If you are someone who loves participating in sports, but wants to be the one who gets all the glory for your hard work, swimming is a great sport to consider.
Some of the most popular athletes of all time have been swimmers who went from local swimming classes to representing their nation at the Olympics and other world competitions. Here are the five greatest swimmers of all time, and the impact they had on the sports.
Michael Phelps is not only one of the best swimmers of all time, but he may make his case for the top spot. Making his first appearance in the Olympics at the age of 15 in Sydney, Phelps has set records in nearly every swimming event he takes part in, all while becoming a household name across the world. At those games in Sydney he set the record in the 200 m Butterfly and then in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Phelps won 6 gold medals and 8 in total.
Some of those records that Phelps has beaten were once set by Mark Spitz. Spitz is another name that is atop the list of best of all time, winning 11 Olympic medals during his time in the sport. By the age of 10, Spitz was already making a name for himself by winning competitions that were set for 17-year-old national athletes. After retiring from swimming at 22, Spitz went on to be a part of the entertainment industry, proving that there is life after the Olympics.
One of the greatest women swimmers of all time is Jenny Thompson. Thompson participated in four Olympic games from 1992-2004. Thompson’s first international experience was at the Pan American Games at the age of 14, when she won a gold medal. In 1999, Thompson was also named the Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine.
Amy Van Dyken
Amy Van Dyken became a household name and a darling story during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The national hometown favorite, Van Dyken would win four Olympic medals that summer, and two more four-years later in Sydney. It was later revealed that Van Dyken had severe asthma, making her story as a world-class athlete even more inspirational.
Ian James Thorpe
James ‘The Thorpedo’ Thorpe won nine Olympic medals in two different games, including five gold. This Australian swimmer set records in the 200 and 400-meter Freestyle events during his career. He was also named World Swimmer of the Year four times while he was active.
Every four years, swimmers from across the world come into the national spotlight. But for every day in between, they are training as hard as they can to get to this spotlight. These swimmers are some of the best to excel at what they did and showed that their hard work paid off.