When the Parade of Nations goes off on Friday evening in London, the swimmers will be a focal point of the ceremony as all willing Olympic athletes will march around the Olynmpic stadium, in matching garb, behind the banners of their respective nations.
Out of 204* participating nations, 126 have announced their Olympic flag-bearers, and 14 of those will be current swimmers. That is a larger roster than any other sport aside from Athletics (track & field), represented by 27 carriers.
*South Sudan and the Netherlands Antilles will send representation, but their athletes will compete as Independent Olympic Athletes.
Among the stars on this list is Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry, who has 7 Olympic medals and is the two-time defending champion in the 200 backstroke. Also of note, Benjamin Hockin will be carrying the flag of Paraguay. Hockin competed for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics, and received plenty of headlines thereafter when he began competing for Uruguay – without telling FINA or the IOC.
As honorary mention, a 15th swimming flag-bearer goes to Michelle Richardson. She was a 1984 Olympic swimmer for the United States, but is currently carrying the flag of Nicaragua as a Chef de Mission. Her brother Frank is a former Olympic swimmer for Nicaragua.
The only other aquatic athlete honored as a flag-bearer, so far, is Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong.
The full list of swimmers:
Indonesia – I Gede Siman Sudartawa
Macedonia – Marko Blazevski
Finland – Hanna-Maria Seppala
Austria – Markus Rogan
Bangladesh – Mahfizur Rahman Sagor
Cayman Islands – Brett Fraser
Kenya – Jason Dunford
Paraguay – Benjamin Hockin
Nepal – Prasiddha Jung Shah
Monaco – Angelique Trinquier
Suriname – Chinyere Pigot
Uganda – Ganzi Mugula
Tonga – Amini Fonua
Zimbabwe – Kirsty Coventry
Nicaragua – Michelle Richardson (as Chef de Mission)