In a photo from last summer, Katie Ledecky swims on her way to winning the women’s 800 freestyle final during the London 2012 Olympic Games. This summer, Ledecky, 16, competed in the world swimming championships in Barcelona, Spain, and won four gold medals. She will be a junior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda this fall.
In a photo from last summer, Katie Ledecky swims on her way to winning the women’s 800 freestyle final during the London 2012 Olympic Games. This summer, Ledecky, 16, competed in the world swimming championships in Barcelona, Spain, and won four gold medals. She will be a junior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda this fall.
Last summer, before entering her sophomore year at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Katie Ledecky won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in the 800-meter women's freestyle swimming race. At 15, the member of Little Flower Parish in Bethesda was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympics team.

This summer, Ledecky, who is now 16, was named the top swimmer at the world swimming championships in Barcelona, Spain, as she won four gold medals, setting world records in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle races, and also winning the 400-meter freestyle and in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

As she prepared to begin her junior year at Stone Ridge, Ledecky reflected on her faith in an e-mail interview with the Catholic Standard.

How excited are you to be getting back to Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart for your junior year, and swimming again for the Gators and learning and engaging in service projects or school activities with your classmates? How do you balance your training with your school responsibilities?

"I am very excited to get back to Stone Ridge for my junior year. I have a good feel for the school traditions and routines, and I am looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role as an 'upperclassman.' I am a member of the Campus Ministry Board at Stone Ridge, in which I help plan the liturgies and promote faith and service in our school. I am also looking forward to Social Action, where every other Wednesday students do service work. The high school swim season this winter will be fun once again, and the Gator swim team is coming off of a great season last year, so we will use that momentum to drive us forward this year. Balancing training and school responsibilities is challenging, but it is made possible by my family, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, and classmates who bring energy and smiles each day."

Did your faith help give you a sense of peace amid the excitement of swimming in the world championships in Spain?"

My faith has definitely played a huge role in my swimming. Last year I told you that I say a Hail Mary before each race, but I have found that now it is more like a decade of the rosary before each race in the ready room! The ready room is the place where the swimmers line up before each race, and I have found it to be a fairly intense area where many of the swimmers appear nervous or anxious. I say a few prayers in the ready room, which distracts me from the other competitors and more importantly, allows me to spend a few moments connecting with God. Though I am at a huge swimming event with thousands of people watching, it is important for me to take time to make space for God and thank Him. He will always be at the center of my life."