Darian Townsend

Darian Townsend: Freestyle/Individual Medley

Personal Life and Youth Swimming: 

Darian Townsend was born August 28, 1984 in Pietermaritsburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Born in to a swimming family, Townsend swam at club team Seals Pietermaritzburg under coaches Wayne Riddin and Graham Hill. Townsend attended high school at Mairtzburg College in South Africa. In high school, Townsend was a dual-sport athlete, competing in swimming and water polo. As a water polo player, Townsend was named his sqaud’s best player in 2001. As a swimmer, Townsend won eight school championships with eight record-setting times in several events including the 200-meter IM, 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly, and 100-meter backstroke.

College Swimming:

University of Florida

Townsend decided to leave South Africa to study and train in the US at the University of Florida under head coach Gregg Troy. While at Florida, Townsend earned six All-SEC honors and six All-American honors for his performances at the SEC conference championships and the NCAA championships. At the 2005 NCAA’s, Townsend was a part of the 800-yard freestyle relay that won the event and broke the U.S. Open, NCAA, and SEC records. After one season at Florida, Townsend transferred to the University of Arizona to swim under Frank Busch.

University of Arizona

While at Arizona, Townsend claimed NCAA titles in the 200-yard freestyle (2007), 200-yard IM (2008), 400-yard freestyle relay (2008), 400-yard medley relay (2008), and the 800-yard freestyle relay (2007, 2008).

International Swimming:

In 2004, Townsend earned himself a spot on the South African Olympic team at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Here Townsend won Gold as a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay. In 2006, Townsend represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. In 2008, Townsend earned himself a spot on his second Olympic Team, representing South Africa in Beijing, China. In Beijing, Townsend finaled in three relays. In 2009 he represented South Africa at the World Championships in Rome, Italy where he finaled in two relays. 2009 also marks the year that Townsend broke the 200 IM SCM world record at the 2009 World Cup meet in Berlin, Germany. In 2010, Townsend attended the Commonwealth Games a second time representing South Africa. Here he finaled in three relays and took fourth place in the 200-meter IM. In 2010, Townsend also won the Fina World Cup Series. In 2011, Townsend represented South Africa at the World Championships for a second time, this time in Shanghai, China, where he finaled in two relays. In 2011, Townsend also won the 200-meter IM at the US Winter National Championships. In 2012, Townsend qualified for his third Olympic Games in London, England where he finaled in two relays.

In 2013, Townsend tapped in to Masters Swimming where he broke six Masters World Records for the 25-29 age group. His SCM records are in the 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly, and 100-meter individual medley.  Townsend continued adding Masters competitions to his meet line up in 2014. Despite moving up to the 30-34 age group in 2014, Townsend broke six more Masters World Records. His SCM records are in the 100-meter freestyle, the 200-meter freestyle, and the 100-meter individual medley. His LCM records are in the 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke, and 100-meter butterfly.

In the summer of 2014, Townsend earned his US citizenship. His first competition as a US citizen was the Phillips 66 National Championships in August. His debut as a US citizen was not outstanding, but his performances have earned him spots on several US International teams. December 2014 Townsend competed at the 2014 FINA World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar, his first international competition as a US citizen. He came away from the meet with a bronze medal for the 400-meter freestyle relay and a gold medal for the 800-meter freestyle relay. Townsend was also selected to compete at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2015 BHP Billiton Super Series.

Townsend currently swims as a professional athlete in Phoenix, Arizona representing the New York Athletic Club. Townsend is sponsored by A3 Performance.

-Originally Developed by Elle Meinholz

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2004 Olympic Games

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 100 Free 48.87 12/01/11 2011 Winter National Championships
Atlanta, Georgia
lcm 200 Free 1:47.25 07/28/12 2012 Olympic Games
London, England
lcm 100 Back 56.00 08/06/14 2014 US Nationals
Irvine, California
Darian Townsend - 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com) Darian Townsend - 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com) Jumping in with Darian Townsend (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography) Darian Townsend (by Mike Lewis) Darian Townsend's had a big year in 2013 (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)