Katie Ledecky Talks Olympic Trials and the Celebrity She Wants to See in the Stands


Katie Ledecky doesn’t mean to be so iconic. When asked how she built her confidence as a young athlete, the Stanford grad and Olympic athlete thinks carefully before admitting, “I guess I’ve kind of had it for as long as I can remember.” She credits her mom for getting her in the pool, and various swim coaches for teaching her the strokes. Having a strong support system coupled with her own inner strength propelled Ledecky to a record-breaking swimming career, earning her seven Olympic gold medals, 21 World Championship titles, and solidifying her title as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. “Swimming was and is such a great sport and something that I’ve always enjoyed, and I think having strong and confident people around me helped me learn how to be that myself.”

With the Paris Olympics quickly approaching, Ledecky is back in training mode, already prepping for the Olympic trials in June. “I swim 10 times a week — in the pool for about two hours, and then outside of the pool five times a week for about an hour,” she says. “It’s a lot of training, a lot of days where I have two swim practices, and then weights or dry land training.” If Ledecky qualifies, this will mark her fourth Olympic Games, and the first her family will be able to watch since the Tokyo Olympics. “Family wasn’t allowed to attend in 2021 because of the pandemic. We didn’t have any spectators,” she explains.

“I think having strong and confident people around me helped me learn how to be that myself.”

Ledecky is excited to (potentially) have her family’s in-person support in 2024, but there’s also one celebrity she wouldn’t mind cheering her on: Taylor Swift. In March of 2023, Ledecky commented on Swift’s viral dive at the Era’s Tour, giving her form a 10/10. “I love her music. I haven’t been to a concert of hers, but I mean, when I saw that online of her diving under the stage, it was very impressive,” Ledecky says. “She has a really good underwater dolphin kick, so I think she’s secretly a swimmer, and should come to some swim meets and perform in between events or something.” Perfectly enough — as Ledecky points out — the upcoming Olympic trials for swimming are taking place in a football stadium for the very first time. “Maybe Travis Kelce can get her a good seat and come to a football field and watch a swim meet.”

In the meantime, Ledecky is staying busy with her own training, as well as a brand new partnership with Athleta. As the newest member of the brand’s Power of She Collective, Ledecky will work with other elite athletes to empower women and girls through movement and philanthropy. She’ll even serve as an advisor for the Power of She Collective, supporting organizations aligned with Athleta’s mission to build confidence and strength. “I’m really excited that Athleta is going to support me and some of my interests,” Ledecky says — specifically her passion for sports and education. “I think we’re going to do some great things together.”

As an Athleta partner, Ledecky also has some recommendations for activewear outside of the pool. Her current favorites include the Mesh Racer Run Short ($49), the Conscious Crop Bra ($59), and the Interval Stash Tights ($109). “I train a lot in the gym as well, so I love wearing [Athleta] to workouts,” Ledecky says, noting that she recently discovered red is her color. “It holds up really well and keeps me cool.” While Ledecky can’t tell you exactly what it takes to become the world’s most decorated female swimmer, when it comes to finding your confidence, she suggests exploring the things you genuinely love and giving it your all. “Find what you’re passionate about, whether that’s a sport, whether that’s a subject in school, whether that’s something else — music, what have you — and try to be the best that you can be at it,” she says. “That’s what I’ve been doing, and I really feel lucky to be in this position.”

Chandler Plante is an assistant editor for POPSUGAR Health & Fitness. Previously, she worked as an editorial assistant for People magazine and contributed to Ladygunn, Millie, and Bustle Digital Group. In her free time, she overshares on the internet, creating content about chronic illness, beauty, and disability.

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