Swimming is a sport that is loaded with great names. Take a look at the heat sheet at your next swim meet, and you’ll notice that there seems to be a lot more of “Tripp” and “Gemma” than there used to be relative to the old stalwarts like “Michael” and “Lauren.” We’ve mined through all of our resources to come up with our list of the 10 best names in the swimming community today. We’ve made an effort to include swimmers both young and old without trying to be too linguistically insensitive. Every swimmer on our list has measured some level of success. Some of the names are fun to say, and some are intimidating; some are perplexing, are some are pun-tastic. Still others come along with great stories that are things of swimming legend, but they’re all great names.
Of course, with how far and wide the swimming community reaches these days, there’s surely more names that could easily expand this list to 20 or 30. If you have a great suggestion, post it below, along with a reason, your name, and location. We’ll compile our favorite reader submissions and post them as well!
Top 10 Best Names in Swimming
#10 Bridget Blood – Having the last-name “Blood” is certainly intimidating enough. Imagine stepping up to the blocks and turning to your left and seeing “blood” scrawled across your opponent’s cap. But the endlessly punny string of potential quips is what puts this name on the list. I’m sure that the 16-year old from Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati has heard them all, but appropriately enough, swimming does, in fact, “run in her blood”: her parents were both standout prep swimmers, and her mom Mary (which in itself has it’s own set of unoriginal whiticisms) swam at Ohio State. Blood, a sophomore, is one of Ohio’s top prospects in the class of 2012, and has already swum a 2:03.4 200 IM as the runner-up at the 2011 Ohio State Championships.
#9 Jake Blazer – When writing up the Maryland High School State Championships last week, SwimmingWorld correspondent David Rieder took advantage of a way-too-obvious pun with the following quip: “Blazer, meanwhile, blazed to victory in the 50 and 100 free, with respective times of 23.09 and 50.95.” By “way-too-obvious,” I mean “way too awesome.” How can he hear his name announced over the loudspeaker “Jake…BLAAAZER!” and not get psyched up for every race?
#8 Danila Izotov – This is a name that the Russian people can certainly get behind. Izotov is a fast-riser on the international freestyle scene, and with such a striking similarity to “Isotope” (in a country universally known for their pioneering work in nuclear power), his name just screams Russia. Besides that, I get at least one entry on this list that’s here “just because it’s fun to say,” and that is Izotov.
#7 Randi Wang – Being from China, it’s probable that Randi Wang’s parents didn’t foresee the double, double-entendre that would beset the reigning women’s 50 breaststroke Asian Champion. Undoubtedly, however, this name will earn a few snickers on the school yard as she continues to move up the world swimming ranks. If you don’t get it, ask your parents, they’ll explain it to you.
#6 Hannah Miley – Sometimes she’s Hannah. Sometimes she’s Miley. The budding British-stars’ parents employed an eerie little bit of foreshadowing when they gave their daughter first and last names that match the two identities of the Disney Pop Superstar Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus. With the way that Miley (the swimmer) is attacking the swimming world, it won’t be long before a Google search of “Hannah Miley” returns more results for her than the singer (it’s about 60/40 in favor of Disney at the moment). If you don’t get it, ask your kids, they’ll explain it to you.
# 5 Meredith Cavalier – In and of itself, this was certainly a lovely name, but not all that notable. The minute that Cavalier signed to swim for the University of Virginia, whose athletics teams are represented by the “Cavaliers,” this name was officially inducted into the “it must be fate” hall-of-fame. Cavalier has had a fantastic sophomore season, including a runner-up finish in the 200 back at the ACC Championships; but if that falls through, she could always default to being the University’s mascot.
#4 Nic Ffrost – This is just one of the most perplexing names in swimming. There are plenty of people with the last name “Frost”: American poet Robert Frost, Ian Thorpe’s former (and maybe future?) coach Doug Frost, and of course Jack Frost, the bearer of all-things cold weather. But when you add that extra “F” to his name, it’s just perplexing!
#3 Ranomi Kromowidjojo – This name is intimidating to read and spell, but deceivingly simple once you learn the pronunciation. Besides being really fun to say, it would also earn you huge points in a game of scrabble. Bonus points are earned for the fact that it rhymes with itself.
#2 Enuf Swanson- Eriel Enuf, more commonly known as “Nuffy,” has one of the greatest naming stories you’ve ever heard. Well, we don’t know that it’s true, but it’s a rumor that has been floating around the Texas swimming scene for years now. As off-the-wall as it seems, it’s also amazingly believable. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Swanson have 5 daughters (something that my mother always used to threaten me with when I misbehaved…”I can’t wait until you grow up and have 5 daughters!”). The oldest is named Alice. Then came Bryce, Crystyl, and D’Andra. By the time the fifth daughter came around, the parents had no choice but to say that “5 is enough!”, and fitting with the pattern, made her middle name “Enuf.” Nuffy is currently on the University of North Carolina swim team.
#1 Stephen Wimmer- Is there a more appropriate name in swimming than “Stephen Wimmer”? When the name was announced over the loudspeaker at the 2011 Indianapolis Grand Prix, Tom Willridge tweeted that it must be a prank played by notorious jokester Marcus Rogan, because there’s no way that a parent could be so pushy as to actually name their kid “S. Wimmer”. Turns out, this is totally legit. Stephen Wimmer is a freshman swimmer at the University of Kentucky. In the book “Freakonomics,” the authors argue that names have little-to-no predetermination of a child’s path in life. While I understand that correlation does not imply causation, I don’t think that Wimmer had any other choice in life but to take up the sport for which he was named.