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
(Won 28 Olympic Medals in Swimming)

Michael Phelps
10
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
(Swimmer)

Katie Ledecky
14
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 
Ryan Lochte
(Swimmer)

Ryan Lochte
8
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.

 4 

Caeleb Dressel
10
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.

 5 
Mark Spitz
(Swimmer and Nine-time Olympic Champion)

Mark Spitz
6
Birthdate: February 10, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Modesto, California, United States

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!

 6 
Adam Peaty
(Swimmer)

Adam Peaty
6
Birthdate: December 28, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Uttoxeter Uttoxeter, England
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 7 

Missy Franklin
8
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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 8 

Katinka Hosszu
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pécs, Hungary
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 9 
Sun Yang
(Swimmer)

Sun Yang
4
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.

 10 
Chad le Clos
(Swimmer)

Chad le Clos
4
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.

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 11 

Natalie Coughlin
4
Birthdate: August 23, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vallejo, California, United States

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 
Nathan Adrian
(Five-time Olympic gold medalist Swimmer who formerly held the American record in the long course 50-meter freestyle event)

Nathan Adrian
4
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.

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 13 
Dara Torres
(Swimmer, Model)

Dara Torres
6
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. 

 14 
Amy Van Dyken
(Swimmer)

Amy Van Dyken
4
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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 15 
Dawn Fraser
(Swimmer)

Dawn Fraser
4
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 
Rowdy Gaines
(Swimmer)

Rowdy Gaines
4
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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 17 

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

 18 
Janet Evans
(Swimmer)

Janet Evans
3
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.

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 19 
Grant Hackett
(Swimmer)

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

 20 

Jenny Thompson
5
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.

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 21 

Stephanie Rice
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brisbane

 22 
Shane Gould
(Swimmer)

Shane Gould
3
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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 23 
Ian Thorpe
(Swimmer, Autobiographer)

Ian Thorpe
4
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. 

 24 
Matt Biondi
(Swimmer)

Matt Biondi
3
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 
Esther Williams
(Former swimmer who became a movie icon in aqua musicals)

Esther Williams
4
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. 

 26 
Dana Vollmer
(Swimmer)

Dana Vollmer
3
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.

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 27 

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

 28 
Laszlo Cseh
(Swimmer)

Laszlo Cseh
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
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 29 

Alexander Popov
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lesnoy, Russia

 30 
Jason Lezak
(Swimmer)

Jason Lezak
3
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.

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 31 
Estella Warren
(Actress, Model and Swimmer Known for Her Roles in Films: ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Tangled’)

Estella Warren
4
Birthdate: December 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Peterborough, Canada

Pin-up girl Estella Warren had been a Canadian swimming champion before she was scouted by an agent and sent to New York. An international model who has topped Maxim’s Hot 100 Women of 2000 list, Warren has also appeared in films such as Planet of the Apes.

 32 

Duke Kahanamoku
9
Birthdate: August 24, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Haleʻākala, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
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.

 33 

Rebecca Adlington
4
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!

 34 
Victoria Arlen
(Former American Paralympian Swimmer and Current Television Personality for ESPN)

Victoria Arlen
4
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.

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 35 
Leisel Jones
(Swimmer)

Leisel Jones
5
Birthdate: August 30, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Katherine

 36 
Aaron Peirsol
(Swimmer)

Aaron Peirsol
3
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.

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 37 

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

 38 
Buster Crabbe
(Swimmer)

Buster Crabbe
6
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.

 39 

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

 40 
Johnny Weissmuller
(Olympic Swimmer and Actor Who Played Tarzan)

Johnny Weissmuller
4
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.

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

 42 
Rebecca Soni
(Swimmer)

Rebecca Soni
3
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.

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

 44 
Summer Sanders
(Swimmer, Television actor)

Summer Sanders
4
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.

 45 

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

 46 

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

 47 
João Havelange
(7th President of FIFA)

João Havelange
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro
Died: August 16, 2016

 48 
Gary Hall Jr.
(Swimmer)

Gary Hall Jr.
3
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.

 49 
Diana Nyad
(Journalist, Squash player, Motivational speaker)

Diana Nyad
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City

Diana Nyad is an American journalist, author, long-distance swimmer, and motivational speaker. She achieved national recognition when she swam around Manhattan in 1975. Nyad made headlines again in 1979 when she swam from Bimini to Juno Beach. In 1986, Diana Nyad was inducted into of the US National Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

 50 

Kosuke Kitajima
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan