Andrew Gemmell, Katie Ledecky’s training partner and son of their shared coach Bruce, commented that after the 2015 season, Ledecky got turned into a “puller,” meaning that the arm-pulling part of her stroke significantly improved.
“My proudest accomplishments,” Andrew, who raced to a ninth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics in the 1500m freestyle, tweeted, “1) converting Katie Ledecky into a puller, 2) making the Olympic team. Maybe in that order.”
After last summer’s world championships, where she swept the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle gold medals, Ledecky admitted there were still several elements of her stroke that she could work on.
“It’s just all about improving,” she said in TODAY’s green room in August. “I knew that I needed to improve my pulling and my kicking. I’m good at swimming combined, but my pulling and my kicking separately are not really good. So I worked on those two things. That’s helped my swimming a lot.”
She also wanted to work on her turns, a key ingredient in putting together strong shorter-distance races.
“I still have a lot to work on for my turns,” she said then. “Those are important things during short races. That would be helpful. And they add up a lot in the longer races. If I improve those, that could be really big.”
That led to the next – obvious – question: Would she ever consider open water races? After all, there are no flip turns in open water races.
“Oh no,” Ledecky partially groaned. “I’m not really interested right now in going into open water. One of my teammates, Andrew Gemmell, does open water. I really respect those swimmers. Pretty long race!”
Ledecky’s impressive haul from the 2016 Olympics included four gold medals and a silver. Compared to the London Games, she expanded her repertoire quite a bit for Rio, adding the 200m and 400m freestyles plus two relays.
But it doesn’t look like she’ll be venturing into uncharted, open water any time soon.