Monday, August 10, 2015

SPORTS - Katie Ledecky

"How Katie Ledecky is dominating distance swimming" PBS NewsHour 8/7/2015


SUMMARY:  Swimmer Katie Ledecky has been blowing by the competition and setting records at the world championships in Russia.  She’s currently on pace to sweep the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 meter freestyles at a single world championship.  To find out more about Ledecky’s incredible feats, Hari Sreenivasan speaks to sports commentator and former Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Just to try to put this in perspective, if Katie Ledecky wins tomorrow, she will have completed an unprecedented sweep of the 200, the 400, the 800 and 1,500 meter freestyles at a single world championship.

She also set world records this week.  And assuming all goes well, she will have raced 6,200 meters in seven days when you include heats and relays.  Since winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, she has set 13 of the fastest racing times in history.

Summer Sanders is a former Olympic gold medal swimmer herself, as well as a sports commentator and reporter who’s been watching all of this.  She joins me now from Salt Lake City.

You know, there’s a lot of people who don’t follow swimming who are starting to wake up to this story.  Why is this so spectacular?

SUMMER SANDERS, Olympic Gold Medal Winner, Swimming (1992):  Well, I think it goes back in history.

I think most people remember Janet Evans, the queen of distance swimming.  She held most of these world records up until Katie broke them. And so we haven’t seen this dominance from the American swimmers in the sport of distance swimming.  Honestly, most kids, if they have the distance gene, prefer to push themselves to the 400 and 200, because it’s so difficult to train for the 800 and 1,500.

But the fact that Katie is doing it and she’s dominating time and time and time again — and she just sort of has this inner personality.  I describe it as like she’s a sprinter personality on the inside, but a distance on the outside.  I love her fist pump when she wins and her enthusiasm that she is showing.  She’s making distance swimming cool.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  She are incredibly different events.  Training for a 200 meter, a sprint-type event, vs. essentially a mile in the pool, and she actually did both races in one day earlier this week.

SUMMER SANDERS:  Ya, she had the semifinals of the 200 freestyle right after she, like, shattered her own record in the 1,500 freestyle.

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