Kristian Gkolomeev is a Greek Olympic swimmer with Bulgarian roots. Born in Velingrad, Bulgaria, Gkolomeev was born to his mother, Kristina, and his father, Tsvetan, a famous Bulgarian swimmer. He attended Heraklion-Crete in Athens, and has two siblings: Nikola and Ivan. Standing at 6’6″ Gkolomeev is a natural sprinter, and is a two-time NCAA champion.
University of Alabama
Gkolomeev decided to swim for the Roll Tide in Tuskaloosa, Alab., studying human performance exercise science. He didn’t join the crimson and white until the spring semester, but that didn’t hold him back from winning a national title. In his first season Gkolomeev won the 2014 NCAA Men’s DI 50 freestyle title with a time of 18.95. He followed with an All-American Honorable Mention seventh-place finish in the 100 free, and finished in the top eight in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
In return for his sophomore year Gkolomeev had his best event of the meet on day one of the NCAA Championships. Gkolomeev was out like a rocket in the first 25 yards, neck-and-neck with the heat leader. He touched in 2nd place behind Caeleb Dressel, in 18.74 seconds just about .1 behind Dressel. He was out for revenge in the 100-yard free after losing out by just hundredths of a second in the 50 free. He was out about a second slower than his 50 free performance, and touched 1st to the wall winning his second NCAA individual title of his career becoming the first Alabama swimmer under 42 seconds.
2011 World Junior Championships & European Junior Championships
In 2011 Gkolomeev competed in the World Junior Championships taking bronze in the 50-meter freestyle and competing on the 400 medley relay as well as the European Junior Championships where he placed second in the 50-meter freestyle.
2012 London Olympics
At the 2012 London Olympics Gkolomeev finished 31st in the 100-meter freestyle.
2012 European Champions & 15th FINA World Championships
He’s also participated in the 2012 European Champions and the 15th FINA World Championships where he was the second-youngest swimmer to finish in the 50-meter freestyle. In prelims for his best event, the 50, Gkolomeev broke his own Greek Record touching in 21.87.
2014 European Championships
Gkolomeev had a successful summer in the pool after his freshman season at Alabama. At the 2014 European Championships he finished seventh in the 50-meter free with a time of 21.96, which was the university’s school record, and touched the wall 16th in the 100-meter free in 49.49.
2016 Rio Olympics
In Rio, Gkolomeev made it to the semis of the 50 free, where he went on to finish 13th overall. He also swam the 100 free, where he finished 20th in prelims.
2017 World Championships
In Budapest, Gkolomeev continued to build on his international career. In prelims of the 50 free, he broke the Greek national record in the 50 (21.69) and almost repeated that time (21.71) in semis to qualify for his first final at a world championships. In finals, he went 21.73 to finish 6th overall. He also swam the 100, where he finished 20th in prelims.
2018 European Championships
Gkolomeev had his best summer yet in 2018, as he broke his own national record in the 50 free twice at European championships, once in semi’s (21.52) and once in finals (21.44), the ladder being good for a 2nd place finish and silver medal.
2019 World Championships
In Gwangju, Gkolomeev won his first major world championship medal, tying for silver in the 50 free (21.45) with Brazilian Bruno Fratus.