Born July 1, 1990 Christopher Walker-Hebborn is an elite swimmer from Great Britain. He’s better known as Chris, and had made his first major headlines in 2014. Walker-Hebborn is about 6’0″ and specializes in backstroke — his favorite event is the 100m backstroke.
Walker-Hebborn trains at National Performance Centre, Bath under Coach Dave McNulty along with a few other British Olympic swimmers. Before breaking out as a junior swimmer in 2008 Walker-Hebborn wo years at the British Offshore Centre in Australia at The Southport School. In 2009 he was offered a scholarship to swim at the University of Florida, which has historically had ties with British swimmers, but returned home soon after realizing that collegiate swimming doesn’t focus much on long course swimming.
In 2008 Walker-Hebborn was focusing on the Junior level. He competed at the Junior European Championships in Belgrade, where he brought home four gold medals, including two in the 100m and 200m backstrokes.
He stepped up a level in 2009, when he qualified for his first World Championships. Walker-Hebborn was one of the few swimmers that chose to opt out from wearing a full-body suit, where he finished ninth in the 200m backstroke in a new British Record. competing at the Commonwealth Games, where he just missed his first senior level medal and finished fourth in the 200m backstroke.
After swimming at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 World Championships, Walker-Hebborn had gotten some experience under his belt in time to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. He swam both backstroke distances in London, but he did not bring home a medal.
Golden season in 2014
In 2014 Walker-Hebborn probably had his best swimming season so far in his career. He won two gold medals at the British Gas Championships, taking titles in the 50m and 100m backstrokes. Then he won Commonwealth titles in the 100m backstroke, and repeated his win in the event at the European Championships, where he also picked up a bronze in the 50m backstroke and medals in relay swims.
At the World Short Course Championships in Doha Walker-Hebborn picked up a silver medal as a member of the 200m mixed medley relay.
2015 World Championships
In Kazan, Walker-Hebborn became a World Champion and World record holder as a member of the 400 mixed medley relay. He joined Adam Peaty, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Fran Halsal to take gold in 3:41.71.
As one of 2015’s top-10 fastest swimmers in the 100m backstroke going into the World Championships, he snuck into the championship final after finishing 8th in the semi-finals. In the final, Walker-Hebborn dropped his time by about .3 to move up to finish 5th overall.
He was also a member of the 400 meter medley relay that just missed the podium in Kazan. Walker-Hebborn led off on the backstroke leg and was followed by Peaty, James Guy and Ben Proud who combined to finish fourth in 3:30.67.
2016 Rio Olympics
At his second time around at the Olympics, Walker-Hebborn brought home a silver medal in the 400 meter medley relay. He led off on the backstroke leg to put Team GB in the middle of the field. Peaty, the newly crowned 100 breaststroke Olympic Champion moved them to first with the fastest breaststroke split in history. James Guy and Duncan Scott brought it home for GB to take silver behind USA in 3:29.24.
In his individual swim, Walker-Hebborn finished 11th in the semi-finals of the 100 meter backstroke.
2017 World Championships
In Budapest, Walker-Hebborn was forced to pull out of his individual events do to illness. However he had the whole week to rest for the 4×100 meter medley relay where he was joined by Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott to win the silver medal behind Team USA. Walker-Hebborn posted a lead off split in the backstroke of 54.20 despite being ill. Peaty took over in 7th position and a 56.91 split on the breaststroke pulled the Great Britain team in to 1st. Guy then Scott followed and held off Russia to touch second in 3:28.95.