Katie Ledecky US swimming sensation voted 2022 AP Female Athlete of the Year

Katie Ledecky of the United States has been named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for 2022, beating out track star Sydney McLaughlin for the second time in her career.

After switching coasts and coaches following the Tokyo Olympics last summer, the American swimmer turned in another outstanding performance at the world championships, setting a pair of world records along the way.

Katie Ledecky, winner of 2017

She has now completed 2022 with the highest prize, chosen by 40 sports journalists and editors from throughout the country.

Ledecky, who previously won the award in 2017, tied McLaughlin in total points, but Ledecky got 10 first-place votes to McLaughlin’s nine. Basketball player A’ja Wilson finished third.

‘I know so many great athletes have received this accolade,’ said Ledecky. ‘I’m incredibly delighted, both with how my year went and with what the future holds.’

Ledecky has dominated female freestyle swimming’s longest pool events for the better part of a decade, having won her first Olympic gold medal at the age of 15 in 2012.

Katie Ledecky is a world record holder. 

Since 2013, she has held the long-course world record in both the 800- and 1,500-meter free, seldom meeting intense competition in any of those tough races.

Ledecky won the 800 meters by more than 10 seconds and the 1,500 meters by more than 15 seconds at this year’s World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She also won gold in the 400-meter freestyle and was a part of the winning US 4×200-meter freestyle relay team.

Before the year 2022 was through, Ledecky had set two more world records. She established short-course records in the 800 and 1,500 meters a week apart, despite seldom competing in the 25-meter pool.

But Ledecky gets the most delight when no one cheers her on when it’s just her, her coaches, and her teammates put in the long, lonely hours of training.

‘I think I’m one of the rare swimmers that enjoys training more than competing,’ she says. ‘Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy racing as well. But I look forward to going to practice every day. I’m looking forward to going to bed for practice in the morning.’

Ledecky departed coach Greg Meehan and the Stanford University team, where she swam and trained while receiving a psychology degree last year, after an Olympic performance that was a slight letdown by her lofty standards.

She is a family person

Image source- Forbes

Her primary objective was to be closer to her family in Washington, D.C. She was drawn to the program established at the University of Florida by Anthony Nesty, a rising star in the coaching ranks.

One of Nesty’s freestylers, Bobby Finke, took gold in the men’s 800 and 1,500 free in Tokyo. Kieran Smith won an unexpected bronze medal.

So, from Palo Alto, California, to Gainesville, Florida, Ledecky travelled over 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometres).

‘Every day has been a lot of fun,’ she added. ‘This is the ideal environment for me at this stage in my career. I’m doing pretty well in training and learning a lot along the way.’

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