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Great Moments in Olympic Swimming History

Famous Olympic Swimming and Swimmer Moments


Some of the great moments in Olympic Swimming history. Am I missing some? Let me know!

1896 - Alfred Hajos (Hungary) - First Swimming Gold

Alfréd Hajós, Hungary - the First Olympic Champion in swimming
Public Domain
A boat dropped everyone into the water in the icy waters of the Mediterranean. The first swimmer to shore won. "My will to live completely overcame my desire to win" - Alfred Hajos.

1956, 1960, 1964 - Dawn Fraser (Australia) - 100 Free Gold Medal x 3

Dawn Fraser of Australia wins the 100m Freestyle Final at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Allsport UK/Allsport/Getty Images
Dawn Fraser of Australia becomes the first swimmer to win gold in the same event for three consecutive Olympics.

1964 - Don Schollander (USA) - First 4-Gold Medal Swimmer

Don Schollander was the first swimmer to win 4 Gold Medals in a single Olympics. He won the 100 and 200 freestyle and was part of the winning 400 and 800 freestyle relays at the 1964 Olympic Games.

1968, 1972 - Roland Matthes (East Germany) Double Gold Medal Backstroke

Roland Matthes
Public Domain
Roland Matthes was undefeated in backstroke events from 1967 to 1974, including the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games.

1972 - Mark Spitz (USA) - 7 Gold Medals in One Olympic Games

Mark Spitz swimming during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
Mark Spitz becomes the first person to win 7 gold medals in one Olympic games. 100 Free, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Fly, 4x100 Free Relay, 4x200 Free Relay, and 4x100 Medley Relay.

1976 - USA Men - How many Golds?

David Wilkie of Great Britain
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
Montreal, and a dominance that has never been seen. The USA men won 10 out of 11 individual gold medals (the one they did not win, the 200 breaststroke, was won by David Wilkie of Great Britain; David swam at the University of Miami). The USA men also took 10 silver medals (Wilkie was silver in the 100 Breast), 5 bronze medals, and gold in both relay events. That is 27 Medals (12-10-5). The next closest were Great Britain with three medals (1-1-1) and the Soviet Union. also with three (0-1-2).

1976 - USA Women - 4 x 100 Free Relay Gold

Shirley Babashoff, USA, 1976 Olympic Games.
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
The USA Women's team had high hopes for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, but seemed to come up short again and again, usually against swimmers from East Germany. In the 4 x 100 Free Relay, they said enough is enough and swam above their apparent abilities. In an awesome team performance, Kim Peyton, Jill Sterkel, Shirley Babashoff, and Wendy Boglioli took the gold.

1980 - Vladimir Salnikov (Russia) Breaks 15-minute 1500-meter Barrier

Vladimir Salnikov, USSR, GOld in the 1500m Freestyle 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, time of 14:58.27
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
1980, short some countries as it was a boycotted Olympic Games, was held in Russia. Swimmer Vladimir Salnikov (Russia) did not care, he swam to the best performance in the 1500-meter freestyle, becoming the first swimmer ever under 15 minutes (14:58.27).

1984 - First Tie in Olympic Swimming

Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer
Tony Duffy/Getty Images
US Swimmers Nancy Hogshead and Carie Steinseifer registered the first tie in Olympic history in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1984 Olympics. Both swimmers touched the wall at 55.92.

1984 - Rowdy Gaines Comeback

Chris Cavanaugh, Matt Biondi, Michael Heath, And Rowdy Gaines, 4 x 100 Free Relay
Tony Duffy/Getty Images
Rowdy Gaines held 11 World Records, but he missed an opportunity to shine when the USA boycottted the 1980 Olympics. He made a comeback for the 1984 LA Games, and despite not being expected to be a major player, won three gold medals.

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