In 2006, 9-year-old Katie Ledecky met her one of her swimming icons: 21-year-old Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.
The picture from their meeting has gone viral, with a young Ledecky beaming from ear-to-ear as she stood beside Phelps at an autograph table. Fast forward 10 years, and while he's still one of her idols, they're now teammates and competitors as two of the world's fastest swimmers. In fact, Ledecky may be taking on Phelps' role after he retires, continuing in his path of leading the U.S. swim team to the gold time and time again.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 19-year-old took home four gold medals—three of which were for individual events—and one silver as a part of the 4x100 freestyle relay, breaking records along the way.
Thus, it's no wonder Phelps decided to switch roles with her while recreating their famous picture ten years later.
Instead of Phelps sitting at the autograph table this time around, Ledecky is the one making him smile as she signs a Rio poster.
The recreation is like a symbol for the future of U.S. swimming as Phelps makes his exit and Ledecky continues dominating in the pool.
"We are in great shape, not only with Katie but with the team that we have now,'' Phelps said on Today Monday. "Katie's doing her thing and she's breaking records every time she gets in the pool. It's been an honor for me to be a part of the team with her and some of the younger guys that we have coming up in the sport that are going to take over."
Still, Ledecky will continue to praise Phelps for his impact on her career.
"(Phelps has) had a huge impact on...a lot of the young swimmers on the team this year,'' Ledecky also told Today. "I started watching him when I was 6 years old when I was first starting to get in the sport and to be on the team with him has been such an honor."
She continued, "Not only to see his impact in the pool, but just here out of the pool as well. He's really been a leader on this team and that's why we came away with all these medals."
Phelps took home five gold medals and one silver in Rio—his final Olympic Games.