Nathan Adrian is a U.S. sprinter, born in Washington state as the youngest of three kids. Born Dec. 7, 1988 Adrian began swimming because his older siblings were involved — he began taking lessons by 2 and joined the team by 5, but years later the 6’6″ freestyler would become one of the top sprinters in the world.
Adrian was born to a Nuclear Engineer and a Nurse — his mother, Cecilia, is Chinese, and was born and raised in Hong Kong. Family is an important part of Adrian’s life since they have supported him from the beginning. His two siblings were also swimmers — brother, Justin, swam for Washington State and sister, Donella, swam for Arizona State.
After a highly successful high school career, Adrian chose to swim for UC Berkeley in northern California. In 2007, just a freshman at Cal Berkeley, Adrian swam on the freestyle relays, and he posted a top-10 finish in the individual 100-yard freestyle. He made the difficult decision to take the next year off of Cal, and train with his former coach in Fla.
When Adrian returned to Cal after his break from collegiate swimming he took the NCAA by storm. He won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard distance, winning the sprint crown of the year. His junior season was just as impressive, winning both sprint events again, and during his senior year he repeated his sprint wins and this time finished eighth in the 100-yard fly.
Throughout his collegiate years, Adrian ultimately became a five-time individual NCAA champion and graduated from Cal in 2012 with a degree in Public Health.
In 2008, the year he took off from collegiate swimming to focus on the trials, Adrian made his Olympic Trials debut, placing fourth in the 100-meter freestyle and sixth in the 50-meter freestyle. His finishes qualified him to swim on the 400-meter freestyle relay, which went on to win a gold medal in Beijing.
Four years after his Olympic debut, Adrian returned to the Olympic scene in search of individual victory. He qualified in the 100-meter freestyle and was part of the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relay teams (the latter was Phelps’ famed “last race”). In London, he won gold in the 100-meter freestyle individually, just by one one-hundredth of a second quicker Australia’s famed sprinter, James Magnussen.
In 2013, Adrian earned a bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the World Championships, and also finished second in the 400-meter freestyle relay and fourth in the 50-meter freestyle. He continued his sprint dominance at 2013 Phillips 66 Nationals, winning both the 50 and 100-meter freestyles.
In 2014, Adrian again won the 100-meter freestyle at the national meet and placed second in the 50-meter freestyle, thus qualifying for the 2014 Pan Pacs. He won silver in the 100-meter freestyle and bronze in the 50-meter freestyle, and also won gold as part of the 400-meter medley relay team. He currently trains with Cal and holds the American record in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships Adrian had quite the lineup performing on both individual and relay spots. After a disappointing 4×100-meter free relay, where the American men didn’t advance to the final, Adrian focused on his individual events.
In the semi-final of the 50-meter free Adrian finally broke the six-year standing American Record previously held by Cullen Jones by 0.03 seconds. Adrian advanced to the final in first, but lost in the final to Florent Manadou. He also snuck into the final of the 100-meter free after finishing fifth overall in the semi-final. Adrian dropped .05 seconds in the final to grab a seventh-place finish.
Towards the end of the meet Adrian won a gold medal as the anchor leg of the 4×100-meter medley relay. Adrian swam the second-fastest split in the meet behind Australia’s Cameron McEvoy.
2016 U.S Olympic Trials
Adrian qualified for his third Olympic Games with a win in the 100 meter freestyle in Omaha. He finished half a second ahead of the field in 47.72. He added another gold and another individual event in the 50 meter freestyle. He just beat out Anthony Ervin at the touch by 0.01 seconds.
2016 Rio Olympics
Adrian brought Team USA home to a gold medal in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. His split for the anchor leg was 46.97, and he was the only swimmer in the field to dip under the 47 mark. He was joined by Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps and Ryan Held to take the gold.
In the 100 meter freestyle, Adrian looked to defend his Olympic title but had to settle for bronze. He went out well, turning in second place and then took the lead starting down the home stretch. But a young and extremely talented Aussie, Kyle Chalmers came from 7th position to take down the rest of the field. He took gold and Belgium’s Pieter Timmers beat Adrian to the touch by 5 hundredths of a second. Adrian touched in 47.85 for bronze.
In the 50 meter freestyle, Adrian raced to another bronze medal in 21.49, 0.09 seconds behind his country mate, Antony Ervin who took the gold. France’s Florent Manaudou came in second.
He finished his third Olympics with another gold medal in the 4×100 meter medley relay. Adrian took the reins on the freestyle leg, with a good lead from his teammates Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller and Michael Phelps. He split 46.74 to bring Team USA the final swimming gold medal of the 2016 Rio Olympics in 3:27.95, a new Olympic Record.
2017 World Championship Trials
Adrian qualified for the 2017 World Championships with a gold medal swim in the 100 meter freestyle final. He touched first in 47.96. He added the 50 meter freestyle to his schedule in Budapest after finishing second behind Caeleb Dressel.
2017 FINA World Championships
Adrian helped Team USA (Caeleb Dressel, Townley Haas & Blake Pieroni) to a gold medal performance in the 4×100 freestyle relay on day one of World Championships in a time of 3:10.06. Teammate Caeleb Dressel leadoff the relay in a new American record 100m freestyle – 47.26.
Originally developed by Natalie Schumann.