Just Add Water: My Swimming Life

A candid and inspiring memoir from Olympic gold medalist, world champion, and one of the best swimmers ever to compete: Katie Ledecky.

Katie Ledecky has won more individual Olympic races than any female swimmer in history. She is a three-time Olympian, a seven-time gold medalist, a twenty-one-time world champion, eight-time NCAA Champion, and a world record-holder in individual swimming events. Time and again, the question is posed to her family, her coaches, and to her—what makes her a champion? Now, for the first time, she shares what it takes to compete at an elite level.

Again and again, Ledecky has broken records: those of others and, increasingly, her own. She is both consistent and innovative—consistent at setting goals and shattering them, and innovative in the way she approaches her training. A true competitor, she sets her goals by choosing the ones that feel the scariest. But, crucially, she never sacrifices the joy of competition, even in the face of adversity. Her positive mental outlook and a great support system provides the springboard to her success.

Just Add Water charts Ledecky’s life in swimming. It details her start in Bethesda, Maryland, where she played sharks and minnows and first discovered the joy of the pool; her early foray into the Olympics at the tender age of fifteen where, as the youngest member of the American team, she stunned everyone by winning her first gold medal; her time balancing competition and her education at Stanford University; how she developed a champion’s mindset that has allowed her to persevere through so many meets, even under intense pressure; and how she has maintained her dominance in a sport where success depends on milliseconds. You learn how every element of her life—from the support of her family to the tutelage of her coaches, from her childhood spent in summer league swimming to the bright lights of Olympic pools in London, Rio, and Tokyo—set her up to become the champion she is.

In the end, Katie’s story is about testing yourself against the difficult, and seeing who you become on the other side.

Page Count


Publication date

June 11, 2024