Hunter Armstrong

View Current photo via courtesy of Jack Spitser

Hunter Armstrong is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. He is a 2021 Olympian and world championship medalist in the 50 and 100 backstroke. He was the first American in history (and 2nd overall) to dip under 24 seconds in the 50m backstroke and currently holds the world record in it.

2019 Summer Junior Nationals

Hunter Armstrong had a breakout 2019 Jr Nats, taking wins in the 100 free (49.80), 50 free (22.57), and 100 back (54.91). The latter of those swims broke a meet record held previously by Michael Andrew.

Speaking with Hunter at the meet, he admitted that he had only been swimming year-round for about a year and that his primary motivation for starting to do so was so he could go on the Florida training trip his team was traveling to.


Armstrong graduated from Dover High School in 2019 and went to West Virginia, where his older brother Jake Armstrong, a two-time Big 12 Champion and NCAA All-American Honorable Mention in the 100 breast, had spent his collegiate career. Their parents were both student-athletes (father played football; mother, basketball) at Ferrum College in Virginia.

2019-2020 (West Virginia)

In his freshman season, Armstrong posted times of 19.78 in the 50 free (4th), 46.22 in the 100 back (3rd), and 42.91 in the 100 free (4th) at the Big-12 Championships.

After his freshman season, Armstrong announced he was transferring to Ohio State, which was closer to his home of Dover, Ohio.

2020-2021 (Ohio State)

At his first Big Ten Championships, Armstrong shined. individually, he placed 4th in the 50 free (19.19), 2nd in the 100 back (45.50), and 3rd in the 100 free (42.37). He also swam on OSU’s 800 free relay (2nd), 400 medley relay (3rd), 200 free relay (3rd), and 400 free relay (2nd).

At the NCAA Championships, Armstrong placed 21st in the 50 free (19.45) and 13th in the 100 back (45.48). He opted out of a 3rd individual event and swam on all 5 Ohio State relays, including the 800 free (14th), 200 free (17th), 400 medley (DQ’ed), 200 medley (4th), and 400 free (12th).


In his 2nd season as a buckeye, Armstrong continued to progress in the pool. At the 2022 Big Ten Champs, he captured Big Ten title in the 50 free (18.93) and 100 free (41.78) and as part of Ohio State’s 200 free, 400 free, and 200 medley relays. He also placed 2nd in the 100 back (44.78) and as a part of OSU’s 400 medley relay.

At the NCAA Championships, Armstrong placed 5th in the 100 back (44.42) and 16th in the 100 free (42.70).

2021 Olympic Trials

On night 3 in Omaha, after surprising even himself by heading into the 100 back final as the 2nd seed, Armstrong used a sensational back half (the best in the field) to hold seed and touch 2nd behind Ryan Murphy at 52.48, qualifying for his first Olympic Team.

The Magic Man

Hunter picked up magic as a hobby and is known for his prowess at the craft, giving him the nickname “magic man”. This was showcased at the 2021 Olympic training camp, when he used card tricks to present Team USA with the 4 Olympic team captains.

2020 Olympic Games

Armstrong started his Games in the 100 back, where he moved through prelims and tied with Japan’s Ryosuke Irie for 9th in semifinals at 53.21, .01 off of making the final.

On day 7, Armstrong swam on the prelims of the 4×100 medley relay, leading off in 53.51 to help USA reach the final, where they went on to earn gold. This gave Armstrong his first Olympic medal.

2022 World Championship Trials

On night 1 in Greensboro, Armstrong proved that his Olympic qualification was not a fluke, putting himself on the world champ team by tying for 4th in the 100 free in 48.25.

But the real fireworks came 2 nights later in the 50 back, when Armstrong, who set the American record in prelims with a 24.01, shattered the world record in the event. The Buckeye touched for first at 23.71, shaving .09 off of Kliment Kolesnikov’s previous mark and giving Armstrong his first national title.

Armstrong went on to win the 100 back on Night 4, topping a stacked field with another huge PB of 52.20. On the last night of competition, he went a PB of 22.00 in the 50 free to tie for 5th.

2022 World Championships

Armstrong started his meet in Budapest in the 4×100 free relay prelims, leading-off for team USA in 48.34 to help them secure lane 4 for the final. USA would go on to win gold in the final, netting Armstrong his first world championship gold.

On day 3, Armstrong competed in the 100 back final, swimming a strong back-half to touch at 51.98, good for bronze and just .01 behind his American teammate, Ryan Murphy. On day 4, Armstrong swam in the final of the 400 mixed medley relay, leading off in 52.14 to help USA dominate the heat and win gold.

On day 7 Armstrong swam prelims and semis of the 50 back, qualifying in 2nd for the final behind his teammate, Justin Ress. On the final day of the meet, day 8, Armstrong took backstroke duties in the prelims of the 400 medley relay, securing a spot for the US in the final where they would go on to place 2nd, earning Hunter a silver.

In the final of the 50 back, Hunter touched 2nd behind Ress initially, but Ress was called for a DQ, crowning Armstrong the world champion. After the medal ceremony, however, the DQ was overturned and Armstrong ultimately wound up earning silver.

2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Armstrong scratched out of the B final of the 100 free on night 1 after placing 12th in the heats with a season-best 48.65. In the prelims of the 50 back, it was Armstrong who led the field with a 24.20, just .01 seconds ahead of Justin Ress, who Armstrong has been dueling against across the Pro Swim Series all season. Ress was able to flip the seeds in finals as Armstrong got 2nd by just .06 seconds. Now, Armstrong needs a win in the 100 back to assure his 50 back spot at Worlds. Armstrong was able to do just that with a 52.33 in the 100 back final, a mere .06 seconds ahead of training mate Ryan Murphy.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

Armstrong made it through by the skin of his teeth in both prelims and semis. In prelims, he was 16th in 53.94, just .01 ahead of Issac Cooper. It was the same story again in semis as he put up a 53.21, just .05 ahead of Oliver Morgan. Armstrong made it all worth it as he earned some hardware in the final. He was out in 5th in 25.60 and came home in a 26.96 for 3rd in 52.58.

In the 50 back, there was much less suspense and nailbiting to Armstrong’s qualification through prelims (24.24, 3rd) and semis (24.41, 2nd). The morning of the final day, Armstrong took on the 100 back lead-off on the american 400 medley relay. He was a solid 52.45 and the US qualifed 1st. That night, Armstrong flipped the script from both 2023 US Trials and 2022 Worlds as he topped his rival/teammate Justin Ress with a 24.05, just .01 off the championship record. Later in the session, the finals squad secured gold in the 400 medley, netting Armstrong a 2nd gold for the night

2024 US Olympic Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

The road to a 2nd Olympic berth was not without its hiccups for Armstrong. In the 100 back prelims, he was strong with a 52.95. He faced near disaster in the semis as he slipped off the start. He was behind by close to a body length when everyone reemerged from their start and was last at the 50 turn, splitting 26.37. But Armstrong pulled a rabbit out of his hat over the last 50, passing swimmers left and right to touch 2nd in his heat in 53.57 and qualify safely through in 4th place. In the final Armstong, had, to at least the visible eye, an unimpeded but slow start to his race. That was no matter as he surged out to a 25.36 at the 50, sitting 2nd behind only Murphy. However, being second at the turn was no guarantee of victory, and Jack Aikins made a strong, inspired run to try to track Armstrong down. Whether it was his long and strong arms or he pulled off another one of his magic tricks, Armstrong held off Aikins by just .02 seconds to secure 2nd place and a likely Olympic beth in 52.72.

Armstrong flipped things over in the 100 free. Having set a PB of 47.83 at Worlds in February, he was a strong contender in the 100 free. He moved through prelims with a 47.93 for 4th. He had a huge 47.59 to maintain seed in semis. That was a new PB. Armstrong heavily back-halved his race, splitting 23.14/24.45. In the final, Armstrong secured a spot on the 400 free relay with a 47.78 for 4th, splitting 23.02/24.83.


International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2020 Olympic Games
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2022 World Championships
Silver 50 Back 2022 World Championships
Silver 400 Medley Relay 2022 World Championships
Bronze 100 Back 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2023 World Championships
Gold 50 Back 2023 World Championships
Silver 100 Back 2023 World Championships
Gold 100 Back 2024 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2024 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2024 World Championships
Silver 50 Back 2024 World Championships
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2024 World Championships
Bronze 400 Mixed Free Relay 2024 World Championships
Bronze 800 Freestyle Relay 2024 World Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 50 Free 22.00 04/30/22 2022 World Championship Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 100 Free 47.59 06/18/24 2024 Olympic Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 50 Back 23.71 04/28/22 2022 World Championship Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 100 Back 51.98 06/20/22 2022 World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
scy 50 Free 18.93 02/24/22 2022 Big Ten Championships
West Lafayette, Indiana
scy 100 Free 41.54 02/26/22 2022 Big Ten Championships
West Lafayette, Indiana
scy 100 Back 44.36 02/24/22 2022 Big Ten Championships
West Lafayette, Indiana
Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser) Hunter Armstrong (photo: Jack Spitser)