Tokyo Olympics: Top 10 swimmers from Katie Ledecky to Caeleb Dressel
As this year's Summer Games are about to begin, all eyes are on one of the most celebrated events of the Olympics, Swimming. After being postponed last year, Tokyo Olympics is finally taking place with spectators barred from the venues in wake of the rise in Covid-19 cases in Japan. However, the enthusiasm and excitement among the participants and the viewers remain unshaken.
Swimming is one of the most popular sports at the Olympics. This year we will see several record-holders and world champions in swimming competing for medals. Here's a list of the top medal contenders in swimming at this year's Summer Games.
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Katie Ledecky, USA
Having won five Olympic gold medals and 15 World Championships, Ledecky is a world record holder in women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle. She also holds the fastest times in women's 500, 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle events. Ledecky, 24, will be leading Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. Ledecky first came into the spotlight in the 2012 London Olympics when she won the 800m freestyle at the age of 15. She then won 4 more gold medals at the Rio Olympics 2016. Ledecky has also earned Swimming World’s Female World Swimmer of the Year title a record five times.
Adam Peaty, Great Britain
Adam Peaty became the first male British swimmer to win the gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Rio Olympics 2016 in 24 years. He also holds the current world record in 50m and 100m breaststroke events. Adam Peaty is an eight-time World Championships winner, sixteen times European Championships winner and a three-time Commonwealth Games champion as well. Peaty will look forward to winning the newly inducted 50-meter freestyle event along with other events at the Summer Games this year.
Caeleb Dressel, USA
Caeleb Dressel will be leading the men’s events in swimming for Team US in the Tokyo Olympics in the absence of Michael Phelps. In addition to being a 13-time World Champion, Caeleb won gold medals at Rio Olympics 2016 as part of the relay team in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley events. If that wasn't enough, Caeleb, 25, is an American record holder in the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard individual medley, apart from 50m and 100m freestyle, and 50m and 100m butterfly events too.
Daiya Seto, Japan
One of the best in the world, the 27-year-old Japanese swimmer was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons last year. However, leaving all that behind Seto is looking forward to a victorious feat in the Summer Games this year. He is ranked number one in the 400m individual medley. Seto has won gold medals in 400m individual medley at 2012, 2014, and 2016 World Short Course Championships. In addition to that, he has also won the gold medals in 400m individual medley at the 2013 and 2015 World Long Course Championships. Seto holds the world records in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley (short course). He is also the first Asian to be a world champion in the individual medley.
Sarah Sjöström, Sweden
The 28-year-old swimmer from Sweden is the only female swimmer to have won five individual medals at a single FINA World Aquatics Championships. Specializing in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events, Sarah is the current world record holder in the 50-meter freestyle (long course), the 100-meter freestyle (long course), the 200-meter freestyle (short course), the 50-meter butterfly (long course), and the 100-meter butterfly (long course and short course). In addition to this, she is the first Swedish woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming, having achieved the feat at Rio Games 2016. Till 2019, Sarah had won 16 individual medals in long course at the World Championships, which is more than any other female swimmer in the history of the sport has won.
Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
Specialized in individual medley events, the 32-year-old swimmer from Hungary is a three-time Olympic champion and a nine-time long-course world champion. She is the current world record holder in the 100-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley (long course and short course), 400-meter individual medley (long course) and 200-meter backstroke (short course). Hosszu was the first swimmer (male or female) to hold world records in all five individual medley events at the same time. Hosszu is competing in the Tokyo Olympics without a coach. She was given the nickname 'Ironlady' for being one of the most versatile swimmers in the world.
Simone Ashley Manuel, USA
Specializing in sprint freestyle, the 25-year-old swimmer won two gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley and two silver medals in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics. After winning the 100-meter freestyle, (a tie with Penny Oleksiak of Canada), Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming and also set an Olympic record and an American record. In addition to being a six-time individual NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships champion, Manuel also holds three world records as a member of a relay team.
Kristof Milak, Hungary
Although the 21-year-old Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak will be making his Olympic debut in Tokyo, his records speak for themselves. Milak came into the limelight when he broke Michael Phelps’ world record in 200 fly at the 2019 World Championships when he was 19. Milak is a top contender for a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics as he is ranked more than three seconds ahead of any other swimmer this year.
Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC
Twenty-year-old Kolesnikov is the world’s fastest 100 freestyler at the moment. He is a legitimate gold medal contender in backstroke as well. Kolesnikov broke his world record in the 50m backstroke at the European Championships when he became the first man to complete the lap in under 24 seconds, taking a time of 23.93 seconds.
Lilly King, USA
Specializing in breaststroke, 24-year-old Lilly King won two gold medals in the Rio Olympics 2016, in 100-meter breaststroke and in women's 4 × 100 m medley relay. She is also the current world record holder in 100m. She is a medal favorite in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.