Born Nov. 26, 1995 James Guy is a British freestyle and butterfly specialist. Guy is from Bury, England and has competed all across international competitions including the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. Guy trains with Millfield School, which has a great reputation for producing world-class swimmers.
Guy has a reputation for loving head-to-head racing, either attacking from the get-go or chasing down competitors in the end. The most influential person in his career has been his brother, Luke, and once said that his idols include his mum, Kosuke Hagino and Floyd Mayweather – Mayweather is also the person that he’d most like to meet.
Guy first made headlines at the 2012 European Junior Championships in Antwerp. At the meet he won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle. The following year he moved up in the medal board, this time winning two gold medals in the 200m freestyle and as a member of GBR’s 800m freestyle relay. In addition to his golds Guy also won two silver medals in the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle.
Age group and junior records broken
Guy made his senior international debut at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, finishing fifth in the 400m freestyle and lowering his National Age Group Record in the 200m freestyle, when he led off the 800m freestyle relay. Guy says that his finish in the 400m freestyle is his greatest sporting achievement. He then moved on to the World Junior Championships, breaking the World Junior Record in his gold-medal win of the 800m freestyle relay.
Young Sports Personality of the Year Award finalist
Guy is the headlining name for a group of young British talent, moving seamlessly to the Senior level from the age group and Junior levels. It was his relaxed attitude and no fear that really drew attention to his success at such a young age.
He was recognized by the BBC in 2013 when they named him one of the top-10 finalists for the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award. The National Team Head Coach, Bill Furniss, said that Guy deserved to be a candidate for the award after his performance at the 2013 World Championships.
At the 2014 British GAS Championships Guy took the win in three events including the 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle, an event he broke the British Record. Later in the year he won his first international senior medals when he won gold on the 400m medley relay and a bronze in the 400m freestyle, lowering his own English record, at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
2015 World Championships (Kazan, Russia)
After qualifying at the British Trials, Guy made it onto Great Britain’s World Championship Team roster. The meet, which was held in Kazan, was a huge success for British swimming. Lead by Guy, Great Britain had its most successful World Championships since Barcelona in 2003.
Guy started off his meet with a swim in the 400m free — he picked up a silver medal behind China’s Sun Yang at just 19 years old, but more experienced than his first World Championships in 2013. After his silver medal swim, he was confident going into the 200m free, once again going up against Sun Yang. At the 150-meter mark, Guy was sitting in third place, but charged home on his last 50 to pass both the leader, Sun Yang, and America’s Ryan Lochte. Guy touched the wall in 1st, and set a new British Record and became the 1st British male to win a world title.
At just 19, Guy was placed on the anchor position for Great Britain’s 800m freestyle relay. Going up against heavy-hitters such as the U.S. and Australia, Guy described the set up like this: “I knew if I was top three I had a chance of bringing it back.”
When he dove into the water as the anchor leg, Guy was sitting in 3rd place behind the U.S. and Russia, more than 1.5 seconds behind the leader. He first caught the Russian team, and on the last 50 meters of the race, Guy chased down America’s Michael Weiss to bring the British relay squad to gold.
2016 Olympics (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
At his Olympic debut in Rio, Guy picked up two silver medals in the 4×200 freestyle and 4×100 medley relays. In the 4×200 freestyle relay, Guy swam the anchor leg for Great Britain. He posted the second fastest time of all swimmers to overtake Japan and grab the silver. His teammates Steven Milne, Duncan Scott and Dan Wallace worked to get Guy in third place but Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda had over a second head start on Guy. Guy’s 1:44.85 split was no match for Matsuda and Great Britain took the silver comfortably behind USA.
His second silver came on the last night in the pool. He was joined by Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott in the 4×100 medley relay. Guy took over from Peaty in first place for the butterfly leg. But Guy was going head-to-head with Phelps in his last ever race. Guy held his own finishing his leg still within hitting distance. Scott anchored the relay, holding Britain’s second place position to finish in 3:29.24. That time lowered the British record the same team set in the heats.
Guy had high hopes for his individual freestyle swims, after his stunning performances at the World Championships the year before. On the first night, Guy managed a sixth place finish in the 400 meter freestyle in 3:44.68. In the 200, the World Champion just sneaked into the final in eighth place. In the final, USA’s Conor Dwyer just beat Guy to the wall taking the last spot on the podium. Guy finished 4th in 1:45.49. His third indidual event was 100 meter butterfly where he finished 13th in the semi-finals.
2017 World Championships (Budapest, Hungary)
On the second night in Budapest Guy qualified second for the 200 meter freestyle final after finishing in 1:45.18. He was 0.02 behind his compatriot Duncan Scott who qualified first. In the final, the defending World Champion in the event finished 5th in 1:45.36.
On Day six, Guy became a World Champion again after defending the 800 meter freestyle relay. He had an incredible split to take Great Britain from third place to first on the anchor leg. His first 100 meters he split 49.87 and came back to finish in 1:50.80 to beat second placed Russia by a second. He was joined in the final by Steven Milne, Nick Granger and Duncan Scott. Guy had just come out of the pool after swimming in the 100 meter butterfly semi-final where he posted a new British record of 50.67 to go into the final seeded second.
Day seven of competition Guy tied for the bronze in the 100m butterfly final with the 2016 Olympic Champion in the event, Singapore’s Joseph Schooling. Both men swam 50.83. Team USA’s Caeleb Dressel won in 49.86. Hungary’s Kristof Milak, only 17, won the silver in 50.62.
2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, Australia)
Returning to commonwealths, Guy was scheduled to swim 100 and 200 fly, 200 and 400 free, plus all of England’s relays. He won silver in the 100 fly (51.31), and made the final in the 200 fly, but scratched and did not participate in the final heat. He touched at 3rd in the 400 free (3:45.32), and afterward hinted that that may have been his last 400 free at a serious competition. In the 200 free, he touched at 4th (1:46.40), just .10 outside of medaling. He was also a part of all 3 of England’s silver medal winning relays.
2018 European Championships (Glasgow, Scotland)
Guy had a full slate in Glasgow, swimming the 100 and 200 fly, 200 free, as well as relays for Great Britain. He won gold swimming fly on both 4×100 medley and mixed medley, as well as individual bronze in the 100 fly (51.42). He made the final of the 200 fly, but scratched to focus on the 4×200 free relay. The decision payed off, as Guy anchored the relay and split 1:45.60 to carry Britain to gold over Russia. Individually in the 200 free, Guy fell just short of medaling, swimming a 1:46.20 to touch at 4th, .05 behind bronze.
2019 World Championships (Gwangju, South Korea)
Guy started his meet off with the 200 free (11th, 1:45.95) and on the 4×100 free relay (47.72, 5th). On Day 4, Guy helped Britain’s 4×100 mixed medley relay to a bronze medal, splitting 50.72 on the butterfly leg.
Later in the meet, Guy swam in the final of the 100 fly, where he placed 7th overall (51.62). He finished his meet in gold medal fashion, splitting 50.81 on Britain’s 4×100 medley relay to help them take gold in a new European record of 3:28.10.
2021 European Championships (Budapest, Hungary)
Guy earned individual bronze in the 100 fly in Budapest, registering a 50.99 for 3rd place. He was a part of nearly every British relay, helping Britain to golds in the 400 medley and mixed 400 medley & 800 free relays and silvers in the 400 free and 800 free relays.