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Female Olympic Swimmers

Female Olympic Swimmers

Throughout the years, the history books of swimming are filled with legendary female competitors. We are talking about women who changed their sport forever, obliterated records and put their countries on the map - on an Olympic level.

Five of the Best Female Olympic Swimmers Ever

Let’s take a closer look at five of the very best female Olympic swimmers across the years, and understand what makes them truly great…

Female Olympic Swimmers

Fanny Durack

No female swimming list would be complete without Sarah Frances (Fanny) Durack. The Australian swimming legend is the first ever female Olympic champion, taking gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Championships in the 100m freestyle.

Beyond this through-the-ages achievement though, between 1910 and 1918, Fanny was also the owner of every single female swimming record – all the way up to a mile. This feat would be near impossible today and for that, she deserves the first spot on this list!

Dara Torres

One of the most iconic swimmers of all time. Dara Torres had an illustrious and long career atop the Olympic swimming pantheon, as she won 12 (yes twelve!) Olympic medals. With some nice symmetry, four gold, four silver and four bronze, Dara won these at the 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008. Think about that for a second. Five Olympic games. At the 2008 games, she was 41 years old, making her the oldest swimmer to ever earn a place on the US swimming team.

Dara, we salute you and we desperately want you to share with us the secret location of the youth fountain because evidently, you know where it is!

Jessica Long

Born in 1992, Jessica Long is one of the greatest Paralympic swimmers to ever compete. A Russian-American who hails from Baltimore in Maryland – was officially born Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova. She spent time in foster care before being adopted at 13 months old by her American parents. Before she was two, Jessica was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia. This meant her lower legs had to be amputated if she was to survive.

And survive she did! Thrive in fact – as Jessica is a true symbol of overcoming adversity and grabbing success with sheer dedication and passion. Throughout her career, Jessica Long has won 29 medals, with 16 of them being gold. Owner of more than 50 medals at world championships too, Jessica Long more than deserves her place in this top five.

Katie Ledecky

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what Katie Ledecky has done for swimming. She is widely regarded as the greatest female swimmer of all time and is quickly putting herself at the same table as Michael Phelps. Yes, she is THAT good. And best of all, she is still only 26 years old, so a lot of career still to go and no doubt a lot of records to break!

You might be curious to know why she has got all this hype if you haven’t followed her before. Well, let us break it down for you…

Seven Olympic medals and 19 golds at the World Championships – more than any female swimmer in history. She has 6 golds at the Olympics and 14 golds at the World Aquatics - which is also a record. She is also the world record holder in the 800 and 1500 meter freestyle swim. And she still holds the fastest ever times in numerous distances.

All this by the age of 26!

Kristin Otto

Kristin made history for women’s swimming in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. She became the first-ever woman to win SIX gold medals in a single Olympics. This is a record in any Olympic sport for women. In achieving this feat, she also made world records in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle races.

Born in Leipzig in 1966, Otto was named the Female World Swimmer of the Year on three occasions - 1984, 1986 and 1988. Kristin Otto was an incredibly well-rounded swimmer, as she excelled in several strokes – namely backstroke, freestyle, individual medley and butterfly. Her victories definitely stake a claim on this top-five list for us!

We hope you enjoyed reading our list here, let us know if there are any omissions or notable mentions you think should be included!