How Lenny Krayzelburg Attained Body Builder Status During 40-Hour Work Weeks

On SwimSwam Podcast, we’re giving you an in-depth listen at all things swimming. Host Coleman Hodges welcomes guests and guest co-hosts alike to get perspective on our ever-changing swimming universe and break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Lenny Krayzelburg, the 4-time Olympic gold medalist who is known for being buff. Lenny’s story is one of the American Dream: his family came over to America when he was a child, and he had to commute via train an hour 1-way just to swim on a daily basis. He started his college swimming career at a community college while working full time to support his family. After 1 year, he was presented the opportunity to train with Mark Schubert and his elite crew us USC.

Lenny describes his ascent to Olympic victory and more in today’s episode of SwimSwam Podcast.

Music: Otis McDonald


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Immigrant who fled with his family from real persecution to the US for a chance at a better life. On his own an hour and a half each way to practice, teammates parents and coaches picking him up to take him to meets on the weekend. Having to learn to speak, read and write English then working 40 hours a week to get him through his first years of college. Lenny you are a role model for all of us for your strong identity and commitment. Mel, thank you for bringing this amazing story to life.

Lenny = the American Dream, a truly successful immigrant story… I struggled when I was young, but I did NOT have the hurdles Lenny experienced. I think there is a lot more to Lenny’s story, certainly the depth for a book.

Irish Ringer

Mel is rocking quite the streaming studio setup!
Great story and thanks for having Lenny on the podcast. What a great example of working through adversity to become successful in multiple facets of life.

….you know what… if I call 100 former swim stars (for any reason), a few people return within minutes.They work in swimming and they are beasts about the work. Interestingly, it’s Lenny, Rowdy, Roque Santos, Mike Barrowman, Maritza Correia, John Naber & Brian Goodell to name a few (and on the current side Ryan Murphy and Nathan Adrian). A lot return the same day too… Some stars are hyper-engaged and ON IT. Lenny, for example, is wired-into the fabric of swimming, from swim-lessons to the Olympics. His biz knowledge is impressive. And Rowdy Gaines may be the voice of the sport, but his behind-the-scenes work in swim is far, far, far greater. Janet Evans comes to mind too. Her work… Read more »

He Said What?

Years ago, too many to admit, I was closely involved with interviewing Olympic athletes. Naturally, swimming was the sport I focused on most of all. I had a hard lesson to learn when I encountered too many of these former Olympians who simply had no desire or interest to give back to the sport. (I won’t give names) I explained that this was an opportunity to allow their fans to see what it took to reach the highest level…..still had no interest and were quite rude about it. As a mega-fan of the sport, it was eye-opening. But, the special people who responded favorably was heart-warming. The bonus was being able to meet my heroes while doing my best to… Read more »


I wonder how much effect the Soviet swim system had on his grit. What I also found interesting was how his goal wasn’t to be an Olympian until USC it was to take care of his family, get an education and simply have a better life.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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