Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps Used THIS Swimming Style to Dominate Rivals

Published 12/28/2021, 7:30 AM EST
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: Katie Ledecky of the United States celebrates winning gold in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Ever since she won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, Katie Ledecky gained worldwide attention. Most of her competitors, including arch-rival Ariarne Titmus, consider her as the benchmark to reach. Notably, the incredible Ledecky has won seven Olympic gold medals in her career so far. Moreover, her three world records in the 400, 800, and 1500-meters, cemented her legacy as one of the greatest swimmers of all time.

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Undoubtedly, this is not possible without sheer determination and passion, along with an incredible swimming technique. However, did you know, Ledecky adopted a swimming technique similar to the GOAT, Michael Phelps?

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Katie Ledecky uses Michael Phelps technique

Back when Phelps broke the legendary Ian Thorpe’s world record in the 200-meter fly, he adopted an approach named ‘galloping’. When Ledecky was training with her first coach, Yuri Suguiyama, she suggested Ledecky try out the stroke used by Phelps. Notably, it proved to be the difference-maker during the 2012 London Olympics as she won the 800-meters, despite being just 15.

“She was swimming like most classic female distance swimmers. It was two big kicks and bilateral breathing. But she was always bouncing up and down, really bouncy in the water and I think you can swim better than that,” said Suguiyama.

TOPSHOT – USA’s Michael Phelps competes in a Men’s 200m Individual Medley heat during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 10, 2016. / AFP / François-Xavier MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

While swimming, Ledecky adopts a short left stroke, that is in sync with a long right stroke to help her flow through the water. She breathes through the right side as she continues this stroke until the race ends. It is difficult for a person to get a hold of this stroke. The gallop motion is up and down but it can increase the drag and the bouncy motion causes the water to be uneasy.

To adopt this motion takes years of practice, as the use of one dominant arm makes the body go up and down at regular intervals. However, once mastered the trick, there is no stopping the swimmer.

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Can Ledecky match Phelps’ legacy?

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The stroke helps swimmers to have a significant advantage, but if not, it could lead to repercussions. Hence, most swimmers practice this for years to get the synchronization needed to perfect the stroke. While Ledecky adopted this approach with ease and continues to do so, she has all the makings of equaling Michael Phelps’ dominance in the pool.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 08: Katie Ledecky of the United States prepares in the second Semifinal of the Women’s 200m Freestyle on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Michael Phelps is a legend of a swimmer. His record of 23 Olympic gold medals would never be matched. Whether he is the greatest Olympian of all time is up for debate because of a certain Usain Bolt’s achievements in the Games. But, given the rate at which Ledecky is going, she would be the favorite to win more medals.

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Do you think Katie Ledecky has what it takes to be named as one of the best swimmers of all time?

WATCH THIS STORY- Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Shaun White, and More: Here’s How These Olympians Celebrate Christmas

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Jacob Gijy

833 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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