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Katie Ledecky Named AP Female Athlete Of The Year

January 2, 2018
The Bethesda native wins over tennis phenomenon Serena Williams.

By Michelle Harris, Baltimore magazine

The five-time Olympic gold medalist and 14-time world champion Katie Ledecky can add one more accolade to her resume -- 2017 Female Athlete of the Year. The Associated Press chose Ledecky, with 351 votes, over world-class tennis player Serena Williams (343 votes) and track star Allyson Felix (248 votes).

Finishing second last year in voting to gymnast Simone Biles, her candidacy was strengthened this time around by her performance at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships is Budapest, where she won five gold medals and a silver.

According to the AP, Ledecky is the eighth female swimmer to win the award and the first since Amy Van Dyken in 1996. Among others is 1969 winner Debbie Meyer who Ledecky mirrored at last year's Rio games by swimming the 200, 400, and 800 freestyles in a single Olympics. She is also the first active college athlete to win since UConn basketball player Rebecca Lobo in 1995.

"It's a really great history of women swimmers and freestylers," she told AP. "I really look up to a lot of those women."

Photo Credit: Katie Ledecky Instagram