Happy Olympic Day: Check Out The 20 Most-Decorated Olympic Swimmers Ever

June 23 marks Olympic Day, a holiday dedicated to the Olympic movement and its three pillars: move, learn and discover. To celebrate, we’re giving swim fans a chance to move (their mouse to scroll lower down this page), learn (about the most-decorated Olympic swimmers of all-time) and discover (some swimming legends they may not have previously known).

Of course, it’s no secret who’s atop this list. And the difference between #1 and #2 (a margin of 16 total medals and 14 golds) highlights just how historic Michael Phelps‘ achievements in the sport have been.

It’s also interesting to note that Team USA has the top 8 swimmers on this list. The only swimmer from outside the USA to ever crack double digits in total Olympic medals is Franziska van Almsick, who never won an Olympic gold, but racked up 4 silver and 6 bronze over a lengthy career that spanned the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Most-Decorated Olympic Swimmers of All-Time

Rank Swimmer Nation Total Medals Gold Silver Bronze Years
1 Michael Phelps USA 28 23 3 2 2004-2016
2 Jenny Thompson USA 12 8 3 1 1992-2004
2 Ryan Lochte USA 12 6 3 3 2004-2016
2 Dara Torres USA 12 4 4 4 1984-2008
2 Natalie Coughlin USA 12 3 4 5 2004-2012
6 Mark Spitz USA 11 9 1 1 1968-1972
6 Matt Biondi USA 11 8 2 1 1984-1992
8 Gary Hall, Jr. USA 10 5 3 2 1996-2004
8 Franziska van Almsick Germany 10 0 4 6 1992-2004
10 Ian Thorpe Australia 9 5 3 1 2000-2004
10 Alexander Popov Russia 9 4 5 0 1992-2000
10 Leisel Jones Australia 9 3 5 1 2000-2012
13 Nathan Adrian USA 8 5 1 2 2008-2016
13 Dawn Fraser Australia 8 4 4 0 1956-1964
13 Kornelia Ender East Germany 8 4 4 0 1972-1976
13 Roland Matthes East Germany 8 4 2 2 1968-1976
13 Allison Schmitt USA 8 4 2 2 2008-2016
13 Inge de Bruin Netherlands 8 4 2 2 2000-2004
13 Jason Lezak USA 8 4 2 2 2000-2012
13 Petria Thomas Australia 8 3 4 1 1996-2004
13 Shirley Babashoff USA 8 2 6 0 1972-1976
13 Susie O’Neill Australia 8 2 4 2 1992-2000

In This Story

Leave a Reply

18 Comments on "Happy Olympic Day: Check Out The 20 Most-Decorated Olympic Swimmers Ever"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

It would be more interesting if you disregarded the relays – it favours the bigger countries. Swimming is an individual sport 🙂

itsnotbreaststrokeanymore

Nailed it!!

Agreed. It’s a little bit funny to see Thompson ranked 2nd.

And the Backstrock queen Krisztina Egerszegi not on the list just because.. relays..

Can´t find a full list of Individual.. but there would be some changes..
Phelps – 16
Krisztina Egerszegi – 7 (5 Golds)
Kristy Coventry – 7 (2 Golds 4 Silver)
Ryan Locthe – 7 (2 Golds 2 Silvers)

Inge has 6 Individual, Mark Spitz 6, can´t remember anyone else…

Most individual Olympic GOLD

13 – Phelps
5 – Egerszegi
4 – Spitz, Evans, Ledecky, Popov, Darnyi, Kitahima, Klochkova, deBrujin, Matthes, Otto

ERVINFORTHEWIN

Ledecky is already among the greatest !!!!!

NornIron Swim

I’m sure it’s on Wikpedia somewhere but a list with only individual medals would be cool too. Great comparison to see how much USA relays have dominated over the years.

What is the reason adding cells for Coughlin’s medals totals 11?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

Read More »