Stone Ridge Makes Splash for Olympians Ledecky, Bacon

Stone Ridge School for the Sacred Heart can’t contain their excitement to watch alumnae Katie Ledecky and Phoebe Bacon swim in the Tokyo Olympics.

More than 350 students returned to the the all-girls Catholic school’s campus in Bethesda on Monday, where they made quite the splash celebrating the former swimmers’ accomplishments. They made signs, held up large cardboard cut out heads of Ledecky and Bacon, and chanted a lot of cheers—urging the two to “Go for gold!”

Bob Walker coached both swimmers when they attended Stone Ridge, five years apart—Ledecky from 2011 to 2015; Bacon from 2016 to 2020.

Walker remembers Ledecky’s sophomore year well, when she competed in the 2012 Olympics. Ledecky took the world by storm in the winning a gold medal and breaking the world record in the 800 meter freestyle. Nine years later, with five Olympic Gold Medals, a Stanford diploma, 14 world records under her belt, Ledecky is the biggest name in swimming.

Now another one of Walker’s former swimmers heads to the Olympics–Bacon, a rising sophomore at the University of Wisconsin.  She’ll be competing later in the week and Walker believes this will give her a chance to shake out any nerves and swim confidently.

Ledecky Was Bacon’s ‘Buddy’ at Little Flower School

One of the most memorable parts of each Olympic games is watching the family of the Olympians cheer on their athletes. This year, because of coronavirus concerns, spectators, including family members, are not allowed to attend the games in Tokyo.

Philippa Bacon, proud mother of Phoebe Bacon, said she’s somewhat relieved to watch from her home in Chevy Chase. She said watching her daughter compete in the Olympic trials had been so stressful.


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Philippa Bacon said her daughter has actually known Ledecky since grade school. They both attended Little Flower School in Bethesda and when Phoebe Bacon was in pre-kindergarden, Ledecky was her fourth grade “buddy.”

“I think they have a good support system for each other,” Philippa Bacon said. “They are going to be cheering for each other.”

The Olympic opening ceremony begins Friday and Stone Ridge Head of School Catherine Ronan Karrels could not be more proud to watch the two alumnae represent Team USA. This alone is “an astounding accomplishment,” Karrels said.

Walker believes his former athletes are “very well equipped to do very well in Tokyo.” When asked if there was anything in Stone Ridge’s pool water causing so many swimmers to make it to the Olympic Games, Walker offered no denial.

“So there is something in the water,” he admitted. “And you have to come here to Stone Ridge to find out what that is.”

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