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Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky is an ‘incredible leader for Team USA,’ swim legend Missy Franklin says

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Hopes for a seventh victory Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky She’s in good form heading into the Summer Olympics, but it’s not just her dominance in the pool that makes her so crucial to the U.S. team’s success.

Fellow Olympian Missy Franklin believes it’s what she does outside the pool lane that makes Ledecky one of the greats.

Katie Ledecky of the United States reacts after qualifying in the women’s 400-meter freestyle during the first day of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium on June 15, 2024 in Indianapolis. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

In an interview with Fox News Digital Paris Convention, Franklin spoke optimistically about Ledecky’s chances at this year’s Olympics.

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“I think she’ll show up like she always does. Katy knows when it’s time to perform. She’s been doing it since 2012.”

This will be Ledecky’s fourth Olympic Games and she is expected to solidify her qualification at the USA Swimming Trials this weekend, but challengers are already lining up, with Ariarne Titmus of Australia and Summer McIntosh of Canada posing the biggest threats in the women’s 400m freestyle.

Ledecky won gold in the event in 2016 but lost to Titmus in Tokyo, after McIntosh set a world record in the women’s 400m freestyle, only for Titmus to reclaim it at the world championships later that year.

Franklin agrees the competition will be fierce, but that’s when Ledecky will shine.

Katie Ledecky gives her blessing

Katie Ledecky of the United States celebrates after winning the women’s 1500m freestyle final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2021. (Oli Scarfe/AFP via Getty Images)

Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin talks about ‘most epic moment’ for all American swimmers ahead of 2024 Olympics

“Katie enjoys a challenge,” Franklin says, “she loves competition. She loves having someone who pushes her to be better.”

At 27, Ledecky already has six individual Olympic gold medals — more than any other woman in swimming history — and winning another in Paris would add to her legendary resume. But Franklin knows Ledecky’s role in Paris goes beyond the medal count.

“I think Katie is a great role model,” Franklin said. “She’s a great leader for the U.S. National Team. I think she’s going to do great things not only in the pool, but outside of the pool as a veteran of the U.S. National Team, where she’ll be able to lead with her experience and knowledge.”

Missy Franklin embraces Katie Ledecky

Missy Franklin (left) of the United States celebrates with teammate Katie Ledecky after the women’s 200-meter freestyle semifinal at the 16th FINA World Championships at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia on August 4, 2015. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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Ledecky got off to a strong start at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Saturday, finishing the 400-meter freestyle in 3:59.99. She won by more than five seconds over runner-up Paige Madden.

The final is scheduled for Saturday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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