Duncan Scott Joins Illustrious List of Swimmers Injured in Land Sports

Yesterday we reported on Scottish Olympic medalist Duncan Scott‘s unfortunate event involving tripping over pavement, a mishap that rendered the British National Lottery’s Athlete of the Year with two torn ligaments. The incident spurred on lively discussion on whether swimmers are truly born to be in the water and only in the water, or if there is hope for aquatic athletes on dry land.

With this dialogue in mind, we’ve taken a look at just a few swimmers from over the years who have stood out on terra firma….both for better and for worse.

The Good

  • Michael Phelps – The man who needs no introduction on the aquatic stage also made history on the golf course in his prime swimming days. In 2012 while playing at the 2012 Dunhill Links Pro Am Championship, Phelps sunk a 159 putt for an eagle on hole number 6, making his feat the longest televised putt in history. Because, of course Michael Phelps is a record-setting golfer.
  • Oliver MartinBrother of former USA Junior National Teamer Ruby Martin, Oliver earned 8 state titles for West High School in Iowa, including a 50 freestyle individual win in 2017. But, he was also ranked as the number one football player in Iowa, per 2017’s 247Sports Composite rankings, and was a four-star recruit for the University of Michigan football team. The former swimmer currently plays Wide Receiver on Michigan’s varsity team and had 3 completions against Notre Dame this year.
  • Daiya Seto The Japanese Olympic and World Championships medalist recently tried a triathlon on for size.  The 24-year-old survived the event, his very first triathlon ever, and even led the entire field out of the water. But, the real victory was finishing both the running and cycling without incident.
  • Dax Hill – Before becoming the NCAA D1 Champion in the men’s 200m freestyle in 2012, Texas graduate Hill was a two-time All-District basketball standout at Round Rock High School in Lewisville, Texas. Hill was also named American-Stateman’s top high school athlete in 2009 for his feats both in the pool and on the court.

The Not-So-Good

  • Ryan Lochte – Does anything really need to be said of Mr. Lochte’s lack of prowess on dry land? The former Florida Gator may be the 2nd most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, but he is #1 when it comes to fluke injuries not related to swimming. Here are just a few of Lochte’s forays into the emergency room:
    • 2007 – Foot fracture during scooter accident
    • 2008 – Fractured shoulder playing hide-and-go-seek; Ankle sprain chasing his Doberman, Carter
    • 2009 – Tore meniscus in his left knee while breakdancing
    • 2011 – Strained MCL while reaching for his cellphone in the back seat of his car
    • 2013 – Run-in with fan that resulted in torn MCL and sprained ACL
  • Roy Burch – The Bermudian Olympian was dealt a major blow by rupturing both patellas, requiring immediate surgery, while doing a dynamic land-based warmup. Burch was in a wheelchair, then walker, then crutches throughout 2015 into 2016 before he was finally back to clocking times near his old self.
  • Kyle Chalmers – With a former Australian Football League-playing dad, 2016 Olympic champion Chalmers couldn’t wait to get his feet on the footy field. But, his debut just prior to the 2015 World Championships proved to not be such a great idea. Within just the first five minutes of his very first game, Chalmers left the field with both a broken wrist and torn ankle ligaments.
  • Kosuke Hagino – The Japanese swimming superstar looked primed to do major damage at the 2015 World Championships, but a bike accident at training camp derailed the national champion’s would-be breakout meet. Just 21 at the time, Hagino broke his elbow and was too injured to participate in Kazan. Hagino sat out several months of training and competition, and finally underwent surgery in late 2016.
  • Emily Seebohm The Australian world champion who won two titles in 2015 suffered a knee injury in May of that year while riding one of her horses. In what she described at the time as a ‘freak accident’, the backstroke ace dislocated her knee and was sidelined for several weeks.
  • Sarah Henry tore her ACL playing ultimate frisbee in high school, and then tore her ACL again while at A&M. Just 18 months after the 2nd, she finished 7th in the 400 IM at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, and wound up winning the 400 IM at the 2015 NCAA Championships.

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JP input is too short

Another to add to the good – Keiser Witte, Kansas City area high school champion and swam at Mizzou for a year I believe, won this past year’s USA Weightlifting National Championships in the superheavy weight class (105kg+).

JP input is too short

Also – Former West Chester swimmer Jordan Troyan has made a couple of CrossFit Games. He was even in the lead for a bit – thanks in part to swimming workouts on the first day!

Former Wisconsin swimmer Gwen Jorgensen won the Olympic triathlon in 2016 and is arguably the greatest triathlete ever. She once won 13 World Triathlon Series events in a row. Now she’s trying to qualify for Tokyo in the marathon.


Lovely lady; I saw her at the London world series stop in 2011 looking painfully exhausted but still stopping for fans every 10 yards. Nobody will ever dethrone Chris McCormack as the greatest though 😉

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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