Whatever her medal count at the end of the Games, Katie Ledecky will almost certainly make Olympic history in Tokyo. This Summer Olympics marks the first time that women will be allowed to compete in the 1,500-meter freestyle, an event that Ledecky is predicted to dominate. Five years ago, Ledecky was crowned the most decorated woman athlete at the Rio Games. Now, she's looking to add up to five more Olympic medals to her already impressive tally, which currently sits at five gold and one silver. Ledecky is a fan favorite across the board, and for good reason. Since her Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, she's gone undefeated in the 800-meter freestyle — one of five events she'll be competing in this summer. Find her full schedule below.
When to Watch Katie Ledecky at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics
Before Ledecky can become the first Olympic gold medalist in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle, she'll have to qualify for the finals in the event, in addition to the finals for the 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, and 800-meter freestyle. She'll also have the opportunity to lead Team USA to the finals in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay — a race they won in the 2016 Rio Games. Should Ledecky earn a spot in all of these events as predicted, this will be her full schedule.
- Women's 400-meter freestyle prelims: Sunday, July 25, at 7:39 a.m. ET.
- Women's 400-meter freestyle finals: Sunday, July 25, at 10:20 p.m. ET. In the 2016 Olympics, Ledecky took home the gold for her 400-meter free performance.
- Women's 200-meter freestyle prelims: Monday, July 26, at 6:02 a.m. ET.
- Women's 1,500-meter freestyle prelims: Monday, July 26, at 7:32 a.m. ET.
- Women's 200-meter freestyle semifinals: Monday, July 26, at 9:30 p.m. ET.
- Women's 200-meter freestyle finals: Tuesday, July 27, at 9:41 p.m. ET. As the reigning Olympic champ, Ledecky is likely to compete in (and win) the 200-meter free.
- Women's 1,500-meter freestyle finals: Tuesday, July 27, at 10:54 p.m. ET. Ledecky is predicted to own this event in Tokyo after she swam the fastest time in the world this year at the Olympic Trials.
- Women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay prelims: Wednesday, July 28, at 7:34 a.m. ET.
- Women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay finals: Wednesday, July 28, at 11:31 p.m. ET. Team USA will be heading into this relay as the reigning Olympic champs. Should they place first, this will be Ledecky's second gold medal in this event.
- Women's 800-meter freestyle prelims: Thursday, July 29, at 6:02 a.m. ET.
- Women's 800-meter freestyle finals: Friday, July 30, at 9:46 p.m. ET. Undefeated in the 800-meter free since her Olympic debut in 2012, Ledecky is set to win gold.
Under the current Olympic competition format, all individual events 200 meters or shorter will have preliminary heats, semifinals, and finals; races with distances greater than 200 meters will go straight from prelims to finals, as those typically have fewer swimmers. Each event can have anywhere from three to eight preliminary heats; however, only the top 16 swimmers advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, swimmers are broken up into two heats of eight, and those with the top eight fastest times will advance to the finals. For the events without semifinals, including all relays, the top eight swimmers or teams from prelims go to the finals.
Tokyo is shaping up to be a groundbreaking Olympics for Ledecky. Be sure to jot these times down, because you're not going to want to miss any of it!
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 on NBC.