Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky speaks during a news conference at U.S. Olympic team trials in Omaha, Neb. on June 24, 2016.
Orlin Wagner—AP
By Melissa Chan
June 26, 2016

Michael Phelps praised fellow Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky in a new interview published Sunday, comparing the 19-year-old competitor to a younger version of himself.

Phelps, who is 30 and a 22-time Olympic medalist, complimented Ledecky’s skill and focus and said the “strong swimmer” is ready to take on the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, USA Today Sports reports. “You can tell she is very goal oriented, and for me it brings me back to kind of what I was like way, way, way back in the day,” Phelps told the outlet.

“Every time she gets in the water, it’s like a world record. She is improving so much, and I think she is just trying to push that barrier, and I think it’s pretty exciting to watch her do that,” he added. “Her stroke is phenomenal, how she transitions, and now the walls are great, her kick is great. She does the work, and it shows.”

Ledecky told USA Today Sports that she has been training hard since her international debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics. “I feel like I had the great experience four years ago, and I’ve gained a lot of international experience since then, and I feel a lot more comfortable on deck and being in this kind of environment than I did four years ago, “ she said.

[USA Today Sports]

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