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Katie Ledecky Leaves Stanford To Train For Paris Olympics At Florida

By Karen Rosen | Sept. 22, 2021, 3:01 p.m. (ET)

Katie Ledecky poses with her two gold and two silver medals during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo. 

 

Katie Ledecky is on the move. The seven-time Olympic swimming gold medalist is switching coasts to train for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Ledecky, who has been at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, for the past five years, announced on Instagram Wednesday that she will move to Gainesville, Florida, to train with coach Anthony Nesty at the University of Florida.

The 24-year-old from Bethesda, Maryland, will also be a volunteer swimming coach with the Gators program as she gears up to make her fourth straight Olympic Games.

Ledecky joins another seven-time Olympic gold medalist at Florida: Caeleb Dressel, who swam collegiately for the Gators and now trains as a post-graduate under former head coach Gregg Troy.

Ledecky posted a photo on Instagram showing her on the Stanford campus and wrote, “Stanford has been my second home for the last five years. It will always have a special place in my heart. Having completed my college degree this year, I am moving east to be closer to home and family.”

Ledecky praised “the outstanding mid-distance and distance training group” at Florida, writing. I’m looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the next phase of my swimming career.”

Nesty was an assistant coach for Team USA in Tokyo, where Ledecky won two gold medals and two silver medals to bring her total to 10 across three Olympic Games. Nesty was the primary coach for Bobby Finke, who won the 800 and 1,500 freestyles, and Kieran Smith, the bronze medalist in the 400 free. 

Ledecky won her first gold in London in 2012 in the 800-meter freestyle when she was just 15 years old. In Rio four years later, she added another gold in the 800 while also capturing Olympic crowns in the 200 free and 400 free and swimming a leg on the winning 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. In addition, she won a silver on the 4 x 100-meter free relay. 

Delaying offers to turn pro, she enrolled in college at Stanford. 

“My years at Stanford have been nothing short of incredible,” Ledecky said. “I’m so grateful for my coach Greg Meehan, as well as my teammates, professors, friends and everyone in the larger Palo Alto/Menlo Park area who have supported me through these years.”

Ledecky competed for the Cardinal for two years, becoming an eight-time NCAA champion and helping lead Stanford to back-to-back Pac-12 conference and NCAA team titles in 2017 and 2018 while breaking NCAA records 15 times and NCAA Championship meet records six times. As a freshman, she won the Honda Cup. 

After turning pro in March of 2018, Ledecky continued to train at Stanford while finishing her degree with a major in psychology and a minor in political science.

In Tokyo, Ledecky became the first Team USA female swimmer to win an individual event in three straight Games when she again captured the gold in the 800. She also won the inaugural 1,500-meter freestyle for women and took home silver medals in the 400 free and 4 x 200 free relay.

At Florida, Ledecky will be part of a program that won the SEC men’s title and was second in the SEC women’s meet. The men placed third at the NCAA Championships while the women were 17th. 

Ledecky’s new coach has experience as both an Olympic athlete and coach.

In 1988, Nesty edged Team USA’s Matt Biondi by .01 to win the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly for Suriname, becoming his country’s first Olympic medalist. Nesty won the bronze in the same event in 1992. 

He competed collegiately for Florida and returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1999. Nesty became associate head coach in 2006 and was named the head coach of the men’s swimming team in 2018. Beginning this season, Nesty will take over the Florida women’s program, which is already strong in the middle-to-distance freestyle events.

 “The knowledge and experience that Katie brings to the pool are unparalleled,” Nesty said. “In addition to her obvious excellence as a swimmer, Katie is an exceptional person who will make a great impact on the student-athletes here. Katie’s values are in total alignment with the Florida program, and we’re so excited to have her join the Gators as she continues to train for the 2024 Olympics.”

As a volunteer assistant, Ledecky will be able to accompany the team to meets and continue to train with them on the road.

Karen Rosen

Karen Rosen has covered every Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1992 for newspapers, magazines and websites. Based in Atlanta, she has contributed to TeamUSA.org since 2009.

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