Top 10 Female Swimmers of All Time
Swimming is one of the biggest and the most popular events in the Summer Olympics. There are 16 recognized events in swimming foe each male and female swimmers at the Olympics, although officially, 40 swimming events are recognizable. Swimmers are among the highest medal winners at the Olympics for their nations. This holds true for female swimmers, as well. Just like male swimmers, female swimmers, too, have to put in a huge deal of energy and time into practice and physical fitness. They wish to give the best they can, because this is one sport where the athletes are responsible completely for their own achievements or failures, and cannot have other athletes’ performances influence theirs in any way. Let us take a look at the Top 10 Female Swimmers of All Time.
Top 10 Female Swimmers of All Time
10. Leisel Jones
Australian former competition swimmer Leisel Marie Jones was born on 30 August 1985, and is an Olympic gold medallist. She debuted at the 2000 Summer Olympics when she was just 15 years old. She achieved the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She was selected to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on 17 March 2012, and became the first Australian swimmer to participate at four Olympic Games. Jones was named Female World Swimmer of the Year in 2005 by Swimming World magazine. She became the face of the World Animal Protection Australia & New Zealand in 2009 for anti-whaling campaign. She announced her retirement on 16 November 2012. Jones appeared in the Australian version of “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” in 2015.
9. Inge de Bruijn
Dutch former swimmer Inge de Bruijn was born on 24 August 1973, and is a four-time Olympic champion. Bruijn is also a former world record holder and was nicknamed “Invincible Inky”. She made her debut at the World Aquatics Championships in January 1991 where she achieves a bronze medal. She then achieves the gold medal at the European LC Championships the same year in August. Bruijn made her Olympic debut at the 1992 Summer Olympics. She achieved gold medals in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle and the 100 m butterfly in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney while setting world records in all three events. Bruijn was named Female World Swimmer of the Year twice consecutively in 2000 and 2001 by the Swimming World. She is the second most successful Dutch Olympian of all time.
8. Kornelia Ender
Former East German swimmer Kornelia Ender was born on 25 October 1958, and became the first woman swimmer to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games at the 1976 Summer Olympics all in world record times. She won her first Olympic medals at the 1972 Olympics in Munich at the age of just 13. She broke 32 world records in individual events over the next following years of her debut in professional swimming. She created controversy regarding the illegal use of steroids in 1976 when she started to exhibits symptoms like deep voice and overdeveloped body. She was married for four years to multiple Olympic champion Roland Matthes and is now married to former East German track and field athlete Steffen Grummt.
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7. Dawn Fraser
Australian champion swimmer Dawn Fraser was born on 4 September 1937, and is one of only three swimmers to achieve the same Olympic event three times in a row which she did in the event of 100 meters freestyle. She is also known as a former politician. Fraser achieved a total of eight Olympic medals which include four gold medals. She also achieved six Commonwealth Games gold medals and held 39 records in her active career as a professional swimmer. She held the record of 100 meters freestyle from 1 December 1956 to 8 January 1972. She became the first female swimmer to cover meters freestyle under a minute in October 1962. Fraser was named Australian of the Year in 1964 and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1967. Fraser was named Australian Female Athlete of the Century by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
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6. Natalie Coughlin
Former American competition swimmer Natalie Coughlin Hall was born on August 23, 1982, and is a twelve-time Olympic medalist. She became the first woman to cover 100 meter backstroke under a minute just ten days before her 20th birthday in 2002. Coughlin became the first U.S. female athletic history to achieve six medals in one Olympiad at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She is also the first female swimmer to achieve 100 meter backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympiad. Coughlin is one of the only three women to achieve a total of twelve Olympic medals by an American woman. She also participated in Dancing with the Stars season 9 with season 1 professional champion Alec Mazo. Natalie Coughlin appeared in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
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5. Krisztina Egerszegi
Former Hungarian competition swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi was born on 16 August 1974, and is one of the greatest Hungarian Olympic champions of all time. She is a former world record holding swimmer and a five time Olympic champion in three Olympic Games. She made her debut at the age of just 13 in the 1987 European Aquatics Championships. Egerszegi won three individual gold medals at the 1992 Summer Olympics and became the only female athlete to achieve that feat. She is also the first and the only female swimmer to achieve 5 individual Olympic gold medals. Egerszegi is considered by many as the greatest female backstroke swimmer of all-time. She was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001. Egerszegi became the Hungarian Sportswoman of the Year a record seven times and became the Female World Swimmer of the Year three times.
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4. Amy Van Dyken
Former American competition swimmer Amy Deloris Van Dyken was born on February 15, 1973, and is a former world record holder in swimming. She is also an Olympic champion winning six Olympic gold medals in her career. She achieved four medals at the 1996 Summer Olympics and became the most successful athlete at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Dyken is also known as a national radio sports talk show co-host. She suffered from severe asthma in her childhood and advised to start swimming by her doctor to strengthen her lungs. Dyken won numerous awards for her contributing in swimming, which include the ESPY Female Athlete of the Year award, Swimming World magazine’s female Swimmer of the Year award and Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award. Dyken was also inducted in the list of Top 10 Women of the Year by the Glamour magazine.
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3. Kristin Otto
Former German Olympic swimming champion Kristin Otto was born on 7 February 1966, and was widely known as the first woman to achieve six gold medals at a single Olympic Games which she did at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. She is also the first woman to cover 100 meter backstroke under a minute which she did at the meet at Indiana University in 1983. She competed in her first world championships when she was just sixteen years old at the 1982 World Aquatics Championships and achieved the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke event. Otto is currently working as a sports reporter for German television after her retirement from active sports in 1989. She was named the Female World Swimmer of the Year thrice till now by the Swimming World magazine.
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2. Dara Torres
Former American competition swimmer Dara Grace Torres was born on April 15, 1967, and is a twelve-time Olympic medalist. She also held the world record-holder in three different events of swimming. She is the only swimmer in history to participate in five Olympic Games as a member of the United States team and also became the oldest swimmer to be inducted on the U.S. Olympic team at age 41. Torres won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics and won silver medals in all three events she participated at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Torres won at least one medal in each of the five Olympics she ever participated in her active swimming career. She is also the first elite swimmer to be appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in the 1994 edition. Dara Torres was inducted in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
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1. Jenny Thompson
Former American competition swimmer Jennifer Beth Thompson was born on February 26, 1973, and is regarded as one of the most decorated Olympians in history. She won twelve medals which include eight gold medals. She first won the 50-meter freestyle at the Pan American Games in 1987 when he was just 14 years old. Thompson achieved her first world championship in 1991. Besides her international appearances, she also swam for the Stanford Cardinal swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association. Thompson received the Honda Sports Award in 1995 as the outstanding college female swimmer of the year. She was named as the Female World Swimmer of the Year in 1998 by Swimming World Magazine and also became the Female American Swimmer of the Year thrice in her career.
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When it comes to Olympic medals, swimmers contribute to the earning of a large percentage of the medals won by a nation. These athletes, including the female swimmers, have to be fit and healthy, and always at their best game. Naturally, it is one of the most popular sports. The female swimmers, who also bring home several medals, are among the most popular female sports stars in the world.