For the First Time Since 2004, The US Olympic Swim Team Will Have Two Sets of Siblings

The 2024 US Olympic Swimming Team will have not one, but two sets of siblings in tow: Alex & Aaron Shackell from the Carmel Swim Club and Alex & Gretchen Walsh from the University of Virginia will all represent the US at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Both globally and in the United States, sibling-Olympians are not particularly rare. It turns out that similar genetics, access to similar resources, and similar parents often lead to similar performance outcomes.

What is more rare, though, is having two sets of siblings on the same Olympic Team.

As far as we can tell, the last time that happened in the US was in 2004, when Dana & Tara Kirk and Klete & Kalyn Keller were all on the American team. Before that in 1976, Steve & Bruce Furniss and Shirley & Jack Babashoff were on the US team in Montreal.

Steve & Bruce Furniss are among four sets of brothers who have both won Olympic medals in swimming – something neither set of 2024 Paris Olympians could accomplish, specifically as brothers.

Creating an exhaustive list (especially globally) of all sibling swimming Olympians would be a near-impossible task. But we put our heads together and tried to come up with as many as we could.

US Olympic Swimming Siblings

  • Alex Shackell & Andrew Shackell will both represent the US at the Paris 2024 Olympics, making their debuts together.
  • Gretchen Walsh & Alex Walsh will both represent the US at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Alex has a silver medal in the 200 IM from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while Gretchen is making her debut in Paris.
  • Erin Gemmell & Andrew Gemmell are both US Olympians, albeit on very different timelines. Andrew, 33, was on the 2012 Olympic team, finishing 9th in the heats of the 1500 free, while Erin will be an 800 free relay team member at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
  • Haley Anderson & Alyssa Anderson both represented the US in swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Haley won silver in the 10km marathon in open water while Alyssa won gold as a prelims leg of the 800 free relay.
  • Clark Burckle & Caroline Burckle are a pair of siblings who both represented the US at the Olympics, but not at the same time. Caroline raced at the 2008 Games, winning bronze in the 800 free relay, while Clark qualified for the 2012 Games, finishing 6th in the 200 breaststroke.
  • Kalyn Keller & Klete Keller both represented the US at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kalyn didn’t medal, but Klete won gold in the 800 free relay and bronze in the 400 free, part of a five total medal haul across the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics.
  • Dana Kirk & Tara Kirk both swam for the US at the 2004 Olympics as well, believed to be the first set of sisters to swim on the same U.S. Olympic Team. Tara won a medal as part of the 400 medley relay.
  • Mike Bottom & Joe Bottom both qualified for the 1980 Olympic Team before the US boycotted. Joe swam in 1976 too, winning silver in the 100 fly. Mike never got his shot to race at the Olympics.
  • Bruce Furniss & Steve Furniss were both on the 1976 Olympic Team. Steve had his best Olympics in 1972, winning a bronze medal in the 200 IM, while Bruce starred in 1976, winning two gold medals and setting a World Record in the 200 free. They also had two other brothers who were also successful aquatic athletes.
  • Maiola Kalili & Manuela Kalili were on the tail end of the great Hawaiian swimming brothers tradition. They made up half of the silver medal winning US 800 free relay at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
  • Samuel Kahanamoku & Duke Kahanamoku both competed for the US at the 1924 Summer Olympics in spite of being 12 years apart in age. There Duke won silver in the 100 free and Samuel won bronze. That was his only Olympics, but Duke swam at the 1912 and 1920 Games as well, amassing a total of three gold and two silver medals. They were part of a family of nine children.
  • Pua Kealoha & Warren Kealoha both swam at the 1920 Olympic Games, with Warren also going on to compete in 1924. Warren won back-to-back golds in the 100 back, while Pua won gold in the 800 free relay and silver in the 100 free in 1920.

Non-Americans

  • Bronte Campbell & Cate Campbell (Australia) were the most-successful sister swimming pair we could think of. Bronte has three Olympic medals, including two golds, while Cate has eight medals including four gold. Cate swam at the 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2021 Olympics, while Bronte swam in 2012, 2016, 2021, and is qualified for the 2024 Games as well.
  • David Lopez-Zubero & Martin Lopez-Zubero (Spain) both represented Spain at three Summer Olympic Games, but due to a 10-year age gap, those appearances miraculously never overlapped. David swam at the 1976, 1980, and 1984 Games, winning bronze in the 100 fly in 1980; while Martin swam in 1998, 1992, and 1996, winning gold in the 200 back at the 1992 Olympics.
  • Gergely Gyurta & Daniel Gyurta (Hungary) were both multi-time Olympians. Daniel swam at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Games, winning gold in the 200 breast in 2012 and silver in 2004. Gergely swam at the 2012, 2016, and 2020 Olympics, though he has no medals. Daniel was a breaststroker and Gergely a distance swimmer, giving them two very different event lineups.
  • Florent & Laure Manaudou (France) have each been the faces of their federations at different points. Florent, expected to race in Paris, has four Olympic medals, including gold in 2012. 2024 would be his fourth-straight Olympics. Laure, who retired relatively young in 2009 before making an eventual comeback for the 2012 Games,  won three Olympic medals in 2004, including gold in the 400 free.
  • Twins Ake Borg & Arne Borg (Sweden) both swam at the 1924 Olympic Games and both won medals. Ake won just a single medal, bronze in 1924 in the men’s 800 free relay, while Arne won five across the 1924 and 1928 Games, including 1928 gold in the 1500 free relay.
  • Ilona Novak & Eva Novak (Hungary) both swam at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games. Ilona won gold as part of the 400 free relay in 1952, which was also Eva’s lone gold medal. Eva won three other Olympic medals though.
  • Ilsa Konrads & John Konrads (Australia), the Konrad Kids, both represented their country at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Ilsa won silver in the 400 free relay and john won three medals, including gold in the 1500 free. John was a reserve on the 1956 team and swam in the relay heats in 1964. Both went on to successful careers in business.
  • Marianne Muis & Mildred Muis (Netherlands) were another set of twins with swimming success. They both won bronze medals on Netherland’s 1988 400 free relay. Marianne also swam in 1992 and 1996 while Mildred swam in 1992.
  • Claudia & Silvia Poll (Costa Rica) both were Olympians, though they didn’t overlap. Silvia won silver in the 200 free in 1988 and Claudia won a gold in the 200 free in 1996 among three total medals at the 1996 and 2000 Games. Silvia represented Costa Rica in 1992 as well.
  • Bengt Zikarsky & Bjorn Zikarsk (Germany) are another set of twin medalists. They shared bronze in the 400 free relay at teh 1996 Games. Bengt also won bronze in the 400 free relay in 1992 – a team that Bjorn didn’t make. Bjorn’s 7’3″ son Rocco is pursuing a career in pro basketball in Australia.
  • Mehdy Metella & Malia Metella (France) are a decade apart in age, but both have Olympic medals. Malia won silver in the 50 free at the 2004 Olympics while Mehdy won silver on the 400 free relay in Rio. Mehdy is still active and, while he missed the 2024 team, says he’s still shooting for Paris.
  • Taylor McKeown & Kaylee McKeown (Australia) are another Olympic medal winning sisters pair. Kaylee is currently one of the world’s top swimmers, winning 3 golds and 1 bronze in Tokyo. Taylor, who retired in 2022, won silver on the Australian 400 medley relay in 2016. They never swam on the same Olympic team.

Other family ties for Team USA in Paris:

  • Katharine Berkoff, who will swim in Paris in the 100 back, is the daughter of four-time Olympic medalist and two-time Olympic gold medalist David Berkoff. We couldn’t think of another female US Olympian whose father was also a US Olympian (though the Shackells’ father Nick was a two-time British Olympian).

Because we get asked this so often, we’d love your help in filling out our list. Add names we missed below, and together the community can generate a (relatively) exhaustive list.

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Kristen
22 days ago

What about Aaron & Haley Piersol!?

23 days ago

Marco and Luca De Tullio (ITA)
Matteo and Michele Lamberti (ITA)

Ria Ria Hungaria
23 days ago

Father and son duo Laszlo Cheh! (HUN)

Em Bee
24 days ago

Jill Horstead (84) is mom to Summer McIntosh (20[1], 24)

B+ Masters Swimmer
24 days ago

I feel we have a lot of parent/child examples we are missing.

Last edited 24 days ago by B+ Masters Swimmer
Boomer
24 days ago

Emma and David McKeon of Australia

I think the Chmielewski twin brothers (of Poland) are swimming in Paris? (Krzysztof and Michal)

Last edited 24 days ago by Boomer
tea rex
24 days ago

Sophie and Louise Hansson, 2016 and 2020. They swam on the 4×100 Free and Medley Relays together in Tokyo. They got 5th or 6th in both their individual events and relays in Tokyo.

Jfed
24 days ago

The Swedish pair of Louise and Sophie Hansson.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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