Katie Ledecky's legacy as a swimmer cannot be questioned. At 25, she is a seasoned professional swimmer with multiple accolades to her name. Katie Grimes, on the other hand, aged 17, is definitely showcasing loads of potential as she climbs her way up the ranks, slowly striding towards hitting her peak.
The two American long-distance specialists are at very different stages in their careers. Still, comparisons are bound to be made. Here, we take a look at how the 17-year-old Grimes compares to Ledecky when she was 17.
Katie Ledecky vs Katie Grimes
Both Ledecky and Grimes made their Olympic debuts at the age of 15, the former in 2012 at the London Olympics and the latter in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics.
Being long-distance swimmers, they even swam for Team USA in the exact same event, the 800-meter freestyle. Ledecky, aged 15, swam in the finals in 2012 and won her first Olympic gold medal by posting a time of 8:14.63 and setting a national record in the process.
Although Grimes, in Tokyo, finished second in the heats, she fell short in the finals and finished fourth with a time of 8:19.38, missing the podium by one second.
Katie Ledecky made her professional debut at the age of 16 in 2013 at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona. In her first run at the Worlds, Ledecky won four gold medals - in the 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle, 1500-meter freestyle, and the 4×200-meter freestyle.
She also set a new national record in the 400-meter freestyle, and two world records in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle.
Grimes, aged 16, made her long-course debut at the 19th FINA World Championships in 2022. There, she won two silver medals in the 1500-meter freestyle and the 400-meter individual medley. She also swam in the 10-kilometre open water swim where she was placed 5th, eight seconds behind the top spot.
At the age of 17, Ledecky swam at the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Gold Coast, Australia. At that event, she won five golds in the following races: 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle, 1500-meter freestyle, 4×200-meter freestyle and set three Commonwealth records and two world records in the process.
Grimes, this year, at 17, recently swam in the 2023 Pro Swim Series. She won gold in the 800-meter freestyle, 400-meter IM, and the 200-meter butterfly, a silver medal in the 1500-meter freestyle, and two bronze medals in the 400-meter freestyle and the 200-meter backstroke.
Grimes is definitely full of potential and it is safe to say that she has a long, successful career ahead of her. With Ledecky, as she has already taken her place as one of the best in the world, it remains to be seen how much more she can achieve in the sport!