Shirley babashoff



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SUPERSTARS: U.S. swimmers who dominated the world

SHIRLEY BABASHOFF


(B:1/31/57- )

Has earned eight Olympic medals, which puts her third on the list of most medals among U.S. women. In the 1972 Olympics, she earned silver medals in the 100m free and 200m free and a gold in the 400m free relay. In the 1976 Olympics, she earned silvers in the 200m, 400m and 800m free and 400m medley relay, as well as a gold in the 400m free relay. She has been a part of 11 world records, six individual, and 17 American records. At the 1973 World Championships, she won gold in the 200m free and 400m free. At the 1975 World Championships, she won gold in both the 200m free and 400m free. She was named the 1974 Sportswoman of the Year.



CATIE BALL


(B:9/30/51- )

Broke the 100m breast world record five times and the American record seven times. She held the 200m breast world record for seven years (1967-‘74) and the U.S. record nine years (1966-‘75). At the 1968 Olympics, Ball, the world record-holder at the time, had to withdraw from the 200m breast when she contracted a viral infection.


MIKE BARROWMAN

(B:12/04/68- )

Won the gold medal in the 200m breast in world record time at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He broke the world record in that event six times following the 1988 Olympics where he finished sixth. He is the only three-time recipient of the USS Swimmer of the Year award (1989-’91).



SYBIL BAUER


(B:9/18/03-D:1/31/27)

Considered to be the first great backstroker. Going into the 1924 Olympics, she held world records at every backstroke distance, and she became the 1924 Olympic champion in the 100m back. She set 23 world records in her six-year career. In 1922, she became the first woman in the world to break an existing men’s record – Stubby Kruger’s 440y back by four seconds. She was engaged to Ed Sullivan when she was stricken with cancer. She died at age 22.


MELISSA BELOTE

(B:10/10/56- )

Won three gold medals in the 1972 Olympics in the 100m and 200m back and as a member of the 400m medley relay. Apart from Shane Gould, the 15-year-old Belote was the only woman swimmer to win more than one individual title in Munich. In finals at the Olympic Trials, she was a little-known outsider, but beat U.S. record holder Susie Atwood in the 100m back and then the 200m back in world record time. At the 1972 Olympics, she lowered her own world record mark in the 200m back and went on to win the same event at the 1973 World Championships. In 1976, she made the Olympic team for the second time and placed fifth in the 200m back.


MATT BIONDI

(B:10/8/65- )

Earned the most medals of any Olympian in history with 11, tying Mark Spitz and shooter Carl Osburn. Along with teammate Tom Jager, Biondi became the first U.S. swimmer to win gold medals in three Olympiads and to win the same Olympic event three times. Both he and Jager swam on 400m free relay teams that won gold in 1984, ‘88 and ‘92. He was one of only six U.S. Olympic male swimmers to compete on three Olympic teams. He broke seven world records and 16 American records. He earned 15 international individual titles, 17 U.S. National titles and eight NCAA titles. At one time, he was the American record-holder in the 100 and 200 free – both yards and meters. Currently, he still holds the 200y free American record, which has stood since 1987.


ETHELDA BLEIBTREY

(B:2/27/02-D:5/6/78)

Won three golds in the 1920 Olympics in the 100m and 300m free and as a member of the 400m free relay. She was the first American woman to win an Olympic swimming title and also the first woman, from any country, to win three gold medals. In each of her Olympic victories in Antwerp, she set a new world record. She turned professional in 1922 and had a successful career as an athlete and coach. She was often in the news for incidents related to swimming, and in 1919, only public opinion prevented her from being jailed for swimming nude. She merely removed her stockings before going for a swim at a Manhattan beach, but in 1919 this was considered nudity.



MIKE BURTON


(B:7/3/47- )

Became the first person in history to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 1500m free (1968 and ‘72). He was also the 1968 Olympic champion in the 400m free. He was the first man to break 16 minutes in the 1650y free and 8:30 in the 800m free, and he set seven world records in the 800m and 1500m free.


RICK CAREY


(B:3/13/63- )

Was the 1984 Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m back and the 400m medley relay. In 1982, he was the World champion in the 200m back and a silver medalist in the 100m back. He set five world and American records and won 14 U.S. National titles in backstroke. In 1983, he went 1:58.93 in the 200m back and held the U.S. record in the 200m back from 1983-‘92.


TRACY CAULKINS

(B:1/11/63- )

Considered by many to be the greatest swimmer of all time. She qualified as a member of the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Games in Moscow. Despite this letdown in her career, she continued to swim competitively and went on to win three gold medals in the 1984 Olympics in the 200m IM, 400m IM and 400m medley relay. She held world records in the 200m fly and 400m IM and broke her record in the 200m IM three times. She held American records in the 100m breast from 1977-‘81, the 200m breast from 1977-‘81, the 200m butterfly in 1978, the 400m IM from 1977-‘84, and she still owns the U.S. Open record for the 200m IM that she set in 1984 but has held since 1977. She also owned a few short course U.S. Open records: 100y free, 500y free, 200y back, 100y breast, 200y breast, 200y IM and 400y IM. She is the only swimmer ever, man or woman, to own American records in every stroke. In 1990, USA Today named her Swimmer of the Decade.


BUSTER CRABBE

(B:2/7/10-D:4/23/83)

Was the only U.S. gold medalist (400m free) in men’s swimming at the 1932 Olympics. After the Games, he was signed by Paramount, who was looking for a rival to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan at MGM. The first of his 175 movies was "King of the Jungle" in which he played the role of Kasta, the Lion Man. Throughout his swimming career, he set 16 world and 35 national records.


ANN CURTIS

(B:3/6/26- )

Was the premier freestyler of her era. She won two gold medals at the 1948 Olympics in the 400m free and 800m free relay. She won 34 U.S. National gold medals, 26 of which were individual golds, during her career. Surprisingly, out of all these career victories, she only set two world records: in the 440y and 880y free. Out of nine AAU National meets, she won the High Point Trophy seven times. Curtis was one of the best-known sportswomen of her time and was the first female recipient of the Sullivan Award for the top amateur athlete.


CHARLIE DANIELS

(B:3/24/1885-D:8/9/73)

Was the first great American swimmer. He won four Olympic gold medals and 33 U.S. National championships. He was the first American to win a swimming event at the Olympics. He won the 220y and 440y free at the 1904 Olympics, the 100m free at the 1906 Olympics and the 100m free at the 1908 Olympics. He was named the 1909 North American Athlete of the Year by the Helms athletic board. He held every world freestyle record from 25 yards to one mile. Not only is he the man credited with evolving the American crawl from the two-beat Australian crawl, but also he is the man who gave freestyle speed swimming.


DONNA deVARONA

(B:4/26/47- )

Won 37 individual U.S. National championship medals, including 18 golds and three national high point awards. She held world records in eight long course events and American records in 10 short course events. She was the youngest American on the 1960 Olympic team and won two gold medals in 1964. She was considered the "Queen of Swimming" in her day. In 1964, she was voted America’s Outstanding Woman Athlete, Outstanding American Female Swimmer and received many other awards. In 1965, she was the first woman on network TV in the sports broadcasting field. Since 1968, she has covered each Summer Olympics.



TOM DOLAN


(B:9/15/75- )

Two-time Olympic champion in the 400m IM (1996 and 2000). He was also the 1994 and 1998 World champion in the same event. He held the world record in the 400m IM from 1994-2002. He was the first American to break two minutes in the 200m IM. In 1998, he became the first man to win four individual titles at a U.S. Nationals twice since Johnny Weissmuller did it in 1923-‘24. In 1995, he became the first man to break three American records in different events since Matt Biondi (1987). In 1994 and ‘95, he was named USA Swimming’s Swimmer of the Year.


GERTRUDE EDERLE

(B:10/23/06- )

In the 1924 Olympics, won a gold as a member of the 400m free relay and

two bronzes in the 100m and 400m free. She is best-remembered as the youngest woman ever to set a world record in the 880y free. She broke a total of nine world records during her career, seven records of various distances during one 500m swim at Brighton Beach in 1922. She held 29 U.S. National and world records from 1921-’25. Turning professional in 1925, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel. Her time of 14 hours and 34 minutes broke the men’s record for the crossing. She went on to become the female counterpart to Johnny Weissmuller in a series of Tarzan movies.
JANET EVANS

(B:8/28/71- )

Considered to be the greatest female distance swimmer of all-time. A three-time Olympian in the distance freestyle events, she was the first woman ever to win back-to-back Olympic and World Championship titles in any event (she did it in the 800m free). She earned four individual Olympic gold medals; Mark Spitz is the only other American to equal that feat. She also won a silver medal for a total of five Olympic medals. Evans earned 45 U.S. National titles and eight Kiphuth Awards for high individual points at a U.S. Nationals, second in both categories behind Tracy Caulkins on the all-time lists. She won the 400m and 800m free 12 times each, the most national titles in one event by any swimmer in history. When she retired following the 1996 Olympics, where she carried in the torch at Opening Ceremonies, she owned three world records and six American records. In 1989, she was recognized as the top amateur athlete in the country, earning the Sullivan Award and the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sportswoman of the Year, following her 1988 Olympic performance where she won three gold medals. Throughout her career, she won 21 international individual titles.


JEFF FARRELL

(B:2/18/37- )

Won two golds in the 1960 Olympics as a member of the 400m and 800m free relays. His career was riddled with injury and illness. He swam in the 1960 Olympic Trials only six days after an appendectomy. A favorite in the 100m free, he finished fourth, which put him on a relay. His quick recovery led both teams to world records. His career also included five AAU titles and a gold medal finish in the 1958 Pan American Games.


BRUCE FURNISS

(B:5/27/57- )

Won two golds in the 1974 Olympics in the 200m free and 800m free relay, both in world record times. The younger brother of Steve, he won nine AAU titles and six NCAA championships throughout his career. He emerged as a top American swimmer after placing second in the 200m and 400m free at the 1975 World Championships. Later that year in June, he set his first world record after posting a new best time twice in one day in the 200m free. In August, he went on to deprive his brother of the 200m IM world record in an AAU competition.


STEVE FURNISS

(B: 12/21/52- )

Was the 1976 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m IM. Five years older than his brother Bruce, he specialized in the IM, winning the 200m and 400m at both the 1971 and ‘75 Pan American Games. In 1974, he tied David Wilkie’s 200m IM world record before Bruce took over the record in 1975. Apart from being a medalist in the 1972 Olympics, he also swam the 400 IM in the 1972 and ‘76 Games, placing in finals on both occasions.


ROWDY GAINES

(B:2/17/59- )

Was a member of the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Olympics held in Moscow; however, he came back to win three gold medals in the 1984 Olympics in the 100m free and 400m free and medley relays. He held world and American records in the 100m and 200m free. In the 100m free, he held the world record from 1981-’85; in the 200m free, from 1980-’83. He set the American record in the 100m free for the first of three times in 1980 and held it until 1985. He also set the American record in the 200m free for the first of two times in 1980 and held it through 1984. Gaines is currently a television commentator for swimming broadcasts on ESPN and NBC.


BRIAN GOODELL

(B:4/02/59- )

Double gold medalist in the 400m and 1500m free at the 1976 Olympics. He was legendary for his tireless capacity in long-distance training. At the 1976 Olympic Trials, he broke both of his world records before breaking them again at the Olympics. A high school student at the time in Mission Viejo, he went on to attend UCLA. He made the 1980 Olympic team, but the boycott prevented the match-up between Goodell and Russian great Vladimir Salnikov in the 1500m free.



NICOLE HAISLETT


(B:12/16/72- )

Was a three-time Olympic champion in the 200m free and 400m free and medley relays at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. At the 1991 World Championships, she took first in the 100m free and 400m free and medley relays. She ended the 18-year East German reign in the 100m free at World Championships. She won four 200y free titles at NCAAs. She is the only American under 1:58 in the 200m free and has been the American record-holder in the event since 1992.


GARY HALL, SR.

(B:8/7/51- )

Set 10 world records in his career: eight in the IM events, one in butterfly and one in backstroke. He won 23 AAU events, seven NCAA championships while competing for Indiana and posted 23 American records. He competed in three Olympics and medaled in each. Although his career shows a forte in the IM events, he medaled in two butterfly events at the Olympics. He won silver in 1968 in the 400m IM, silver in 1972 in the 200m fly and bronze in 1976 in the 100m fly. At his third Olympic Games in 1976, he was given the elected honor of carrying the U.S. flag in the Opening Ceremonies.



JOHN HENCKEN


(B:5/29/54- )

Was a three-time Olympian, in 1972, ‘76 and ‘80. In 1972, he won gold in the 200m breast and bronze in the 100m breast; in 1976, gold in the 100m breast and silver in the 200m breast; in 1980, gold in the 100m breast. He was the 1973 World champion in the 100m breast and silver medalist in the 200m breast. He set seven world records in the 100m breast and five in the 200m breast. He held the U.S. record in the 200m breast for 11 years.



NANCY HOGSHEAD


(B:4/17/62- )

Made the 1980 Olympic team, but was unable to compete in Moscow because of the boycott. She retired in 1981, but then made a successful comeback in 1983. At the 1978 World Championships in West Berlin, she won silver in the 200m fly. At the 1984 Olympics, she qualified in five events and won four medals, more than any other swimmer. She tied for gold in the 100m free with USA teammate Carrie Steinseifer, won silver in the 200m IM and won two more golds in the 400m free and medley relays.


ELEANOR HOLM

(B:12/06/13- )

Won 29 U.S. National championships. In 1927, she won nine National golds in the individual medley. She held six world records in the backstroke, and her 100y back times held up for 16 years in the U.S. She was a member of the 1928 Olympic team and won a gold medal in the backstroke at the 1932 Olympics. She was expected to do well in the 1936 Olympics, but was disqualified for sipping champagne with officials on the boat to Germany while still in training. She became the swimming correspondent in Germany at the Olympics. Later she went on to marry noted band leader Billy Rose.


TOM JAGER

(B:10/6/66- )

Was a three-time Olympian who earned seven medals, including five gold. He ended his career at the 1996 Olympic Trials, where at the age of 31, he attempted to qualify for his fourth Olympic team. He was a leader in the world of swimming for post-graduates. He was the 1988 and ‘92 Olympic team captain and the 1991 World Championship team captain. When he retired, he was the world record-holder in the 50m free, a record he set in a nationally-televised match race versus his career-long nemesis and friend Matt Biondi. In the 1988 Seoul Games, Jager was second to Biondi in the 50m free. In 1992, Jager was third and Biondi was second in the Olympic sprint. He and Biondi are the only two Americans to win gold medals in three Olympiads; both did it in the 400m free relay (in 1984, Jager swam on the prelim squad and in 1988 and ‘92, he swam on the championship finals teams). In 1984 and ‘88, he won gold medals swimming in prelims of the 400m medley relay. He earned 11 U.S. National titles and five NCAA crowns.



LINDA JEZEK


(B:3/10/60- )

Another of many American swimmers hurt by the 1980 Olympic boycott. She was the 1978 World champion in the 100m and 200m back and 400m medley relay. She set the American record seven times in the 100m back and held the record for seven years. In 1978, she went under 2:12 in the 200m back for a world record and held the U.S. record for eight years. She earned 18 U.S. National titles in backstroke.


DUKE KAHANAMOKU

(B:8/24/1890-D:1/22/68)

Was the first of a long line of truly great Hawaiian swimmers. In 1911 in an open water swim, he bettered the 100y free record by almost five seconds. He was a three-time gold and two-time silver medalist in the 1912, ‘20 and ‘24 Olympics. In 1912, he won gold in the 100m free and silver on the 800m free relay; in 1920, gold in the 100m free and 800m free relay; in 1924, silver in the 100m free. Although viewed with skepticism by the AAU, he went on to set numerous world records. In 1932, after 10 years in Hollywood, he was an alternate to the U.S. Olympic water polo team. He also had the longest name in Olympic history; his full name is Duke Paoa Kahinu Makoe Hulikohoa Kahanamoku.


ADOLPH KEIFER

(B:6/27/18- )

Was a gold medalist in the 100m back at the 1936 Olympics. He was the first man to break one minute in the 100y back. Between 1935 and ‘44, he set 17 world records, none of which were broken until four years after he retired from swimming in 1946. After his career in swimming, he went on to serve in World War II as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He conducted a survey for them of the number of shipwrecks and documented the number of GI deaths from drowning. As a result, he was put in charge of swimming instruction for the entire U.S. Navy. He later formed his own company involved in the manufacturing of swimming pool accessories and other swim-related items.


CLAUDIA KOLB

(B:12/19/49- )

Was the 1968 Olympic champion in the 200m and 400m IM. She won the 200m IM by four seconds and the 400m IM by nearly 14 seconds, the most decisive women’s swimming victory in 40 years. She set five world records in the 200m IM and held the record for six years (1966-‘72). She held the U.S. record for eight years. She also set four world records in the 400m IM.



KRISTY KOWAL


(B:10/9/78- )

Silver medalist in the 200m breast, breaking the American record, at the 2000 Olympics. She was the 1998 World champion in the 100m breast and 400m medley relay. She also earned silver in the 200m breast. She became the first and only American to win a World title in the 100m breast, defeating the fastest field in history at the time. She was also the first American in 25 years to medal at Worlds in the 200m breast. In 2000, she was named NCAA Woman of the Year. She is currently the American record-holder in the 100 and 200 breast (scm and scy) and 200m breast.



LENNY KRAYZELBURG


(B:9/28/75- )

Was a triple gold medalist at 2000 Olympics, winning the 100m and 200m back, both in Olympic record time, and leading off the world record-breaking 400m medley relay. He was the 1998 World champion in the 100m and 200m back. He set the world record in the 50m, 100m and 200m back at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships. His 200m back swim at Pan Pacs was the first time a swimmer went under 1:56 in the 200m back. He swept both backstrokes at four straight U.S. nationals (1997-2000). Currently, he holds the world record in the 50m and 100m back (lcm and scm). He was a two-time USA Swimming Swimmer of the Year in 1999 and 2000.


LANCE LARSON

(B:7/03/40- )

Was a gold medalist in the 1960 Olympics in the 400m free relay and a silver medalist in the 100m free. His silver medal in the 100m free was one of the most controversial Olympic swim races ever. He was given a second-place finish against Australia’s John Devitt. They touched almost simultaneously with all watches in his favor, but the President of the International Swimming Federation gave the win to Devitt. Larson, the first man to break one minute in the 100m fly, won AAU titles in the freestyle, butterfly and IM events, setting five world and 12 U.S. records.


STEVE LUNDQUIST

(B:2/20/61- )

Was a member of the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games. He won two gold medals in the 1984 Olympics in the 100m breast and 400m medley relay. He was the first swimmer to break two minutes in the 200y breast. He won every 100y breast event he entered from 1980-‘83. At age 17, he broke his first world record, and throughout his career, he broke world and American records on 15 occasions. He first broke the 100m breast world record in 1982 and held it until 1989, with the exception of one month in 1984 when John Moffet held it. He also held the world record in the 200m IM in 1978. He set American records in the 100m and 200m breast and 200m IM.



HELENE MADISON


(B:5/19/14-D:11/26/70)

One of 11 swimmers in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. She was the 1932 Olympic champion in the 100m free and 400m free and medley relays. She was the first woman to swim 100 yards in one minute flat, and she set world records in 20 distances, from 100 yards to one mile. Her 1000y free and one mile records stood nine years.



ANGEL MARTINO


(B:4/25/67- )

Was the 1996 Olympic champion in the 400m free and medley relays and won bronze in the 100m free and 100m fly. She was the 1992 Olympic champion in the 400m free relay and won bronze in the 50m free. At the 1996 World Championships, she took first in the 100m back and 400m free and medley relays and won silver in the 50m and 100m free. She is a former world record-holder in the 100m back (scm). She is also a former American record-holder in the 100 (scm, lcm, scy) free. She has a total of six Olympic medals, which is fourth on the all-time U.S. list.


LEA MAURER


(B:4/1/71- )

Won a gold medal in the 400m medley relay and bronze in the 100m back at the 1992 Olympics. Was the 1998 World champion in the 100m back and 400m medley relay. She was the American record-holder in the 100m back until 2001 and held the mark for nine years. She first broke the mark leading off the medley relay in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Six years later at age 26, she reset the mark at the 1998 World Championships.


MARY T. MEAGHER

(B:10/27/64- )

Set her first world record in the 200m fly in 1979 and became known as "Madame Butterfly" shortly after. She became the third woman in swimming history to make three Olympic teams. She was on the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Games. In the 1984 Olympics, she won three gold medals in the 100m and 200m fly and 400m medley relay. In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, she won the bronze in the 200m fly. She won six NCAA individual awards. She still owned both the world and American records she set in 1981 in the 100m and 200m fly, until Jenny Thompson broke the 100m fly mark in 1999. Her 200m fly mark stood as the oldest world record in the books until it was broken in 2000. She also held seven world records and eight American records. She was a U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Representative and sat on the U.S. Swimming Board of Directors. In 1993, she won the U.S. Swimming/ Phillips 66 20th Anniversary Award for the most outstanding performance at a U.S. Nationals.


DEBBIE MEYER

(B:8/14/52- )

Was the first woman to win three individual gold medals in a single

Olympics. Despite her handicap of having a stomach infection at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, she went on to win the 200m, 400m and 800m free. In her career, she held 24 American records and 15 world records. She was named the 1967, ‘68 and ‘69 World Swimmer of the Year and received the Sullivan Award for top amateur athlete in 1968. She was the first woman to swim the 1500m free under 18 minutes, the 400m free under 4:30, the 500y free under five minutes and the 1650y free under 17 minutes.

BETSY MITCHELL


(B:1/16/66- )

Won a gold medal in the 400m medley relay and silver in the 100m back at the 1984 Olympics. She was the 1986 World champion in the 100m back and a silver medalist in the 200m back. In 1986, she went under 2:09 in the 200m back for a world record, a feat that only a few women have duplicated. She held the world mark until 1991 when backstroke rules were relaxed. Her time of 2:08.60 is the 10th-fastest ever and was the American record for 16 years.


JIM MONTGOMERY

(B:1/24/55- )

Won three golds in the 100m free, 400m and 800m free relays and bronze in the 200m free at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. In the 1973 World Championships, he gained stardom after winning two individual golds and three more as a member of winning relay teams. He set two world records for the 100m free in 1975 and bettered his world record time in both prelims and finals at the Montreal Olympics. Not only were his records broken, but also barriers in the event, when he became the first man to swim the 100m free in under 50 seconds.


PABLO MORALES

(B:12/5/64- )

Finished second in the 100m fly at the 1984 Olympics, where he was favored to win. In 1986, he set the world record in the 100m fly, which stood until 1995. Then, in 1988, Morales unexpectedly did not make the Olympic team, finishing third in two events. He retired from swimming to attend law school at Cornell University. In the summer of 1991, he returned to the pool and went on to win Olympic gold medals in 1992 in the 100m fly and 400m medley relay. He was named the 1992 U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year.


JOHN NABER

(B:1/20/56- )

Won four golds and a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics. His Olympic golds in the 100m and 200m back were in world record times. He also won silver in the 200m free and was on two gold medal-winning relays, both in world record times. In 1976 he was named Male Swimmer of the Year and also Southern California Athlete of the Year. At the 1977 Pan American Games, he won golds in the 100m and 200m back and 500m free. He received the 1977 Sullivan Award and the Trophy of the International Committee for Fair Play, the first time an American swimmer was honored. He was the first man to swim the 200m back under two minutes, the 200y back under 1:50, the 100y back under 50 seconds and the 100m back under 56 seconds. He was a member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games Organizing Committee. He now works as a commentator for ABC Sports.



ANITA NALL


(B:7/21/76- )

Was a 1992 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m breast. At the 1992 Olympic Trials, she broke the world record in the 200m breast twice, becoming the first American in 24 years to own the mark and the first woman to swim it under 2:26. She broke the U.S. record four times and held the mark from 1991-2000.



ERIC NAMESNIK

(B:8/7/70- )


Was the 1992 and ‘96 Olympic silver medalist in the 400m IM. At the 1994 World Championships, he took third in the 400m IM. He also won silver in the 200m and 400m IM at the 1991 World Championships. He set four American records, becoming the first American under 4:15 in the 400 IM, a record he held for nearly four years. He is one of only three American swimmers under 4:14.

SANDRA NIELSON


(B:3/20/56- )

Was the 1972 Olympic champion in the 100m free and 400m free and medley relays. She also won gold at the 1971 Pan American Games in the 100m free and 400m free relay and won silver in the 400m medley relay. She owned three world records in relays and four American records in the 100m free and three relays. She set world records in the 50m and 100m free for women aged 40-44 while competing at the U.S. Open in San Antonio in December 1996.


JON OLSON


(B:4/25/69- )

Was the 1992 Olympic champion in the 400m free and medley relays (setting world records in both events) and earned bronze in the 800m free relay. He also won two gold medals at the 1996 Olympics, swimming in the 400m free relay and prelims of the 800m free relay. He earned gold in the 400m free relay and prelims of the 400m medley relay at the 1994 World Championships. In 1998 at the same meet, he won gold in the 400m free relay. He shared in the 1995 USA Swimming Performance of the Year honors for setting the world record in the 400m free relay at the Pan Pacific Championships.




KRISTINE QUANCE-JULIAN


(B:4/1/75- )

Earned gold in prelims of the 400m medley relay at the 1996 Olympics. She was the former American record-holder in the 200m breast and a five-time Kiphuth Award winner. She joined Janet Evans (‘91), Sippy Woodhead (‘78), Tracy Caulkins (‘78) and Shirley Babashoff (‘75) as the only women to qualify for World Championships in four individual events (she did it in 1998). In 1993, she was third in the world in the 400m IM. In 1994, she was fourth in the world in the 200m breast. In 1997, she was third in the world in the 200m IM.


DICK ROTH

(B:9/26/47- )

Won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in the 400m IM. The night before the finals of this race, Roth was stricken by an attack of appendicitis, but refused an operation. He went on to swim finals and won the gold. At the start of the race in the 100m fly leg, he fell far behind his competitors, and did not gain the lead until the final 100m free leg. Throughout his career, he won six outdoor AAU titles before retiring at the age of 19.


KEENA ROTHHAMMER

(B:2/26/57- )

Won gold in the 1972 Olympics in the 800m free and bronze in the 200m free. She was best known for her unpredictable performances and versatile ability. As the third-ranked contender in the 800m free at the 1972 Olympics, she ended up winning the event and set a new world record. On the other hand, as the top-ranked U.S. qualifier for the 400m free, she only finished sixth. She went on to the 1973 World Championships as the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 800m free, but failed to medal. Then, in the 200m free as the second-place U.S. qualifier, she won. Finally, in the 400m free as the world record-holder, she lost to teammate Heather Greenwood. Since the end of her career at Southern California University, she has done commentary for swimming competitions on CBS.



JEFF ROUSE


(B:2/6/70- )

Three-time Olympic gold medalist. At his first Olympics in 1992, he won gold in the 400m medley relay and earned a silver medal in the 100m back. Then, in 1996, he was the Olympic champion in the 100m back and 400m medley relay. He was the 1991 World champion in the 100m back and 400m medley relay. At the 1994 World Championships, he was a silver medalist in the 100m back and a member of the 400m medley relay that took first. He was ranked No. 1 in the world for eight years in the 100m back and held the world record in the 100m back from 1991-1999. At one point, Rouse owned eight of the top 14 swims ever in the 100m back. In 2001 at the age of 31, he came out of a five-year retirement to attempt to become the oldest U.S. Olympic medalist.


SUMMER SANDERS


(B:10/13/72- )

Earned four medals at the 1992 Olympics, the most by a U.S. female swimmer since Shirley Babashoff in 1976. She was the 1992 Olympic champion in the 200m fly and 400m medley relay, a silver medalist in the 200m IM and a bronze medalist in the 400m IM. In 1991, she was the World champion in the 200m fly and also earned silver in the 200m IM and bronze in the 400m IM. She is the current American record-holder in the 200m and 400m IM, both since 1992, and the fourth-fastest American ever in the 200m fly.


MARK SPITZ

(B:2/10/50- )

Won nine golds, one silver and one bronze in the 1968 and ‘72 Olympics. In 1972, he became the first man to win seven golds in one Olympics, all in world record times. He won five golds in the 1967 Pan American Games. He also set 26 world, 24 National AAU Championships and 25 American records. He held eight NCAA titles and was a four-time NCAA champion in the 100y fly. He won the Sullivan Award in 1971 and was named the 1972 Swimmer of the Year. In 1991, he staged an unsuccessful comeback.


DON SCHOLLANDER

(B:4/30/46- )

Was a five-time Olympic gold medalist. In 1964, he won the 100m and 400m free and was on the winning 400m and 800m free relays. In the 1968 Olympics, he won gold on the 800m free relay and silver in the 200m free. He was the first to win four gold medals at one Olympics, and he would have won a fifth had the 200m free been an Olympic event in 1964. In the 200m free, he set nine world records between 1963 and 1968 and was the first man to break two minutes for that distance. Throughout his career, he also notched eight world records for the 400m free and swam on eight world record-breaking relay teams. He won 16 AAU titles and two golds in the 1967 Pan American Games.



TIM SHAW


(B:11/8/57- )

Won the 200m, 400m and 1500m free at the 1975 World Championships. To this day, he is the only American to win the 1500m free at Worlds. At the 1975 World Trials at age 15, Shaw broke the world record in the 400m, 800m and 1500m free. He is also a 1976 Olympic silver medalist in the 400m free.


JILL STERKEL

(B:5/27/61- )

Best-known as the first woman in history to be on four Olympic swimming teams (1976, ‘80, ‘84 and ‘88). She retired after the 1984 Olympics, but returned to competition in 1987. She qualified for the team after Angel Meyers tested positive for steroid use at the Olympic Trials. In the 1988 Olympics, she went on to tie for the bronze medal in the 50m free. Her time made her the sixth-fastest female in the 50m free and the second-fastest American at that time. Her career highlights also feature 15 U.S. National titles, 16 NCAA titles, five gold medals at the 1981 World University Games, five AIAW titles in 1980 and ‘81 and four Short Course National titles. Her college achievements earned her the Broderick Cup Award for the top female collegiate athlete. Sterkel is currently the co-head women’s swimming coach at the University of Texas.


MEL STEWART

(B:11/18/68- )

During his career, was the best interview in the entire Olympic Movement. His gift for gab and a quick one-liner came in handy as Stewart visited the post-race winner’s press conference on numerous occasions. He was a two-time Olympian, finishing fifth in the 200m fly in 1988. That defeat spurred him on to the 1991 World Championships, where he broke the world record and beat the 1988 Olympic champion, the legendary Michael Gross of West Germany, earning Stewart the Phillips Performance Award for the year. In 1992, he continued his worldwide dominance of the event by becoming the Olympic champion in the 200m fly. He also earned a gold medal swimming prelims of the 400m medley relay and a bronze in the 800m free relay. Stewart won the 200m fly 12 times, the most National titles in one event by any American man. In total, he won 14 U.S. National titles. Stewart, a gifted man, left swimming in 1996 after finishing third in the 200m fly at the Olympic Trials. He pursues writing screenplays and plays and is a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild.



ASHLEY TAPPIN


(B:12/18/74- )

Earned two gold medals swimming in the prelims of the 400m free and 400m medley relays at the 2000 Olympics. She also won gold in the 400m free relay prelims at the 1992 Olympics. At the 1991 World Championships, she won gold in the 400m free relay prelims. In 1998, she held a world ranking of fifth in the 50m free, sixth in the 100m free and fifth in the 50m fly.


JENNY THOMPSON


(B:2/26/73- )

Owns the most career Olympic gold medals for a U.S. female with eight. She has 10 Olympic medals, one more than Dara Torres, on the all-time U.S. list. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, she won three golds swimming on the 400m free and medley relays and on the 800m free relay, in addition to a bronze medal in the 100m free. She was the 1998 World champion in the 100m free, 100m fly and 400m free and medley relays. She has competed in seven Pan Pacific Championships, earning 25 total gold medals. She has won the 50m free at Pan Pacs five times. In 1992, she became the first American in nearly 60 years to hold the world record in the 100m free. In 1999, she broke Mary T. Meagher’s fabled world mark in the 100m fly. She owns 25 U.S. National titles. Currently, she holds the world record in the 50m and 100m fly. In 2002, despite being in her second year of medical school at Columbia University, Thompson continued training and competing.


KAREN MOE (THORNTON)

(B:1/22/52- )

Won the gold medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics in the 200m fly in a world record time of 2:18.15. She also swam the 100m back in the 1972 Games, finishing fourth. She made another Olympic appearance in 1976, finishing fourth in the 200m fly in Montreal in a new American record. Thornton was the head coach of the women’s swim team at the University of California at Berkeley and has since moved up to an administrative position with the University.



DARA TORRES


(B:4/15/67- )

Is the only American to swim in four Olympics. At the 1996 Olympics, she was a gold medalist on both world record-breaking relays (400m free and medley relays) as well as a bronze medalist in the 50m (American record) and 100m free and the 100m fly. She tied track’s Marion Jones for most medals in the U.S. delegation at the ‘96 Atlanta Games. She is the American record-holder in the 50m free and 100m fly and a former world record-holder in the 50m free. She owns the fastest American and second-fastest 100m free relay split in history. She came out of retirement in July of 1999, after seven years away from the sport. In 1994, Torres became the first athlete to appear with the supermodels in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.



MIKE TROY

(B:10/03/40- )

Won two golds in the 1960 Olympics in the 200m fly and 800m free relay. As a member of the Indianapolis Aquatic Club at the 1959 Pan American Games, he signed to attend Indiana University. At the Pan American Games, he was a silver medalist in the 200m fly and went on to win the gold at the 1960 Olympics. At both meets, he was also on the winning 800m free relay teams. He was a record-breaker his entire career in freestyle and butterfly events, winning two AAU outdoor titles. He also served as a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War.



AMY VAN DYKEN


(B:2/15/73- )

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, became the first American woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics, winter or summer, defeating China’s top swimmers in their best events (50m free, 100m fly and 400m free and medley relays). She also swam on the 400m medley relay that set the world record at the 2000 Olympics. She was the 1998 World champion in the 50m and 400m free and medley relays. She has set four American records in the 50m free. In 1996, she was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.


CHRIS VON SALTZA

(B:1/03/44- )

Was a five-time gold medal winner at the 1959 Pan American Games. She went on to further her career achievements by winning three golds and a silver in the 1960 Olympics. Her 400m free win at the 1960 Games was not unexpected because, at the Olympic Trials, she set a new world record of 4:44.5 to become the first woman to break the five-minute barrier. Besides her claim to fame as a five-time Olympic medalist, she was more properly known as the Baroness Von Saltza. Her grandfather, Count Philip, came to America at the turn of the century. Until this day, she is still recognized by her title name in the "Who’s Who of Swedish Nobility".



DAVE WHARTON


(B:5/19/69- )

Was a 1988 Olympic silver medalist in the 400m IM. He held world records in both the 200m and 400m IM. He held the 400m IM world mark for five days and set five American records in the same event, a standard he held for four years. He is one of six American swimmers under 4:16 in the 400m IM. In 1989, he went 2:00.11 in the 200m IM, which remains the third-fastest American performance.


MARY WAYTE


(B:3/25/65- )

Was the 1984 Olympic champion in the 200m free and 400m free relay. At the 1988 Olympics, she was a silver medalist in the 400m medley relay and a bronze medalist in the 400m free relay. She finished fourth in the 200m free.


JOHNNY WEISSMULLER

(B:6/02/04-D:1/84)

Won five gold medals at two Olympics. At the 1924 Games, he won the 100m and 400m free and was on the winning 800m free relay. At the 1928 Games, he won the 100m free and was on the winning 800m free relay. Throughout his career, he set 51 world records and won 52 National championship gold medals. He is the winner of 36 individual U.S. National titles. He never lost a race in his 10 years of amateur swimming at distances from 50 yards to a half mile. His record in the 100y free stood for 17 years. He also played on two U.S. Olympic water polo teams, of which the 1924 team won the bronze. After his career, he was best- known for his role as Tarzan on the silver screen.



SIPPY WOODHEAD


(B:2/7/64- )

Was the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the 200m free. At the 1978 World Championships, she won the 200m free and earned a silver medal in the 400m and 800m free. She broke East Germany’s Kornelia Ender’s world record in the 200m free and became the first woman under 1:59. She held the world mark for nearly six years. She also held the American record in the event from 1978-‘92. In 1978, she went 4:07.15 in the 400m free and sub-8:30 in the 800m free.




USA Swimming’s Fact Pack


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