Top 10 Male Swimmers of All Time
Swimming is a water-based sport which is popular all over the world, and considered to be one of the most difficult sport to play. It is an event in the Olympic Games in which swimmers, both male and female, can participate. There are 16 recognized events each for the male and female athletes, and these are held in a 50 meter pool, which is called a long-course pool. There are officially 40 events that are recognized, but the International Olympic Committee only recognizes 32 of them. Among the Summer Olympic sports, swimming is one of the most watched, and the swimmers are among the most respected athletes in the world. As they compete in different styles, they are required to be incredibly skilled. Let us take a look at Top 10 Male Swimmers of All Time.
Top 10 Male Swimmers of All Time
10. Johnny Weissmuller
Austro-Hungarian-American competition swimmer Johnny Weissmuller was with us from his birth on June 2, 1904 till he died on January 20, 1984. He is widely known for playing Tarzan in films of the 1930s. He also had one of the best competitive swimming records of the 20th century. Weissmuller is by far the best known Tarzan, though many other actors have also played Tarzan. He won five Olympic gold medals for swimming and one bronze medal for water polo during the 1920s. He also achieved 52 US National Championships and created fifty world records during his active swimming career. Weissmuller signed a contract as a model and representative of BVD in 1929 and later starred in six Tarzan movies for MGM. He is also known as an amateur golfer and participated in two official PGA Tour tournaments.
9. Alexander Popov
Former Russian competition swimmer Aleksandr Vladimirovich Popov was born on November 1971, and is widely regarded by many as the greatest sprint freestyle swimmers of all time. He is the only swimmer in the Olympic history to achieve four individual Olympic gold medals in freestyle events. He started training in the Fakel Sports Complex at the age of just 8 and later moved from Russia to Australia for advance training. Popov was inducted as a member of the International Olympic Committee in December 1999. He served as chairman of the RC Lokomotiv Moscow rugby league club in 2009 and is the member of the supervisory board of Adidas since May 2009. Sadly, Popov was stabbed in the abdomen with a knife a month after the Atlanta Olympics which sliced his artery and grazed one of his kidneys which he later recovered.
8. Gary Hall Jr.
Former American competition swimmer Gary Wayne Hall, Jr. was born on September 26, 1974, and is widely known for winning ten Olympic medals including five gold, three silver and two bronze while representing the United States at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Gary is popular for his “pro-wrestling like” antics as he frequently shadow boxing onto the pool deck in boxing shorts and robe. He with his father Gary Hall, Sr. established The Race Club to serve as a training camp for elite swimmers across the world before the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He received the Humanitarian Award in 2004 and was inducted in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in July, 2012.
7. Aaron Peirsol
Former American competition swimmer Aaron Wells Peirsol was born on July 23, 1983, and is widely known as a backstroke specialist who still holds the world record in backstroke events. He participated in three Olympic Games and won seven Olympic medals including five gold and two silver medals. Peirsol holds the world record in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke individual events. He achieved a total of 36 medals including twenty-nine gold, six silvers and a bronze medal in major international competitions such as the Olympics, the World championships, Pan American and the Pan Pacific Championships. He was debuted in the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of just 17 and achieved his first gold medal four years later at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Peirsol is now serving as an ambassador for the Global Water Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation.
6. Denis Pankratov
Retired Russian swimmer Denis Pankratov was born on 4 July 1974, and is widely known for winning the butterfly double at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. He won the event while swimming more than 25 meters of the first lap and then 15 meters in the opposite direction completely underwater which was unique in an Olympic event. He started training at the Volgograd club and achieved the Junior European Championships in the butterfly twice in 1990 and 1991 at the age of just 16. Pankratov won all three gold medals in the 1995 European Championships in Vienna. He also set world records in the 50 meter, 100 meter and 200 meter butterfly during his active swimming career. Pankratov was named the male World Swimmer of the Year twice consecutively in 1995 and 1996 by Swimming World magazine.
5. Ryan Lochte
American competitive swimmer Ryan Steven Lochte was born on August 3, 1984, and is an eleven-time Olympic medalist which includes five gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze medals. He achieved a total of 77 medals including 49 gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze in major international competition such as the Olympics, the World championships, Pan American and Pan Pacific Championships. Lochte holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay as a part of the American national swimming team, and also holds the record in the 100-meter individual medley and200-meter individual medley. He twice received the World Swimmer of the Year Award and the American Swimmer of the Year Award and became the FINA Swimmer of the Year three times in his career.
4. Matt Biondi
American former competition swimmer Matthew Nicholas Biondi was born on October 8, 1965, and is an eleven-time Olympic medalist. He is also the former world record-holder in five different events. He participated in the Summer Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and achieved eight gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze during that time. He is also known for creating seven individual world records during his active swimming career. Biondi won five gold medals and created new world records in the 50-meter freestyle event at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. He received the NCAA Swimmer of the Year thrice from 1985 to 1987. He won 11 medals in two World Championships. Biondi was inducted in the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and also in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
3. Mark Spitz
American former competition swimmer Mark Andrew Spitz was born on February 10, 1950, and is a nine-time Olympic champion. He created record after winning seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. He set new world records in all seven events he participated at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He achieved nine Olympic gold medals, a silver and a bronze between 1968 to 1972. Spitz also won five Pan American gold medals, 31 Amateur Athletic Union awards and eight National Collegiate Athletic Association titles during that time. He is also recognized for creating 35 world records during his active career. Spitz was named World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine three times in 1969, 1971 and 1972. He was ranked No. 33 on ESPN SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes 1999. He was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1977.
2. Ian Thorpe
Australian swimmer Ian James Thorpe born on October 1982, and specializes in freestyle. He also competes in the individual medley and backstroke. He holds the record of most medals by any Australian with five Olympic gold medals. He achieved three gold and two silver medals and became the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics. He became the youngest male ever to represent Australia when he was just 14 years old. Thorpe became the first person to achieve six gold medals in one World Championship in the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. He won eleven World Championship gold till now which is the third-highest of any swimmer. Ian Thorpe was also the first person to be named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year a record four times. He received the Australian Swimmer of the Year award from 1999 to 2003.
1. Michael Phelps
American swimmer Michael Fred Phelps II was born on June 30, 1985, and is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He achieved 22 medals in Olympic Games which include 18 Olympic gold medals. He also holds the record of most Olympic gold medals in individual events with 11 medals and most Olympic medals in individual events for a male with 13 medals. Phelps also created the record of most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games during his achievement of eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. He won a total of 77 medals which include 61 gold, 13 silver and 3 bronze medals in major international championships such as the Olympics, the World championships and the Pan Pacific Championships. Phelps was named the World Swimmer of the Year seven times and received American Swimmer of the Year Award nine times.
Swimming is a sport that is more like a performance, where there is no tool or accessory to enhance the performance. The performance of the others cannot change the game of a swimmer, unlike other sports. A swimming star is responsible for his own achievements, with no one else to give credit to or blame. These make swimming a one of a kind sport, and the swimmers, some of the greatest athletes in the world.