Swimmers

A swimmer is an athlete who swims, especially to participate in competitive swimming events. Swimming is a water based sport that became popular in the 19th century. As a recreational activity, swimming had been around for centuries; the earliest recorded evidence of swimming dates back to Stone Age paintings. In competitive swimming, the swimmers attempt to constantly improve upon one’s time or strive to surpass the competitors in a given event. The Summer Olympic Games include 16 swimming events for male and female athletes which are held in a 50-meter pool called a long course pool. The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the international governing body for competitive swimming. There are four major styles of swimming—freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly stroke. Competitive events may be held in one or all of these styles. Swimmers need to be powerful and need to create muscle power in order to build resistance. It is especially important for swimmers to have strong abdominal muscles. Due to their continued exposure to water and the sun, swimmers have to take great care of their skin and hair to prevent damage to them. This section provides you information about the life and works of various famous swimmers from all over the world.

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This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps
8
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: June 30, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

The most decorated and successful Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps is a former competitive swimmer who has won a total of 28 Olympic medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest athletes ever and the greatest swimmer of all time. He has several world records and Olympic records under his belt.

 2 Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky
10
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: March 17, 1997
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky has also won 15 world championship gold medals, creating a record. At 15, she was the youngest American Olympic swimming team member at the 2012 London Olympics. The 6-foot-tall athlete is also a Stanford graduate and was the youngest Time 100 member in 2016.

 3 Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz
6
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 10, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius

Best known for winning 7 gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Mark Spitz has been one of the most successful swimmers of all time. After retiring at then tender age of 22, he tried his luck I the entertainment world, appearing on shows such as Emergency!

 4 Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte
8
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States

Swimmer Ryan Lochte has won 12 Olympic medals, including six golds, and is the joint-second-most-decorated swimmer in the history of Olympics. He is known for his expertise in freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, and individual categories. He was suspended for vandalism while in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

 5 Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: December 28, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Uttoxeter Uttoxeter, England

 6 Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel
8
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 16, 1996
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Green Cove Springs, Florida, United States

Caeleb Dressel is an American swimmer. A seven-time Olympic gold medalist, Dressel became the fifth American to win five or more gold medals in a single Olympic event since 1970 when he won five gold medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics. He also holds world records in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter butterfly, and 100 meter individual medley.

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 7 Johnny Weissmuller

Johnny Weissmuller
8
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: June 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Freidorf, Romania
Died: January 20, 1984

Johnny Weissmuller was an American swimmer and actor. Although Weissmuller won five Olympic gold medals and set several world records during his illustrious swimming career, he is best remembered for his portrayal of the title role in the 1932 action-adventure film Tarzan the Ape Man. In 1965, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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 8 Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin
6
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: May 10, 1995
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States

Missy Franklin is an American retired competitive swimmer. A five-time Olympic gold medalist, Franklin also held the world records in both the 200-meter backstroke and the 4×100-meter medley relay. After winning four gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Franklin went on to help her team win a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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 9 Nathan Adrian

Nathan Adrian
4
Famous As: Five-time Olympic gold medalist Swimmer who formerly held the American record in the long course 50-meter freestyle event
Birthdate: December 7, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bremerton, Washington, United States

Nathan Adrian is an American swimmer who helped his team win a gold medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Adrian then went on to win gold medals in the 4×100-meter medley relay and the 100-meter freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In the 2016 Olympics, he once again helped his team win a gold medal.

 10 Sun Yang

Sun Yang
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: December 1, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hangzhou

Sun Yang is a Chinese competitive swimmer best known for winning three Olympic gold medals. Sun has also won 11 FINA World Championships and nine gold medals at Asian Games. Sun is the first man in the history of competitive swimming to win the World Championship and Olympic gold medals at every single freestyle distance between 200 and 1500 meters.

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 11 Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 23, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vallejo, California

Natalie Coughlin is an American retired competitive swimmer. A 12-time Olympic medalist, Coughlin became the first American female athlete in the history of the modern Olympics to win six medals in one Olympics event at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She also became the first woman to win gold medals in two successive Olympics, she won the mdeals in the 100-meter backstroke event.

 12 Katinka Hosszu

Katinka Hosszu
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: May 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pécs, Hungary
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 13 Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: April 12, 1992
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Olympic gold medalist South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who plays for the club Energy Standard, also holds records in the 50- and 100-m butterfly categories in the Commonwealth Games. He is one of his nation’s most-decorated Olympians but failed to get a medal in the 2020 Olympics.

 14 Dara Torres

Dara Torres
4
Famous As: Swimmer, Model
Birthdate: April 15, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beverly Hills

Dara Torres is an American retired competitive swimmer. A 12-time Olympic medalist, Torres won four gold medals in three different Olympic Games. In 2008, she became the first swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games, representing the United States. At the age of 41, Dara Torres was also the oldest swimmer to be a part of the U.S. Olympic team. 

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 15 Dawn Fraser

Dawn Fraser
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: September 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Balmain

Dawn Fraser is an Australian freestyle champion swimmer. She won the Olympic individual event the women's 100-meter freestyle three times in her career. She also won six Commonwealth Games gold medals. Much respected for her athletic abilities, she was also known for her controversial behavior. She became a swimming coach after her retirement. She is also a former politician.

 16 Amy Van Dyken

Amy Van Dyken
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 15, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

Amy Van Dyken is an American radio presenter and retired competitive swimmer. Van Dyken was the most successful sportsperson at the 1996 Olympics where she won four gold medals. In 1995 and 1996, she was named American Swimmer of the Year. Amy Van Dyken went on to win two more gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

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 17 Sarah Sjöström

Sarah Sjöström
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 17, 1993
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salem, Stockholm County, Sweden

 18 Rowdy Gaines

Rowdy Gaines
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 17, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida, United States

Rowdy Gaines is an American swimming analyst for NBC and retired competitive swimmer. Gaines won three gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He also won five gold medals at the FINA World Championships before becoming an analyst; he has covered swimming events at the Olympics since 1992. Rowdy Gaines is a member of the US Olympic Hall of Fame.

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 19 Janet Evans

Janet Evans
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fullerton

Janet Evans is an American retired competitive swimmer who won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. A former world record-holder, Evans went on to win another gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The winner of the prestigious James E. Sullivan Award, Evans was adjudged Female World Swimmer of the Year in 1987, 1989, and 1990.

 20 Shane Gould

Shane Gould
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: November 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shane Gould was 15 when she participated in the Munich Olympics. She stunned everyone with her early retirement at 16 and stayed away from the limelight for 25 years, eventually re-emerging after raising her four kids on an Australian farm and then breaking records at the 2000 Sydney Games.

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 21 Grant Hackett

Grant Hackett
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: May 9, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Southport

 22 Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: June 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brisbane
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 23 Jenny Thompson

Jenny Thompson
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Danvers

Known for winning more Olympic medals than any other female in the swimming category, Jenny Thompson had started swimming at age 7. She grew up to win swimming medals for Stanford University. She is also a qualified doctor and has practiced as an anaesthesiologist and surgeon.

 24 Matt Biondi

Matt Biondi
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: October 8, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Palo Alto

Initially interested in both swimming and water polo, Matt Biondi participated in his first swimming race at age 5. One of the greatest swimmers of all time, he has won 11 Olympic medals, of which 8 are gold medals. Post-retirement, he teaches math and works as a swimming coach in Hawaii.  

 25 Dana Vollmer

Dana Vollmer
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: November 13, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Syracuse

Apart from winning 5 Olympic gold medals, swimmer Dana Vollmer also created history when she became the first female to swim under 56 seconds in the 100m butterfly event. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age 15, she went through surgery and later carried a defibrillator around with her.

 26 Alexander Popov

Alexander Popov
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: November 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lesnoy, Russia
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 27 Leisel Jones

Leisel Jones
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 30, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Katherine

 28 Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco
4
Famous As: Princess consort of Monaco
Birthdate: January 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Charlene, Princess of Monaco, was once an Olympic swimmer and represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She met her husband, Prince Albert, at a swimming competition. She now owns the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and works for causes related to AIDS, sports, and underprivileged children.
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 29 Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe
4
Famous As: Swimmer, Autobiographer
Birthdate: October 13, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sydney

Ian Thorpe is an Australian retired swimmer who won five Olympic gold medals. He predominantly competed in freestyle but was also skilled at backstroke and the individual medley. He emerged as the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics, with three gold and two silver medals. He is openly gay and often talks about the challenges of being homosexual. 

 30 Bud Spencer

Bud Spencer
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 31, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: June 27, 2016
Italian actor Carlo Pedersoli, or Bud Spencer, gained fame with his Spaghetti Western and action-comedy films, teaming up with Terence Hill. Bud was also a skilled water polo player and an Olympic swimmer who specialized in 100-meter freestyle. He was a certified pilot and an avid philanthropist, too. 
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 31 Jason Lezak

Jason Lezak
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: November 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bellflower

Apart from winning 8 Olympic medals, of which 4 were gold medals, Jason Lezak also showed a keen interest in other sports such as basketball, water polo, and soccer, in his initial days. Post-retirement, he and his wife, fellow Olympian Danielle DeAlva began coaching children. He is also a motivational speaker.

 32 Laszlo Cseh

Laszlo Cseh
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: December 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

 33 Aaron Peirsol

Aaron Peirsol
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: July 23, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Irvine, California, United States

Swimmer Aaron Peirsol has 7 Olympic medals in his kitty, of which 5 are gold medals. The political science major enjoys surfing, too. An environmentalist, he also teamed up with Oceana to work for the Race for the Oceans campaign. His interests also include blues music, and he is already planning an album.

 34 Esther Williams

Esther Williams
4
Famous As: American swimmer
Birthdate: August 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, United States
Died: June 6, 2013

Esther Williams was an American actress, competitive swimmer, and businesswoman. When she couldn't realize her dream of participating in the 1940 Summer Olympics due to the outbreak of the Second World War, Williams went on to establish herself as an actress. She gained national recognition after playing Annette Kellerman in Million Dollar Mermaid and helped popularize swimming in the USA. 

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 35 Joseph Schooling

Joseph Schooling
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: June 16, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Singapore

 36 Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku
9
Famous As: Swimmer, Surfer, Actor, Water polo player
Birthdate: August 24, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Honolulu
Died: January 22, 1968

Duke Kahanamoku was an American competitive swimmer and surfer. He is credited with popularizing the ancient Hawaiian surfing. As a swimmer, Kahanamoku won three gold medals in two different Olympics. Kahanamoku was inducted into both the Surfing Hall of Fame and International Swimming Hall of Fame. He has been also inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame.

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 37 Victoria Arlen

Victoria Arlen
4
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: September 26, 1994
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Victoria Arlen is an American television personality currently working for ESPN. Apart from being a television personality, Arlen is also an actress, model, speaker, and former Paralympian swimmer. She is best known for overcoming two rare conditions that stripped her of her ability to walk, speak, eat, and move. In 2012, she participated in the Summer Paralympics, representing the USA.

 38 Inge de Bruijn

Inge de Bruijn
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barendrecht, Netherlands

 39 Shavarsh Karapetyan

Shavarsh Karapetyan
4
Famous As: Finswimmer
Birthdate: May 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vanadzor, Armenia

 40 Pieter van den Hoogenband

Pieter van den Hoogenband
3
Famous As: Dutch swimmer
Birthdate: March 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Maastricht

 41 Rebecca Soni

Rebecca Soni
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: March 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Freehold

The winner of 6 Olympic medals, 3 of which were gold medals, swimmer Rebecca Soni is a breaststroke specialist. She also became the first female swimmer to complete the breaststroke event in less than 2:20 minutes. Initially trained as a gymnast, she had switched to swimming at age 10.

 42 Rebecca Adlington

Rebecca Adlington
4
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mansfield

Rebecca Adlington made headlines with her double-gold win at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in which she aced both the 400m and 800m freestyle events. After retiring at 23, she has worked for BBC as a sports pundit and participated in shows such as I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

 43 Ragnheiður Ragnarsdóttir

Ragnheiður Ragnarsdóttir
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Reykjavík, Iceland

 44 Herbert Nitsch

Herbert Nitsch
4
Famous As: Aviator, Free-diver
Birthdate: April 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Austria

 45 Kieren Perkins

Kieren Perkins
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia

 46 Buster Crabbe

Buster Crabbe
6
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: February 7, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: April 23, 1983

Apart from being an Olympic gold-winning swimmer, Buster Crabbe later also became a well-known actor. He was seen in over 170 movies, with lead roles in series such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. The International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee had also penned fitness books and owned a swimming pool company.

 47 Summer Sanders

Summer Sanders
4
Famous As: Swimmer, Television actor
Birthdate: October 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Roseville

Summer Sanders is an American television personality, reporter, sports commentator, actress, and former competitive swimmer. Sanders won two gold medals at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. She then established herself as a sports commentator, covering swimming events for NBC in several Olympic Games.

 48 Krisztina Egerszegi

Krisztina Egerszegi
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: August 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

 49 Gary Hall Jr.

Gary Hall Jr.
3
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: September 26, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Apart from winning 10 Olympic medals, including 5 golds, Gary Hall Jr. is also known for his battle with Type 1 diabetes. He was born into a family of Olympic swimmers and was known for his signature boxer-like gestures he resorted to prior to every contest. He also survived a shark attack.

 50 João Havelange

João Havelange
4
Famous As: Swimmer, Water polo player, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro
Died: August 16, 2016
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