most of the comments on swim sites encouraging Katie to take the money and skip college athletics. A sign that the swim culture might be shifting! 🙂

Luigi

Disagreeing is fine Easyspeed but it seems to me you changed the subject. I have no doubts most people would take the money my self included. And that is fine. But in your earlier post you implied that these girls would have to justify themselves to the unemployed for not taking it. It’s the idea of this twisted morality that I cant accept, not your suggestion to change the swimming culture. I maintain they are two separate things. Hope I made myself clear, I am obviously not a native speaker. 🙂

aswimfan

This college swimming “problem” is a first world countries problem, oh to have the choice to decline millions of dollars ….

For disclosure, I am from a third world country.

easyspeed

@A Swim Fan: my point exactly. Even people in the USA might be shocked to hear. Like Joe the unemployed bus driver, who is just scraping by, might turn on the TV next summer to watch the Olympics and hear about athletes declining money. Joe might turn off the TV in disgust…. On the flip side, others might admire that decision… others might not care one way or the other.. But my original point was re: someone like Joe…. Anyway, getting redundant so don’t want to write further on this, but hope I have sufficiently clarified to Luigi and others.

Jay

@easyspeed My point is that the girls shouldn’t care about Joe because Joe’s crazy.

AvantSwim

Agreed, Jay: never mind that poor ole “Joe” is also a fiction–not even a real straw man, but a hypothetical one. This whole argument made me laugh, and then groan.

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