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The Gear That Kick-Started My Career

Photograph By Timothy Hogan for ESPN The Magazine

Mom Mary Gen Ledecky on Katie's early days: "The Potomac Valley Swimming team was known for having the best warmups. We always wanted to get the kids names on them right away so the jackets wouldnt get lost or mixed up. When Katie made the Zones team, it was a big deal. Those meets are steppingstones for bigger meets, like the Olympic trials. The jacket represents the fun we had going to those meets back then. I thought her kids might want to wear it someday, so I keep it in Katies closet. --As told to Dan Friedell

Prop Styling by Laurie Raab/Apostrophe NY