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Swimming is a popular water-based sport all over the world. It is also one of the most difficult sports, which requires extreme fitness and determination. Swimming is probably the most exciting sport event in Olympic games, both male and female division. There are almost 16 recognized events of swimming, held in a 50 meter pool. Swimming is one of the most watched events in summer Olympic games every time. Over the course of time, there have been many famous swimmers, who are considered as the most respected athletes in the world. Our today’s article is all about the top 10 best olympic swimmers of all-time.
All these swimmers are the best in their individual style. They are the perfect athletes having the taste of success at the peak. Our list was made according to their achievements in the Olympic games, the ultimate platform to perform. All of them are incredibly strong performers and skilled swimmers.
Top 10 Best Olympic Swimmers of All-time
10. Johnny Weissmuller
Full name: Johan Peter Weissmuller
Place of birth: Romania
Years active: 1929-1976
Olympic medals: 5 Gold medals, 1 bronze medal
Johnny Weissmuller was best known for playing Tarzan in films of 1930s and 1940s. he was also the best competitive swimming records holder of 20th century. Johnny was one of the fastest swimmers in 1920s. He attained 5 Olympic gold medals in swimming and 1 bronze in water polo. Alongside Olympic, he also won fifty-two US Swimming Championships and set more than fifty world records there. He was the best glamorous swimmer with a celebrity status. Johnny Weissmuller is the no. 10 in our list of best Olympic swimmers of all-time.
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9. Alexander Popov
Full name: Alexander Vladimirovich Popov
Place of birth: Lesnoy, Soviet Union
Age: 44 years
Olympic medals: 4 Gold medals, 5 silver medals
Alexander Popov is widely regarded as the greatest sprint freestyle swimmer in the world. He is still the only swimmer in the Olympic history to achieve four gold medals in freestyle events. He started his training at the age of just 8 and later moved to Australia for advanced training in swimming. In 1992 Barcelona Olympic, he won 2 gold medals in 50 m and 100 m freestyle and in 1996 Atlanta Olympic, he repeated it to make history. One month after the Atlanta Olympic, he was stabbed brutally by the street vendors, which threatened his life. He had to undergo surgery and recovered successfully. As soon as he gained his strength, he started to swim again. His return was so remarkable as everyone thought he’ll surely retire. Next year, he defended his 50 m and 100 m freestyle record in world championship.
8. Gary Hall Jr.
Full name: Gary Wayne Hall Jr.
Place of birth: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Age: 41 years
Olympic medals: 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
Gary Hall Jr. is a famous Olympic swimmer. He achieved 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals participating in summer Olympics. He represented United States at 1996, 2000 and 2004 summer Olympic games. Gary Hall Jr. is well known for his “pro-wrestling like” antics in swimming competitions. He used to shadow boxing and flexing for the audiences. His father, Gary Hall Sr. was also a Olympic swimmer. Gary Hall along with his father established the famous “Race Club”, which serves as a training camp for the best swimmers around the world. He is one of the best Olympic swimmers with most colorful personality. He earned immense popularity among his fans worldwide.
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7. Aaron Peirsol
Full name: Aaron Wells Peirsol
Place of birth: Irvine, California, USA
Age: 32 years
Olympic medals: 5 gold medals and 2 silver medals.
The former American swimmer, Aaron Peirsol is basically a backstroke specialist. He is the former world champion and world record holder in Olympic. He currently holds world records in 100 m and 200 m backstroke events in world swimming. He participated in three summer Olympic games and won five gold medals and two silver medals for United States. He also won a total of 36 medals in major swimming competitions. After announcing the retirement, Peirsol is now involved in number of charities. Currently, he is acting as an ambassador for the Global Water Foundation.
6. Denis Pankratov
Full name: Denis Pankratov
Place of birth: Volgograd, Russia
Age: 41 years
Olympic medals: 2 Gold medals and 1 silver medal
The former Russian swimmer Denis Pankratov is widely famous for winning the butterfly double at 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He won 100 m event while swimming more than 25 m underwater in the first lap and then another 15 m in opposite direction underwater. It was regarded as one of the unique events in Olympic games. Pankratov has developed his swimming skill into the butterfly event since childhood. Now, he is regarded as the best butterflier in the world. Before he got retired in 2002, Pankratov set seven world records in swimming. Denis Pankratov was named male Swimmer of the Year twice, in 1995 and 1996. He is at no. 6 in our list of top 10 best Olympic swimmers of all-time.
5. Ryan Lochte
Full name: Ryan Steven Lochte
Place of birth: Rochester, New York, USA
Age: 31 years
Olympic medals: 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 3 bronze medals
Ryan Lochte represents United States in the Olympic games. He is one of the dominant American swimmers, winning total 11 Olympic medals , which include 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze. He currently holds the world records in 4×200 m freestyle relay, 100 m, 200 m and 400 m individual medley. Lochte achieved World Swimmer of the Year award twice. Lochte started training swimming at the age of five by both of his parents. His father, Steven R. Lochte was his first swimming coach. The 31- year old is looking to gain more success in swimming pool. Hopefully, he will be taking part in upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, representing United States.
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4. Matt Biondi
Full name: Matthew Nicholas Biondi
Place of birth: Moraga, California, USA
Age: 50 years
Olympic medals: 8 gold medals, 2 silver medals, 1 bronze medals
The former American swimmer Matt Biondi stands at no. 4 in our list of top 10 best Olympic swimmers of all-time. He competes in three Olympic games and achieved a total of 11 medals. He set three individual world records in 50 m freestyle and another four in 100 m freestyle. 1988 Seoul Olympic was the remarkable one for him as he won five gold medals and set a new world record in 50 m freestyle event. Biondi competed in world championship between 1986 to 1991 and won six gold medals. Matt Biondi is the member of International Swimming Hall of Fame. In recent years, he is working as a school teacher and a swimming coach in Hawaii.
3. Mark Spitz
Full name: Mark Andrew Spitz
Place of birth: Modesto, California, USA
Age: 66 years
Olympic medals: 9 Gold medals, 1 silver medal and 1 bronze medal.
The former American top Olympic swimmer, Mark Spitz is a nine-time Olympic gold medalist and an outstanding career holder. 1972 Munich Olympic was the most notable for him as he set new world record in all seven events of swimming he participated there. His remarkable Olympic career is graced with 9 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. He is the 3rd best Olympic swimmers to achieve 9 gold medals. Mark Spitz also achieved 5 Pan Americans golds, 31 Amateur Athletic Union titles and 8 NACC titles. He was named World Swimmer of the Year three times notably in 1969, 1971 and 1972. He was the most decorated athlete until Michael Phelps broke his 7-gold record in 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is at no. 3 in our list of top 10 best olympic swimmers of all-time. Mark Spitz is a name of swimming legend.
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2. Ian Thorpe
Full name: Ian James Thorpe
Place of birth: Sydney, Australia
Age: 33 years
Olympic medals: 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 1 bronze medal
Australian legendary swimmer, Ian Thorpe aka “Thorpedo” is a specialist in freestyle swimming. He holds the record by achieving most gold medals as an Australian athlete with 5 golds. He was the most successful athlete at 2000 Sydney Olympic games. Ian Thorpe is the youngest male athlete ever representing Australia at just 14 years old. He is also the first person to achieve six gold medals in world swimming competition. He has achieved eleven gold medals in World Championship so far which is still now the third highest of any swimmer. He was awarded the World Swimmer of the Year for a record four times. He has emerged as a philanthropist and runs a charity named “Ian Thorpe’s Foundation for Youth”.
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1. Michael Phelps
Full name: Michael Fred Phelps
Nicknames: The Baltimore Bullet, the Flying Fish
Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Age: 30 years
Olympic medals: 18 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals
Michael Phelps is the top Olympic swimmer in our list. He is considered as the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 22 Olympic medals in his three Olympic appearances. He currently holds the record of winning most Olympic gold medals (11) in individual events. The 2008 Beijing Olympic was the most memorable for him as he created the record of most first-place finishes (8) at any single summer Olympic games. Michael Phelps was named World Swimmer of the Year for a record seven times. His record breaking performances in all class of competitive swimming earned him the status of best American swimmer ever. He is a complete athlete who has achieved everything. Michael Phelps is the no. 1 in our list of top 10 best olympic swimmers of all-time. He is preparing for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic. The whole world will be waiting to see what Michael Phelps would do in his probable last Olympic.