Katie Ledecky wore a cap and gown over her bathing suit to celebrate her Stanford graduation poolside at Olympic trials

Katie Ledecky. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Katie Ledecky is officially a college graduate, and she celebrated the occasion in very Katie Ledecky fashion.

The 24-year-old American swimmer celebrated her Stanford University graduation on Sunday. But as many of her classmates commemorated the feat on campus in Palo Alto, California, Ledecky was busy preparing for US Olympic Team Trials more than 1,609km away in Omaha, Nebraska.

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky. Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Ledecky previously told Insider that she’d “realized at some point over the past year” that graduation would overlap with the pivotal meet but insisted that “I’ll find a way” to mark the occasion regardless of the distance.

And she did.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist wore a cap, gown, and Stanford-embroidered stole over her bathing suit for a graduation-day photo op in Omaha. Ledecky joined her former Stanford women’s swimming and diving teammates – Brooke Forde and Katie Drabot – poolside to celebrate the incredible feat together.

-Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) June 13, 2021

Though the COVID-19 pandemic significantly complicated her 2020 Olympics plans, Ledecky put the extra free time she gained to good use. Shortly after news broke that the games would be postponed by a calendar year, she returned to one of the world’s top-ranked universities – virtually, of course – to complete her psychology major and political science minor.

And though she still isn’t quite sure what career path she’ll pursue once her competitive swimming career comes to an end, she knows that “what’s always grounded and will continue to ground my vision of what I want to do is … I want to do things to help others.”

Katie ledecky
Katie Ledecky. AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

“So I’m considering going to business school or law school,” Ledecky told Insider. “But at the end of the day, I want to ensure I make an impact in whatever community I’m in.”

For now, though, Ledecky is laser-focused on securing her spot at the Tokyo Olympics. She intends to compete in the 200-, 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter individual freestyle events as well as the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay at this summer’s games, but first, she’ll have to qualify for each race.

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

That process begins Monday at 7:45 p.m. ET, as Ledecky looks to win the women’s 400 freestyle final after setting a world record in the event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In the five days following that race, she’ll compete in an additional six events with the ultimate goal of collecting more gold medals than any other woman in the history of the Olympics.

Ledecky needs another five first-place finishes to surpass Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. Should she qualify for all of her events and sweep the field, Ledecky will become the second-greatest winner – man or woman – in Olympic history, trailing only Michael Phelps in the gold medal count.