Katie Ledecky Decides To Turn Pro
After leading Stanford to back-to-back NCAA championships, powerhouse swimmer Katie Ledecky recently turned professional following her sophomore season with the Cardinal – a decision she said was more about timing than anything, including endorsement opportunities.
Her eyes are on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She made her professional debut in the most quintessential way, shattering her own world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
The two-time Olympian has two priorities as a pro: qualifying for her third Games and finishing her psychology degree.
Both of her Olympic appearances were prior to her time at Stanford. At 15 years old, she won a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in London. Four years later in Rio, she defended that title and won the 200- and 400-meter freestyles too. She was also on the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay team, as well as the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team, which won silver.
Ledecky will continue training at Stanford and take classes. She said she’ll be more than halfway finished with her degree by the end of the summer, but to be at her best by 2020, she wanted the flexibility to cut back on academics leading up to the Olympics.
In terms of endorsements, she could end up being the most sought-after athlete leading up to the Tokyo Games but maintained that was not a major factor in her decision to go pro. Of course, they’re still a big bonus, although she did not share any specifics.
She is also able to further promote swimming in general. Wednesday, she worked with USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66 – along with fellow Olympians Cullen Jones, Ryan Murphy, and Rowdy Gaines – to encourage parents to enroll their kids in swim lessons to reduce the risk of child drowning.
Overall, she’s now focused on using this time to “transition to the pro lifestyle,” as opposed to staying a college athlete for two more years and having only a few months between the end of the season and the Olympics.
She’s in a unique position as a professional athlete who still trains with her college teammates and coach, Greg Meehan, takes classes and has the potential to earn money from her success in the water. Ledecky “couldn’t be happier” with her two seasons as an NCAA athlete, but she’s ready for what’s next.
Courtesy: USA Today