Phelps, who won 23 Olympic gold, said his 24-year-old compatriot should enjoy her experience in the Tokyo basins, as she begins her career defending the 400m freestyle title in a renewed confrontation with Australian Ariarn Titmus, who defeated her American opponent in the World Cup in 2019.
The 36-year-old knows exactly what he is talking about, as he is the most successful athlete in the history of the Games and not only the best swimmer, as he holds the two records for the most medals in the Olympic Games (28) and the largest number of golds (23) in addition to the most crowned athlete in a single edition of the Games (8 in Beijing 2008, erasing the previous record set by fellow swimmer Mark Spitz at the 1972 Munich Olympics).
“Kate and I have known each other for a very long time,” Phelps said in a live interview on Instagram, which was published by the official website of Tokyo 2020 on the eve of the opening of the games postponed from last summer due to the Corona virus, “Katie and I have known each other for a very long time. It is without a doubt the best swimming we have seen in our lives,” revealing, “I always advise her one thing.” It is to be on her own.”
“As long as she is herself, and as long as she is prepared for what she wants to do, everything else will be done in the right way,” he added.
After her gold in the 800 freestyle during the London Olympics, Ledecky consolidated her Olympic record in Rio 2016 when she won the titles of the 200, 400 and 800 m freestyle and the relay 4 times 200 m freestyle, in addition to the silver relay 4 times 100 m freestyle.
Ledecky, who has won 15 world titles in her career so far in addition to her Olympic titles, will be one of the most prominent stars in the swimming pools during the Tokyo Olympics, as she seeks to enhance her balance because she “is one of the people who knows what to do in this atmosphere,” according to Phelps, adding, “You’re going to go in there (Tokyo Basins) to have fun and we’ll see a lot of very fast times.”
Phelps, who won his Olympic golds in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, went to Lydecky, saying, “I’ve done the hard work (exercise and preparation), and now is the time to show it,” stressing the need to “enjoy.”
From Sunday, Ledecky will compete in four individual races (200, 400, 800 and 1500 m freestyle), in addition to participating at least in the 4 times 200 m freestyle relay.
All Lydecky has to do in order to be as successful as the 2016 Rio Olympics is to “forget about everything that can affect your concentration and do what you do more than anyone else and enjoy the moment,” Phelps advises.