Women’s swimming and diving welcomes gold medalist, world record setter

Nov. 12, 2014, 11:28 p.m.

Stanford women’s swimming and diving will welcome one of the top recruiting classes in the nation to the Farm next year after five swimmers signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The class includes Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Katie Ledecky.

“Katie is, in my opinion, the best swimmer on the planet,” head coach Greg Meehan told GoStanford. “But what’s most important about Katie is that anyone that meets her is so incredibly impressed by how she carries herself and how she handles herself. She really embodies what the Stanford student-athlete is all about. She has range from the 100 to the 1500 and is world class in everything.”

Two years ago it was Cal that took the most celebrated and recognized recruit in the nation in Missy Franklin. This year however, it’s Stanford that has landed a superstar, one that is arguably a bigger deal than Franklin. Ledecky is one of the most decorated swimmers to join the college ranks, earning her first Olympic gold medal at the age of 15.

The Bethesda, Maryland native was ahead by 3.5 seconds in the final 50 meter of the 800-meter freestyle race for the gold medal in London in 2012, far ahead of Franklin and the 23-year old English favorite. Her final time ended up being the second-fastest time ever. She then went on to set the fastest time at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona at the age of 16. And in the finals of the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia this past August, Ledecky lapped two swimmers en route to capturing gold in the 1,500-meter freestyle. With the win she also shaved six seconds off of the world record, which she had set herself two months previously.

The women’s swim team will not only be graced by the talent of the record-setting, gold medalist Ledecky but will also earn contributions from Ella Eastin (No. 6) and Leah Stevens (No. 19), both top-20 recruits according to SwimSwam. Kim Williams joins Eastin as a top IM talent and Kaitlyn Albertoli, a freestyle swimmer, will also start her career on the Farm next fall.

“I’m really excited to be signing with Stanford,” Ledecky told GoStanford. “I’m looking forward to swimming with such a talented and hard-working team coached by Greg [Meehan] and Tracy [Duchac]. I know it will be a lot of fun to compete in the Pac-12 and NCAA. Needless to say, I’m a proud new member of Nerd Nation.”

Last season the Cardinal finished second at the NCAA Championships behind the tutelage of head coach Greg Meehan, the reigning College Swimming Coaches Association of America Swimming Coach of the Year.

The Cardinal begin their march to an NCAA title with their first Pac-12 meet in January against Arizona.

Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Ashley Westhem was Editor in Chief of Vol. 248 after serving as Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Sports. She is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She graduated in 2016 and is currently a Communications masters student. Ashley is from Lake Tahoe, California.

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