Top 10 Greatest Swimmers Of All Time

October 20, 2021 By Sourav

Top 10 Greatest Swimmers Of All Time

Playing underwater is difficult yet much impressive. Swimming is one sport which is popular among many and the ones playing it are highly enthralled by it. We bring you a list of the Top 10 Greatest Swimmers Of All Time who have earned their name in the history of swimming. Come, take a sneak peek, and enjoy the countdown!


Greatest Swimmers Of All Time | 2021 Updates

Here, we bring you an exciting article about top swimmers that are worth browsing through. The lovers of swimming will surely love reading it.


10. Grant Hackett



Hackett, born in 1980, is a famous Australian former swimmer. He is most known for winning the men’s 1500m freestyle race at both the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

He, thus, became the greatest distance swimmer in history. Hackett is a gold medalist. He achieved this in Sydney for swimming in the heats of the 4x 200m freestyle relay.

He is a world record holder in the 1500m and formerly in the 800m freestyle. Also, he has achieved 2nd and 4th position in the 400m and 200m freestyle, respectively.

Besides, in the past decade, he has ruled over the 1500m event standing undefeated in the finals of the World Aquatics Championship. All in all, he has won 10 World Championship gold medals. Besides, he now also holds his place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.


9. Alexander Popov



Aleksandr Vladimirovich Popov, or simply Alexander Popov, was born in 1971. This former swimmer from Russia is a gold-winning Olympian and is considered among the best sprint freestyle swimmers of all time.

One of his greatest accolades is that he is the only one in the history of both male and female swimmers to win four individual Olympic golds in freestyle events. Besides, he now also holds his place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.

When he was only 8 years old, he began swimming at the Children and Youth Sports School of Fakel Sports Complex in Lesnoy. Ironically, he was afraid of water at that time. However, due to his father's insistence, he continued with the sport and stayed with it.

He started as a backstroker but switched to freestyle after joining Gennadi Touretski’s squad. Popov later moved to Australia with his coach. He has several other medals and titles.


8. Matt Biondi



Matthew Nicholas Biondi, or simply Matt Biondi, is the former swimming champion from America. He was born in 1965 and is an eleven-time Olympic champion. He also formerly held world records in five events.

Matt competed in the Summer Olympic Games in ’84, ’88, and ’92. During his career, he set four individual world records in the 100m freestyle and three individual world records in the 50m freestyle.

In ’88, he won five golds at the Seoul Olympic Games and set world records in three relay events and the 50m freestyle. He is a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Hall of Fame.

He also has a master’s degree in Political Economy of Industrialized Societies and has worked as a school teacher and swimming coach. Matt now holds his place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.


7. Kristin Otto


Otto was born in 1966, and this former German Olympic champion is famous not just for her swimming skills and accolades but also for being the first woman to win six gold medals in a single Olympic tournament.

She did so at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Otto was also the first woman to cover the 100m short course backstroke in less than one minute, and she did so at a global short course meet in 1983 at Indiana University. Freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke were her specialties.

She began swimming at the tender age of 12, and by the time she was 16, she participated in her first world championship and the World Aquatics Championship in 1982.

Even though her career was marred when her alleged association with performance enhancement drugs was revealed, she still remains one of the biggest names in the history of women’s swimming and one of the richest swimmers of all time.


6. Krisztina Egerszegi



Egerszegi is a retired swimmer from Hungary who was born in 1974. This world record holder is counted among the greatest Olympic champions of the modern era in her country.

She is a five-time Olympic champion and is one of the only three individuals besides Michael Phelps and Dawn Fraser to win the same swimming event during three consecutive Summer Olympics. Krisztina is, without a doubt, the most successful female swimmer ever.

She is the only female swimmer to have won five individual Olympic gold medals. In the long course of 200m backstrokes, she held her record for almost 17 years.

In 2001, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and had been given honors like the Female World Swimmer of the Year, etc., several times.


5. Johnny Weissmuller


Weissmüller was born in 1904, and he was an Austro-Hungarian-born American swimmer and actor. Winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal, he was one of the world’s best swimmers in the 1920s.

Winning fifty-two US National Championships and having set sixty-seven world records, Weissmuller is a versatile swimmer of all time.

Besides his swimming career, he also played many roles as an actor. Portraying the role of a Tarzan, he showed his talent in twelve motion pictures or movies.

Johnny died in 1984. But still, he still holds his place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.


4. Mark Spitz



Spitz, born in 1950, is known by his nickname Mark The Shark. He is a retired American swimmer who has won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic gold medals, along with a silver and a bronze, five Pan American golds, 31 US Amateur Athletic Union titles, and eight US National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.

He, therefore, set 33 world records during these years. Spitz was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971, and 1972. Without any doubt, Spitz deserves a fourth place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.

Besides, his fans also dubbed him as one of the greatest Olympic swimmers of all time.


3. Ryan Lochte


Swimming superstar Ryan Lochte was born in 1982. He is an American competitive swimmer and has earned 12 Olympic medals. He holds the world record in the 4x 200m freestyle relay as part of the American team.

He also has seven individual Olympic medals, which rank near the top of the list of male swimming. Ryan holds the individual world record in the 100m medley, 200m medley (both long and short courses), and the 400m medley (short course).

He was given the American Swimmer of the Year Award and the World Swimmer of the Year Award twice. Ryan was also given the honor of the FINA Swimmer of the Year thrice.

He has 90 medals in major international swimming competitions, like the Olympics, Pan Pacific, Pan American, and World Championships. He now holds his place among the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time.


2. Ian Thorpe


Thorpe (nicknamed the Thorpedo and Thorpey) was born in 1982 and is a retired Australian freestyle swimmer. His winning five Olympic gold medals made him the most won Australian. He is also the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.

His achievement was seen at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. Ian Thorpe has won eleven World Championship gold medals, which is the second-highest number of any swimmer.

Moreover, he was the first person to have been named Swimming World's Swimmer of the Year four times and was the Australian swimmer of the year from 1999 to 2003. His proven abilities and athletic achievements made him one of Australia’s most popular athletes.

Ian Thorpe is, thus, recognized as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000. Besides being one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Thorpe is also dubbed one of the fittest athletes.


1. Michael Phelps


Phelps was born in 1985, and he is the American swimmer who has won 28 Olympic medals—six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008. He is also known by his nickname "The Baltimore Bullet" and is a highly competent swimmer.

At the 1980 Moscow Summer Games, he had twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin. Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics.

Michael Phelps has already marked his name as the most successful Olympic athlete of all time. Phelps had won the title of World Swimmer of the Year Award six times and the American Swimmer of the Year Award eight times.

He has won a total of fifty-nine medals in major international competitions; fifty gold, seven silver, and two bronze banging on the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships.



So, these were the top 10 greatest swimmers of all time. We hope you liked our list. And, don't forget to send us your opinion in the comment box below.


Greatest Swimmers In History | Infographics


FAQs Regarding Greatest Swimmers


Q. Who is the No 1 swimmer in the world?

Michael Phelps (United States) now holds the record for most titles in the history of the sport with eight. The second most frequent winner is Katie Ledecky (United States), who won in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Q. Who is the fastest swimmer in 2021?

Michael Phelps should move aside because Caeleb Dressel has entered the pool. In a single Olympic Games, this 24-year-old swimmer can become only the fourth swimmer in history to earn seven medals.

Q. Which country has the fastest swimmers?

The United States is the worldwide famous country to have the fastest and best swimmers in history with 462 Titles. In international swimming competitions, the US has won 462 titles, including medals at the Summer Olympic Games.

Q. Who is the fastest female swimmer in the world?

By winning the 100m free with a new Olympic record, Emma McKeon confirmed her status as the fastest woman on Earth. Until now, she is only the second female sprinter to swim in this event in under 52 seconds.

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