Five-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky appreciates the power of confidence. At just 24 years-old, she's one of the most decorated athletes of all time. But if there's one thing to know about Ledecky, it's she never rests on her laurels—or medals.
Despite breaking 14 world records and snagging her first gold at just 15, Ledecky trains with the fervor and grit of an underdog. She's known for finishing several seconds before even her closest competitors, but that doesn't mean she's not spending her days lifting, training, and striving for her personal best. When she's not in the pool or traveling, you can catch her doing things typical of most recent grads (she just earned her diploma from Stanford last December): spending time with friends, watching TV, volunteering, and hanging out at home. The only difference is when Ledecky goes to work, her office is filled with 660,000 gallons of chlorinated water.
We caught up with Ledecky, as she trains to compete in Tokyo at the Olympic Games this summer, to ask her all about preparation, getting in the zone for competition, her post-pool beauty favorites, and more.
On BIC Soleil Razor's "Game On" Campaign
As you know, I'm moving forward into some big competitions this summer, and I'm really looking forward to competing on the global stage again in what's been a challenging year for everyone. Through my performance, I hope I can inspire people to have confidence. And, of course, I'll be bringing my BIC razors to Tokyo, which I know will help me be at my best.
How She Deals with Nerves Before a Race
Behind the blocks, I have the same nerves that everyone has—that excitement that's built up, and you want to release once you hit the water. But, I make sure to think back to all the hard work I've put in. That gives me confidence behind the blocks, just knowing that I've done all the little things right—from hard practices to eating well, sleeping well, using the right razor... all those things. And I know that I have a great team around me that helped me get to that point, so I remind myself of those things. That gets me psyched up plenty!
Her Skin and Haircare Routine
I keep it pretty simple. I use the BIC Soleil Sensitive Advanced Razor as my razor. I don't use a lot of lotions or anything, but I definitely shampoo and condition after practice. You know, sometimes I have two practices in a day, and I don't shower until the afternoon practice—don't tell anyone! (LAUGHS) Yeah, I have consistency with what I'm doing, and it's really nothing too special. Just simple!
When She Feels the Most Like "Herself"
I think it's behind the blocks or when I'm finishing a practice! When you know that you've put in that hard work and you know that you've given it your all, that's such a great feeling. And, you know, it's weird, but I love that feeling when I have a cramp in the middle of practice. It's not even a cramp; it's a unique feeling in your stomach that you've pushed yourself to your limit. Whether it's in a race or at the end of practice, I enjoy that feeling, and I try to lean into it.
On Gearing Up for the Summer Olympics
I'm in my routine of training, which is 10 swim practices per week and three lifts. It's also the things outside of the pool that are important. Every little choice I make has an impact—when I'm going to bed, what I'm eating, and how I'm I'm recovering—so that I'm at my best going into the next practice. Those little things really add up and will help me be at my best come trials on the Games.
How She Unwinds
I try to relax and talk to friends—watch TV, read books. Last year, I finished up my degree at Stanford, so I was busy taking classes. I guess that's not really unwinding! (LAUGHS) But you know, it was virtual last year, so it was a little more relaxed.
Her Bag Mainstays
I'm looking at my bag right now, and I'm thinking of what's in it! (LAUGHS) Typically, I have my suits, my goggles, my BIC razor, and chocolate milk for after practice. I have tons of goggles and swim caps, like even old ones that I should probably throw away (LAUGHS). Yeah, just shampoo and masks and hand sanitizer—all those little things that we need.