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Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World of All Time | Greats of this sport

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Swimming is a racing sport that requires the use of one’s entire body to move through the water. It is either an individual or team event. One of the most popular events in the Olympics, competitive swimming has multiple facets and events, such as butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley. Apart from these individual events, competitors can also take part in team events such as freestyle or medley relay. In a medley relay, four swimmers each swim a different stroke, in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Swimming involves some specific set of techniques, skills, and equipment. Throughout the years, some athletes have left their mark in the field of swimming. Let us take a look at some of the best swimmers in the world.

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World Ever

RankName of the Swimmer
1Michael Phelps
2Mark Spitz
3Matt Biondi
4Ian Thorpe
5Dara Torres
6Natalie Coughlin
7Amy Van Dyken
8Ryan Lochte
9Kristin Otto
10Janet Evans

Janet Evans 

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World of All Time | KreedOn
Image Source- Swimming World News

Starting off the list of the best swimmers in the world is Janet Evans. Janet’s forte is long-distance swimming. She has dominated in this arena and has won numerous records and accolades throughout her career. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she set a record in the 400m freestyle which stood unbroken for eighteen years, a true testament to her sheer grit and talent. It was only in 2006 that Laure Manaudou managed to break this record. Janet had also managed to win gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle at Seoul. She was the first female swimmer to win back-to-back gold. She is the winner of five Olympic medals (4 golds and 1 silver).

Kristin Otto

Image Source- Wikipedia
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At number nine, we have German swimmer, Kristin Otto. Boasting one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport, she fractured her vertebra in 1985. However, she overcame all the hurdles and obstacles to come back strong in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and announced her return fantastically. In the same Olympics, she won six gold medals. In doing so, she became the first female to win six gold medals in a single edition of the Olympics. She had also set records in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, and 100m butterfly events.


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Ryan Lochte

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World of All Time | KreedOn
Image Source- The Quint

Making his way into number eight is Ryan Lochte. Though he stirred up some controversy during the 2016 Rio Olympics and landed himself in hot water, there is no denying the fact that he is one of the best swimmers out there. Having set records in 100-meter, 200-metre, and 400-meter individual medleys, Lochte gave stiff competition to his fellow teammate Michael Phelps. He has a total of 12 Olympic medals to his name, which includes 6 Golds, 3 silvers, and 3 bronzes.

Amy Van Dyken

Image Source- USA Today

One of the most accomplished women swimmers of all time, Amy overcame asthma to win gold in the Olympic games. In Atlanta in 1996, Amy took the crown in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle, and 4x100m medley. In doing so, she became the first American female to take home such a tally from a single Olympics. She also returned to the Sydney 200 Games to defend other of her team titles.


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Natalie Coughlin

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the world | KreedOn
Image Source- Swimming World

At number six, we have Natalie Coughlin. With 12 Olympic medals to her tally, she is tied with fellow female swimmers such as Dara Torres and Jenny Thomson as one of the most decorated female swimmers of all time. In the Olympic Games held in Beijing, in 2008, Natalie became the first woman to defend the 10 m backstroke title at the Olympics Games after her previous victory at the same event back in Athens in 2004.

Dara Torres

Image Source- Forbes

At number five we have Dara Torres. She had made her comeback in the Sydney 200 Games, after seven years away from the sport, and she made a terrific comeback managing to secure medals. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she broke a century-old record held by Britain’s William Robinson to become the oldest athlete to win a medal (aged 41 years). She went on to dominate and win a total of 12 Olympic medals.

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Ian Thorpe

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the world | KreedOn
Image Source- The Independent

Ian Thorpe features in the list of best swimmers in the world of all time at number four. Nicknamed ‘The Torpedo’ for his astonishing speed, he is Australia’s most decorated Olympian. A specialist in freestyle swimming, he captured 3 golds and 2 silvers in Sydney, and also went on to add 4 more medals at the Athens Olympics. Though his career was cut short due to illness, he had already established himself as one of the greatest swimmers of all time.


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Matt Biondi

Image Source- Swimming World

A member of the Swimming Hall of Fame and a certified Olympic legend, Biondi went to the 1988 Seoul Olympics to dominate and managed to win 7 medals, 5 of which were gold. Nicknamed the ‘Californian Condor’ for his huge wingspan, he was touted to surpass Mark Spitz’s 7 gold haul. Matt retired with a splendid record of 11 Olympic medals from three editions of the games.

Mark Spitz

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World of All Time | KreedOn
Image Source- SuccessStory

Featuring at number two Mark Spitz, one of the most decorated swimmers of all time. His magnanimous feat of securing seven straight golds at a single Olympics at the 1972 Munich Games was long believed to be unbreakable. That was until Michael Phelps repeated and bettered it in the 2008 Beijing games. Nicknamed Mark the Shark, he had set numerous records throughout his career. Spitz goes down in history as a swimming legend, with 11 medals, nine of them being gold.

Michael Phelps

Top 10 Best Swimmers in the World of All Time | KreedOn
Image Source- SwimSwam

And topping the list is none other than Michael Phelps. A man who has dominated the field of swimming is undoubtedly the certified GOAT. Managing to win 6 golds and 2 bronze medals, he became the most successful athlete in Athens. He then goes on to repeat the feat in Beijing in 2008 as well as in London in 2012. He retired from the sport after winning a total of 28 Olympic medals (23 golds, 3 silvers, and 2 bronzes).

Top 7 Best Indian Swimmers of All Time

Shamsher Khan, Image Source- The News Minute
S.NIndian Swimmers
1Shamsher Khan
2Arati Saha
3Bhakti Sharma
4Virdhawal Khade
5Shikha Tandon
6Sandeep Sejwal
7Sajan Prakash

FAQ

  • Who is No 1 in swimming?

Michael Phelps who has dominated the field of swimming is undoubtedly the certified GOAT. He retired from the sport after winning a total of 28 Olympic medals (23 golds, 3 silvers, and 2 bronzes).

  • Who is the youngest swimmer to break a world record?

David Popovici, a 18-year-old Romanian is youngest male swimmer to break swimming world record since Michael Phelps.


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