When searching for something on the internet, one of the first things that frequently appears is a Wikipedia page on that subject. Due to this, the amount of traffic that a Wikipedia page gets at a certain point in time is a great way to measure the popularity of the page’s subject.
Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia, provides the general public with a tool to see the number of views that every page on the site gets on a daily basis (pageviews analysis). In addition, they also rank the most viewed pages on their site for every given day, month, and year since 2015 (topviews analysis).
- Click here for Wikipedia’s daily pageviews analysis page.
- Click here for Wikipedia’s topviews analysis page.
In this article, I used Wikipedia’s tools to analyze the number of views world’s most famous swimmers get on their ages. I looked at data ranging from September 1, 2021, to August 26, 2023 in order to measure a swimmer’s popularity outside the Olympic Games, as I wanted to see when swimmers prompted the attention of the general public beyond the competition where they have the spotlight.
I looked at the traffic on the English version of Wikipedia (though I also picked up non-English Wikipedia stats for swimmers from countries where English isn’t the primary language) for the pages of all the individual gold medalists from the three biggest international competitions since the Tokyo Olympics: the 2022 World Championships, the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the 2023 World Championships. In addition, I also looked at the pageviews of swimmers who were trending for reasons outside of their international meet success (Lia Thomas, Cody Simpson, etc.) as well as swimmers who are not currently active but still popular amongst the mainstream (Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, etc.).
After going through the stats of 60 different Wikipedia pages, here are some of the trends that I noticed.
Katie Ledecky And Lia Thomas Were Trending The Most
Although Michael Phelps, who is arguably the most recognizable swimmer in the world, earned the most Wikipedia page views in the timeframe I looked at (2,452,911 views in total), Lia Thomas was the biggest trending swimmer post-Tokyo.
Thomas, the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA title, nearly matched Phelps in terms of total post-Tokyo views, earning 2,358,272. The most views she got was 124,172 on March 19, 2022, which was the day that the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships concluded. In fact, on that day, her Wikipedia page was the 9th-most viewed page in the entirety of English Wikipedia. Meanwhile, the most views that Phelps got on a single day was 18,100 on October 30, 2022—six days after the passing of his father.
Many athletes associated with Thomas also garnered large amounts of page views. Emma Weyant, who finished second to Thomas in the 500 free at 2022 NCAAs, amassed 146,734 total pageviews post-Tokyo—more than any of her American World Championship-winning teammates with the exception of Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel. Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who tied Thomas in the 200 free at NCAAs and has spoken out against her NCAA participation, got 435,775 total pageviews in that same timeframe.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky was the active international-level swimmer who garnered the most Wikipedia attention post-Tokyo. She was the only swimmer aside from Phelps, Thomas, and Cody Simpson to get over one million page views (1,328,131 total), and amassed 94,527 pageviews on July 30, 2023, the day after she broke Michael Phelps‘ record for the most individual gold medals won at the World Championships. 94,527 is the 2nd-most views a swimmer has earned in a single day post-Tokyo and made Ledecky the 32nd most-viewed page on the English Wikipedia that day.
Notably, this year’s World Championships marked the first time that Ledecky got more than 30,000 pageviews in a single day in a non-Olympic year. In fact, she broke the 30,000 barrier on six different days this year (July 25, July 26, July 27, July 29, July 30, July 31).
Other notable swimmers to earn over 400,000 pageviews post-Tokyo on the English Wikipedia include Simpson (1,230,085), Great Britain’s Adam Peaty (727,634), America’s Ryan Lochte (469,799), Australia’s Ian Thorpe (454,808), America’s Caeleb Dressel (425,679), and Australia’s Emma McKeon (405,626). If views from a swimmer’s native language Wikipedia are counted, then France’s Leon Marchand (126,417 on English Wikipedia, 434,025 on French Wikipedia) and Romania’s David Popovici (309,720 on English Wikipedia, 182,720 on Romanian Wikipedia) will also have surpassed 400,000 post-Tokyo pageviews.
Aside from Ledecky, Thomas, and Phelps, swimmers who got over 20,000 views in a single day on English Wikipedia include McKeon (26,897 on August 1, 2022), Simpson (25,088 on August 1, 2022), Peaty (40,704 on August 2, 2022), Popovici (23,411 on August 14, 2022) and Australia’s Ian Thorpe (27,781 on July 24, 2022). If Wikipedia pages from other countries are counted, then Italy’s Gregorio Patrlinieri (22,435 on July 29, 2022, Italian Wikipedia), Thomas Ceccon (27,885 on July 24 2023, Italian Wikipedia), and Federica Pellegrini (24,736 on August 27, 2022), as well as Marchand (57,027 on July 27, 2023, French Wikipedia) join the list.
Mass Popularity On Non-English Wikipedia Sites
Relative to other pages on the English Wikipedia, swimmers do not garner that much attention. However, that is not the case for many swimmers from countries where English is not the native language—specifically Sweden, Hungary, France, Lithuania, and Italy. Many swimmers from these nations were near the top of Wikipedia pageview rankings for their respective languages, though it’s worth noting that these languages have a much smaller population of speakers and fewer Wikipedia articles than the English language has.
Leon Marchand and Maxime Grousset were two of the most popular athletes on French Wikipedia this year. Marchand, who was named the best male swimmer by World Aquatics at Worlds this year, had the 33rd most-viewed page on French Wikipedia. He ranked #8 amongst all athletes that month, behind Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, French soccer star Kylian Mbappe, Argentinan soccer player Lionel Messi, tennis player Ons Jabeur, and 2023 Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaaard and runner-up Tadej Pogacar. Marchand had also the 3rd most viewed French Wikipedia article on July 23, 2023 (the day he broke the 400 IM world record) and the 5th most viewed on July 27, 2023 (the day he won Worlds gold in the 200 IM).
Grousset, although not as widely searched as Marchand, still earned over twice as many views on the French Wikipedia post-Tokyo than he did on English Wikipedia. He amassed 10,527 page views on July 29, 2023, which was the day he won the 100 fly World title. He also had the #26 most-searched French Wikipedia page on that same day.
Sarah Sjostrom also has similar popularity in her home country of Sweden. On July 30, 2023, the day she won 50 free gold at 2023 Worlds and broke Phelps’ record for the most individual medals won at Worlds, she had the most-viewed page on the entirety of Swedish Wikipedia. Notably, Phelps was also the sixth-most searched article on the site that day. In addition, the amount of pageviews she got on July 30 (14,589) was nearly the same amount that she got when she won silver at the Tokyo Olympics (15,351).
For the month of July 2023, Sjostrom had the 14th-most viewed page on Swedish Wikipedia, having garnered 38,775 in total. That’s the 7th-most page views an active athlete got in a single month on Swedish Wikipedia this year, behind Swedish women’s soccer team goalkeeper Zecira Musovic (124,505 pageviews in August), recently-retired Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic (104,881 pageviews in June, 39,419 in March), women’s soccer player Kosovare Asllani (57,777 pageviews in August), Swedish handball national team goalkeeper Andres Palicka (52,594 pageviews in January), pole vault world record holder Armand Duplantis (48,145 pageviews in August, 40,748 in January), and discus throw world champion Daniel Stahl (44,972 pageviews in August).
On Lithuanian Wikipedia, Ruta Meilutyte was on top. Her page garnered the most views on the site when she won the 50 breast world title and broke the world record in the event on July 30, 2023. She also had the 12th most-viewed page for the month of July 2023 on the site.
Kristof Milak had the most-viewed page on Hungarian Wikipedia on June 21, 2022, when he broke the 200 fly world record in front of a home crowd in Budapest. He was also ranked 30th overall in terms of most-viewed pages on the site for the month of June 2022. Also on Hungarian Wikipedia, Hubert Kos‘s page got the 11th-most pageviews on July 28, 2023, the day he won Worlds gold in the 200 back.
Gregorio Paltrinieri, Thomas Ceccon, and Benedetta Pilato all generated considerably more views on Italian Wikipedia than they did on English Wikipedia. Paltrinieri’s page was the 4th most-viewed on the site for June 29, 2022 (the day he won Worlds gold in the 10k open water), and the 2nd most-viewed on June 25 (the day he won Worlds gold in the 1500 free). For the month of June 2022, his page was ranked #81 in terms of overall views.
Meanwhile, Ceccon had the 3rd most-viewed page on Italian Wikipedia for July 24, 2023, the day he won Worlds gold in the 50 fly. When he broke the 100 back World Record on June 20, 2022, he was ranked #5. Benedetta Pilato was ranked #13 on the same date, where she won gold in the 100 breast at Worlds.
Retired Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini also made waves, having the second-most viewed page on Italian Wikipedia on August 27, 2022, which was the day she had gotten married.
David Popovici had the most-viewed page on Romanian Wikipedia on August 14, 2022 (the day he broke the 100 free world record) and June 22, 2022 (the day he won the 100 free at 2022 Worlds). He had the 8th most-viewed page on the site for August 2022, and the 5th most for June 2022. Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui had the 53rd most-viewed page on Arabic Wikipedia on July 30, 2023, the day he won the 1500 free at 2023 Worlds.
Notably, Chinese World Champions Qin Haiyang and Zhang Yufei did not get many pageviews on Chinese Wikipedia. However, it’s worth noting that Wikipedia is not the most popular encyclopedia in China—that title belongs to the Chinese website Baidu.
Peaking At International Meets
For most World Championship/Commonwealth Games-winning swimmers, the day they got the most Wikipedia pageviews in the time frame that I studied was the day they won an individual Worlds/Commonwealth Games title.
Out of the 52 Worlds/Commonwealth Games individual title winners I looked at, 48 of them saw their pageviews peak during a World Championships or Commonwealth Games. Two athletes (Summer McIntosh and David Popovici) had their pageviews peak when they broke World Records in non-World Championships/Commonwealth Games meets, while Nic Fink had his pageviews peak on the day after the 2023 U.S. National Championships and Lilly King had her pageviews peak on the day of her 25th birthday.
24 of those 48 aforementioned athletes had their pageviews peak at the 2023 World Championships, 15 peaked at the Commonwealth Games, and 9 peaked at 2022 Worlds. Out of the 10 athletes who won individual titles at both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games post-Tokyo, 5 of them saw their pageviews peak during the Commonwealth Games. It’s worth noting that the Commonwealth Games have a far greater audience and are more well-known to the mainstream than the World Championships are, though a smaller number of countries attend the competition.
Full Set Of Data
Below, I present the full list of athletes that I studied and rank them both based on total pageviews post-Tokyo, as well as how many pageviews they got on the day that they peaked in terms of traffic. Once again, I made sure to account for all the 2022 and 2023 individual World and Commonwealth champions as well as a select few other swimmers.
I sorted these lists based on the number of pageviews each swimmer got on English Wikipedia, but I will note if someone has garnered more views on a Wikipedia page in a different language.
List Of Swimmer Ranked By How Many English Wikipedia Pageviews They Got In A Single Day
|Nation||Swimmer||# Of Pageviews||Date||Significance Of Date||Other Notes|
|United States||Lia Thomas||124,172||03/19/2022||The final day of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championships|
|United States||Katie Ledecky||94,527||07/30/2023||When she broke Michael Phelps‘ record for most individual golds won at a World Championships|
|Great Britain||Adam Peaty||40,704||08/02/2022||The day he won the 50 breast at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Australia||Ian Thorpe||27,781||07/24/2022||The day he appeared in Australian TV show “This Is Your Life”|
|Australia||Emma McKeon||26,897||08/01/2022||The day after she became the most decorated Commonwealth Games gold medalist of all time|
|Australia||Cody Simpson||25,088||08/01/2022||The day he swam in the 100 fly final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Romania||David Popovici||23,411||08/14/2022||The day after he broke the world record in the men’s 100 free|
|United States||Riley Gaines||19,275||06/23/2023||The day she criticized U.S Women’s Soccer Team athletes Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan for their stances on trans athletes|
|United States||Michael Phelps||18,100||10/30/2022||Unclear—though his father passed away six days prior|
|France||Leon Marchand||16,204||07/23/2023||The day he broke the 400 IM world record, which was Michael Phelps‘ last world record||57,027 pageviews on French Wikipedia on July 27, 2023, which was the day he won the 200 IM at 2023 Worlds|
|Great Britain||Ben Proud||13,223||07/30/2022||When he won the 50 fly at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Great Britain||Duncan Scott||11,862||07/30/2022||The day he won the 200 free at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Great Britain||James Wilby||10,528||07/31/2022||The day he won the 100 breast at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Canada||Summer McIntosh||10,445||03/29/2023||The day after she broke the 400 free world record|
|Australia||Kyle Chalmers||9,604||08/01/2022||The day he won the 100 free at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|China||Qin Haiyang||9,478||07/28/2023||The day he broke the 200 breast world record|
|Sweden||Sarah Sjostrom||9,164||07/30/2023||The day she broke Phelps’ record for the most individual medals won at a World Championships||14,589 pageviews on Swedish Wikipedia that same day|
|Australia||Cameron McEvoy||8,787||07/29/2023||The day he took 50 free gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|Australia||Ariarne Titmus||8,243||07/23/2023||The day she broke the 400 free world record at the 2023 World Championships|
|Tunisia||Ahmed Hafnaoui||7,994||07/30/2023||The day he took 1500 free gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Emma Weyant||7,973||03/23/2022||The day after Florida governor Ron DeSantis proclaimed her the winner of the 500 free at the 2022 NCAA Championships|
|Australia||Mollie O’Callaghan||7,815||07/26/2023||The day she broke the 200 free world record|
|Lithuania||Ruta Meilutyte||7,051||07/30/2023||The day she broke the 50 breast world record|
|United States||Lilly King||6,181||02/10/2022||Her 25th birthday|
|Australia||Sam Short||5,418||07/23/2023||The day he won the 400 free at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Ryan Lochte||5,168||01/14/2023||Two days after he made his first appearance on the reality TV show “The Traitors”|
|United States||Caeleb Dressel||4,561||06/22/2022||The day he withdrew from the 2022 World Championships|
|Australia||Kaylee McKeown||4,424||08/01/2022||The day she won the 200 back at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Italy||Thomas Ceccon||4,236||07/24/2023||The day he won the 50 fly at the 2022 World Championships||27,885 pageviews on Italian Wikipedia on the same day|
|United States||Torri Huske||3,554||06/19/2022||The day she won 100 fly gold at the 2022 World Championships|
|Great Britain||Brodie Williams||3,253||08/02/2022||The day he won the 200 back at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Hungary||Kristof Milak||3,238||06/21/2022||The day he broke the 200 fly world record||5,174 pageviews on Hungarian Wikipedia that same day|
|Italy||Gregorio Paltrinieri||3,135||06/25/2022||The day he won the 1500 free at the 2022 World Championships||22,435 pageviews on Italian Wikipedia on July 29, 2022, when he won the 10k open water title at 2022 Worlds|
|China||Zhang Yufei||2,928||07/26/2023||The day she helped China win the mixed medley relay at the 2023 World Championships|
|South Africa||Lara Van Niekerk||2,847||07/30/2022||The day she won the 50 breast at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|South Africa||Tatjana Schoenmaker||2,842||07/28/2023||The day she won the 200 breast at the 2023 World Championships|
|Great Britain||Matt Richards||2,835||07/25/2023||The day he took 200 free gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|Hungary||Hubert Kos||2,834||07/28/2023||The day he took 200 back gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Ryan Murphy||2,599||07/25/2023||The day he won the 100 back at the 2023 World Championships|
|Italy||Federica Pellegrini||2,336||08/14/2022||Unclear, though she was in attendance at the 2022 European Championships in Italy||She got 24,736 pageviews on Italian Wikipedia on August 27, 2022, which was her wedding day|
|United States||Kate Douglass||2,290||07/24/2023||The day she won 200 IM gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|France||Maxime Grousset||2,154||07/29/2023||The day he took 100 fly gold at the 2023 World Championships||10,527 pageviews on French Wikipedia that same day|
|Canada||Maggie MacNeil||2,132||07/24/2023||The day she took 100 fly silver at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Bobby Finke||2,082||07/30/2023||The day he took silver in the 1500 free at the World Championships and became the #3 performer of all-time|
|United States||Hunter Armstrong||1,927||07/30/2023||The day he took 50 back gold at the 2023 World Championships|
|Canada||Josh Liendo||1,924||08/02/2022||The day he won the 100 fly at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|United States||Regan Smith||1,769||07/29/2023||The day she took 200 back silver at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Nic Fink||1,654||07/02/2023||The day after the conclusion of the 2023 U.S. National Championships, where he won the 50 and 100 breast|
|Italy||Benedetta Pilato||1,608||06/20/2022||The day she won 100 breast gold at the 2022 World Championships||10,530 pageviews on Italian Wikipedia that same day|
|Australia||Zac Stubblety-Cook||1,578||07/28/2023||The day he took silver in the 200 breast at the 2023 World Championships|
|United States||Alex Walsh||1,437||06/19/2022||The day she won 200 IM gold at the 2022 World Championships|
|Australia||Elijah Winnington||1,372||07/30/2022||The day after he won the 400 free at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|Italy||Nicolo Martinenghi||1,253||06/19/2022||The day he won the 100 breast at the 2022 World Championships||4,711 pageviews on Italian Wikipedia on August 12, 2022, the day he won 100 breast gold at the European Championships|
|United States||Justin Ress||1,156||06/25/2022||The day he won the 50 back at the 2022 World Championships|
|Australia||Elizabeth Dekkers||1,125||07/27/2023||The day she took 200 fly bronze at the 2023 World Championsips|
|South Africa||Pieter Coetze||1,079||07/31/2022||The day he won the 100 back at the 2022 Commonwealth Games|
|New Zealand||Andrew Jeffcoat||1,001||08/02/2022||The day after he won the 50 back at the 2022 Commonwealth games|
|Canada||Kylie Masse||957||06/22/2022||The day she won the 50 back at the 2022 World Championships|
|China||Yang Junxuan||812||06/21/2022||The day she won the 200 free at the 2022 World Championships|
List Of Swimmer Ranked By Total English Wikipedia Pageviews From September 1, 2021 to August 26, 2023
|Nation||Swimmer||# Of Pageviews||Other Notes|
|United States||Michael Phelps||2,452,911|
|United States||Lia Thomas||2,358,272|
|United States||Katie Ledecky||1,328,131|
|Great Britain||Adam Peaty||727,634|
|United States||Ryan Lochte||469,799|
|United States||Riley Gaines||445,335|
|United States||Caeleb Dressel||425,679|
|United States||Emma Weyant||146,734|
|Sweden||Sarah Sjostrom||142,193||193,986 on Swedish Wikipedia|
|France||Leon Marchand||126,417||434,025 on French Wikipedia|
|Great Britain||Duncan Scott||104,073|
|United States||Ryan Murphy||100,509|
|Italy||Federica Pellegrini||97,732||797,785 on Italian Wikipedia|
|Great Britain||Ben Proud||78,502|
|United States||Regan Smith||66,201|
|United States||Kate Douglass||63,865|
|United States||Torri Huske||55,625|
|Italy||Thomas Ceccon||54,489||223,208 on Italian Wikipedia|
|South Africa||Tatjana Schoenmaker||53,962|
|Italy||Gregorio Paltrinieri||53,736||319,624 on Italian Wikipedia|
|United States||Bobby Finke||50,610|
|United States||Nic Fink||42,446|
|Great Britain||James Wilby||38,681|
|United States||Alex Walsh||33,591|
|United States||Hunter Armstrong||32,889|
|France||Maxime Grousset||22,839||33,110 on French Wikipedia|
|Italy||Benedetta Pilato||22,446||118,038 on Italian Wikipedia|
|South Africa||Lara Van Niekerk||21,790|
|Great Britain||Matt Richards||17,483|
|United States||Justin Ress||12,052|
|South Africa||Pieter Coetze||10,474|
|Great Britain||Brodie Williams||10,264|
|New Zealand||Andrew Jeffcoat||4,664|