Noe Ponti

View Current photo via Fabio Cetti

Noè Ponti is a Swiss butterfly swimmer. He rose to quick fame during the 2021 season, culminating in an Olympic bronze medal in the 100 fly. 

Junior Swimming

2018 Youth Olympic Games (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Ponti moved through the 200 IM prelims in 4th with a solid 2:04.30 and the 100 fly prelims in 9th with a 53.71. Taking on the 100 fly semifinal and the 200 IM final Ponti put up a slightly faster 2:04.20 in the IM for 6th. Ponti also tied for 8th in the semis of the 100 fly then won his swim-off with a 53.16. Ponti was 8th in the final.

2019 Swiss LC Championships (Hallenbadweg, Uster, Switzerland)

Ponti matched the championship record in the morning heats with his top-seeded effort of 23.95. He was 2nd in the final with a 24.27. He won the 200 fly in 1:59.40, just .2 seconds ahead of Jeremy Desplanches. Ponti also won the 100 fly in 53.47 and was 3rd in the 200 back in 2:01.54. 

2019 LEN Junior Swimming Championships (Kazan, Russia)

Ponti took down the Swiss record in the 50 fly as he won the title in 50 fly with a 23.48. It also took down the meet record. Ponti led the 200 IM prelims with a 2:01.80. He was later 5th in semis, a rank which he maintained in the final with a 2:01.17. He was similarly 5th in the 100 fly in 53.08. 

College Swimming

In September 2020, Ponti announced his verbal commitment to NC State

Almost immediately following the Olympics, Ponti arrived in North Carolina but just a month later after speaking with his team in Switzerland, his family, and the NC State coaching staff, he decided he needed to return home. He explained further in this Instagram post: 

National/International Swimming

2020 Swiss SC Championships (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

Ponti posted a new meet record in the men’s 200m fly, topping the field in a time of 1:54.05. That was a near-lifetime best for Ponti, with the time sitting just .12 outside of Jeremy Desplanches’ national record of 1:53.93 that’s been on the books since 2018. Ponti also snagged gold in the 200m IM, posting a time of 1:55.83 to lay waste to the meet record of 1:57.38 from 2019.

2020 Rotterdam Qualification Meet (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Ponti crushed a new national record in the 100 fly with a swift 51.24 in prelims. He lowered his mark further with a 51.15. The previous Swiss standard stood at 52.28 from Jeremy Desplanches. Ponti’s 51.15 positions him just outside the top 35 performers all-time in the event. It also easily clears the Olympic ‘A’ cut and qualifies him for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Entering this competition, Ponti’s career-quickest 100 fly rested at 52.60 from the 2019 Italian Winter Championships.

 Ponti kept going with a 1:56.48 200 fly NR. his time was 2.5 seconds faster than his best entering the day. His time overtook the previous Swiss standard of 1:57.58 that Jeremy Desplanches had put on the books at the 2019 French Championships. He put up yet another big PB with a 1:59.72 200 IM. His result sits .05 outside of the Olympic QT.

2021 FFN Golden Tour Marseille

At the Marseille stop of the Golden Tour, Ponti posted a quick 51.76 100 fly. He also took down his own 50 fly NR with a 23.29 and put up a solid 3:51.47 400 free. 

2021 Swiss Long Course Championships (Uster, Switzerland)

Ponti had an excellent meet, picking up wins in the 50 fly (23.55), 100 fly (51.70), and 200 fly (1:57.83). But perhaps the biggest surprise came in the 800 free where Ponti popped a new Swiss Record with a 8:06.64. 

2021 LEN Aquatic Championships (Budapest, Hungary)

In the 400 free relay, Ponti’s 48.57 split helped the Swiss team to a new national record by over 3 seconds with a 3:13.41. Next, Ponti downed another NR with a 1:55.67 200 fly in prelims. Compared to his previous record of 1:56.48, Ponti was out about a second and a half faster but about .7 seconds slower coming home. He neared that time in semis with a 1:55.81 before dropping a further .49 seconds from his prelims record and placing 5th. His splitting here made it seem like his prelims splitting was intentional as all the time dropped came from his 2nd 100. 

On the mixed 400 medley relay, Ponti got to put his name on another national record as the team, headlined by Ponti’s 50.98 split, claimed the record and the final wildcard qualifying spot for the Olympics In the 100 fly, Ponti was remarkably consistent, posting a 51.49 for 3rd in prelims, a 51.43 for 5th in the semis, and a 51.45 for 7th in the final.

2021 Sette Colli Trophy (Rome, Italy)

At the halloed Foro Italico in Rome, Ponti continued his tear of excellent meets with a 23.53 50 fly, a 51.59 100 fly, and a 1:56.10 200 fly, just a month out from the Olympics. 

2020(1) Olympic Games (Tokyo, Japan)

Ponti opened his first Olympics with a solid 48.62 split on Switzerland’s 14th place 400 free relay. Ponti then swam his way to a new national record in the 200 fly prelims with a 1:55.06 for 5th. In the semifinal, Ponti added just .31 seconds but in a tightly packed field (for a 200) that saw the 16th and 3rd places separated by just .89 seconds, that made all the difference as Ponti ended up 10th, just .06 off a final.

In his next race, Ponti split 1:47.11 on the prelims 800 free relay and helped them qualify 6th, a rare relay final for Switzerland and a new national record of 7:06.59. In the final, Switzerland remained 6th as the same squad of Antonio Djakovic (1:45.77, NR), Nils Liess (1:47.74), Ponti (1:46.93), and Roman Mityukov (1:45.68) again broke their national record, this time with a 7:06.12. 

In his final individual race, Ponti was easy through the prelims with a 51.24 for 5th, just off his PB. Swimming in the 2nd semi next to Caeleb Dressel, Ponti ripped a new NR of 50.76 to qualify 3rd and make him Switzerand’s first men’s 100 fly Olympic finalist. The swim made him the #6 European in the event and the #14 man worldwide in history. In the final, Ponti captured that same magic as semis and bested his NR with a 50.74. The swim did much more than break a national record, it made Ponti an immediate star as his time was just enough to capture an Olympic medal. Ponti’s bronze was Switzerland’s second of the meet as Desplanches took bronze in the 200 IM. 

2021 Short Course Swiss Championships (Sursee, Switzerland)

Ponti swept the butterfly events in national record fashion, posting times of 22.75, 49.98, and 1:51.18, respectively in the 50, 100, and 200. In the 200 IM, his national-record-breaking time was 1:53.10. While he previously held the national record in the 100 butterfly, he surpassed former record-holder in the 200 fly and IM Jérémy Desplanches. 

2021 FINA SC World Championships (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Ponti opened his meet with a national record in the 200 fly with a 1:50.82 for 3rd in prelims. In the final, Ponti dropped a further second to 1:49.81 to take silver. In the 100 fly, Ponti led prelims with a new NR of 49.49 before adding to a 49.62 in semis for 4th. In the final, he was a hair better with a 49.59 for 5th. In the 50 fly, Ponti was a solid 22.52 in prelims for another Swiss Record before adding to a 22.75 and missing the final in 13th in semis. 

2022 FFN Golden Tour Marsilles

Ponti had a solid showing with a 51.63 100 fly. He came home very strong, in a 27.18. He had similarly strong endurance in the 200 fly, posting a 1:57.28. Ponti was also 4:22.93 in the 400 IM.

2022 Swiss Championships (Uster, Switzerland)

Ponti notched season-best in all three of his fly events. In the 50 fly, Ponti punched a time of 23.63 to win. Prior, however, he nailed a prelims time of 23.49, just .10 outside of his own 23.39 national record from last year. His 23.49 heats swim overtook his own meet record of 23.55. In the 200 fly fly event, Ponti hit a big-time 1:55.49 to easily top the podium. He faded in a major fashion with a 31.31 final 50 after blazing a 53.40 over his opening 100. Not surprisingly, Ponti also won the 100 fly with a 51.52

2022 Mare Nostrum Tour (Multi-stop)

In Monaco, Ponti topped the 100 fly and 200 fly. In the former, he put up a 51.76 and in the latter, he threw down a 1:56.51. In Barcelona, Ponti had the unfortunate luck of facing Kristof Milak, and while he was faster than Monaco, Ponti’s 1:56.03 200 fly was not even close to Milak’s 1:53.89. Milak ended up with silver (51.51) and Ponti with bronze (51.71) behind Naoki Mizunuma (51.46) in the 100 fly. Ponti was also 4th in the 50 fly (23.51) much better than his 8th from Monaco (23.66). Ponti was a bit off in Canet-en-Roussillon with a 23.89 50 fly for 9th, a 51.83 100 fly for 2nd, and a 1:57.56 200 fly for 8th. 

2022 FINA World Championships (Budapest, Hungary)

Ponti had a solid start to his meet, resetting his Swiss Record with a 23.04 in the 50 fly prelims, good for 5th. He was a bit off in semis with a 23.29, just putting him out of the final by a quarter of a second in 13th. His prelims time would have tied for 8th with Nicholas Santos. 

With no relays, Ponti moved on to the 200 fly where he bested another of his NRs with a 1:54.75, exactly .3 seconds faster than the prior record, to place 2nd in the prelims. Ponti kept rolling in semis with an even better time of 1:54.20 for 3rd. The time made Ponti the #18 performer in history. Perhaps the best part of his swim was that he dipped under the 1:00 barrier on his 2nd 100 for the first time with splits of 30.09/29.74. In the final, Ponti was out just a bit quicker but just missed his best with a 1:54.29 for 4th. 

In his final event, Ponti was quick in prelims with a 51.17 for 3rd. He was just a titch better with a 51.18 for 4th. In the final, Ponti went out quickly with a 23.51, touching 3rd but seemed to have overdone it going out as he came home in a dismal 28.00 for a 51.51 and last in the final. Just days later, Ponti tested positive for COVID-19 upon his return home, a mere 43 days before the European Championships.

2022 LEN European Championships (Rome, Italy)

A little over a month after his potentially disastrous COVID-19 diagnosis, Ponti was back competing. He opened his meet with his fastest-ever 200 free relay split with a 1:46.42. He was the only member of the Swiss relay to go faster than their split versus the NR the same team set a year ago. The Swiss ended up 4th, missing a medal by .29 seconds.

In the 100 fly, Ponti showed little signs of sickness, leading prelims with a 51.56 and taking 2nd to Milak with a 51.16 season best in semis. In the final, it was Milak with gold but Ponti did not make it easy, nearly reaching his PB with a 50.87. It was an excellently split race with Ponti going out 23.85 and coming home 27.02. In the 200 fly, Ponti had a near miss with a 1:58.09 prelims swim for 13th. He recovered with a 1:55.28 in semis for 3rd and just missed a medal with a 1:55.26 for 5th in the final.

2022 FINA World Cup (Berlin, Germany)

Ponti snagged silver in a new national record time of 49.38 in the 100 fly, .80 seconds back of Chad le Clos “2.0”. He settled for silver again behind le Clos in the 200 fly with a 1:50.43.

2022 Swiss Short Course Championship (Sion, Switzerland)

Ponti had decisive wins in all three fly events. In the 50, he neared his NR with a 22.63. Ponti then hit a solid 50.05 100. Finally, Ponti put up a 1:52.57 in the 200. 

2022 FINA World Short Course Championships (Melbourne, Australia)

Ponti crushed a massive 50 fly PB in the prelims with a 22.01, .59 seconds under his previous NR. It helped him claim the top seed into the semis. In the semifinal, Ponti was 22.04, just a hair slower, for 3rd seed into the final. In that final, Ponti was out even with the field and crushed his back 25 to nearly beat Nicholas Santos (who won to become the oldest world champion ever) and pass the rest of the field. Ponti’s 21.96 cracked his own NR for silver. 

In the 200 fly, Ponti cruised through prelims with a 1:50.69, a relatively relaxed time. In the finals, Ponti undercut his year-old NR by .39 seconds thanks to a massively faster first 100. Ponti was able to hold his back half and ended up just off Daiya Seto for a bronze. 

With a super 48.81 PB in the 100 fly prelims, Ponti broke his 3rd National record. Ponti had no trouble qualifying, as his 48.81 led the prelims by over half a second. Ponti was just a titch back of that with a 49.07 in semis for 2nd behind le Clos. In the final, his ninth fly swim of the meet, Ponti showed some initial speed with a 22.59 opening 50, 2nd behind le Clos at the turn, but struggled coming home and finished back in 4th.

2023 Swiss Long Course Championships (Geneva, Switzerland)

Ponti crushed the field in all three of his fly events, putting up a 23.48 50 fly, a 51.52 100 fly (in prelims), and a 1:57.10 200 fly. He also put up a solid 1:48.78 200 free.

2023 Mare Nostrum Tour (Multi-stop)

In Barcelona, Ponti was solid, putting up a season-best 1:56.78 for 3rd in the 200 fly and a 51.71 100 fly. In Monaco, Ponti found his best in-season form ever. In the 50 fly in a unique 4-stage race, Ponti was eliminated in the semifinal after placing 3rd in 23.24, a new season best.  In the 100 fly, Ponti threw down another season-best with a 51.28 to top the field. Finally, Ponti put up a superb 1:55.42 but ended up 3rd. 

2023 Setti Colli Trophy (Rome, Italy)

Ponti led the 100 fly prelims with a 51.40, 1 of 2 times under 52 seconds and just .12 off his season best. In the final, Ponti was actually 3rd to the wall at the 50 but surged home down the stretch to win by .54 seconds, tying his season best of 51.28. Ponti relaxed through prelims with a 1:58.31 in the 200 fly and then crushed the final with a strong 1:55.39, a small season best, slicing .02 off of the 1:55.42 he produced at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour. in the 50 fly, Ponti eased to a 23.51 in prelims but failed to sweep the fly events in the final as he placed 3rd with a 23.27.

2023 World Aquatics Championship (Fukuoka, Japan)

Ponti left Fukuoka medalless, but he still had some impressive performances. In the 100 fly, Ponti was solid in prelims with a 51.00, a season-best and good for 4th Ponti nearly missed the finals as he placed 8th, just .05 seconds ahead of 9th place, with a 51.17. In the final, Ponti was a bit slower with a 51.23 but improved to 7th place. The overall event results were emblematic of the massive strides the event has made since the 2020(1) Olympics as 6 different men dipped under the elite 51-second barrier in a field devoid of both Caeleb Dressel and Kristof Milak, the two fastest men from the Olympics. In 2022, only 3 men were under 51 seconds across the rounds. 

In the 200 fly, Ponti was just off his season best with a 1:55.44 in semis after putting up a 1:55.88 in prelims. The time, however, was not good enough to qualify for the final as he placed 11th and it took a sub-1:55 to qualify. In the 50 fly, Ponti was solid in prelims, nearing his best with a 23.13 for 5th but he faltered just a bit with a 23.26 in semis and missed out on the final in 13th.

This biography was originally developed by Lucas Caswell

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Bronze 100 Fly 2020 Olympic Games
Silver 200 Fly 2021 Short Course World Championships
Silver 200 Fly 2022 Short Course World Championships
Bronze 200 Fly 2022 Short Course World Championships
Silver 100 Fly 2022 European Championships
Gold 50 Fly 2017 European Junior Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 50 Fly 23.04 06/18/22 2022 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 100 Fly 50.74 07/31/21 2020(1) Olympic Games
Tokyo, Japan
lcm 200 Fly 1:54.20 06/20/22 2022 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 50 Fly 21.96 12/14/22 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships
Melbourne, Australia
lcm 100 Fly 48.81 12/17/22 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships
Melbourne, Australia
lcm 200 Fly 1:49.42 12/15/22 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships
Melbourne, Australia