Ryan Held Raises a Big Question: What Is The Fastest Name In Swimming?

by Ben Dornan 170

January 25th, 2022 International, News

A recent Instagram story from Olympian Ryan Held posited that no other “name group” could beat an “all-Ryan” relay and while he has a strong case, let’s look a little closer and see what name would generate the most competition.

By “name group”, we mean a relay consisting of four swimmers who share the same first name. Held’s post referred to a 4×100 medley so we’ll first look at that race. Check out the team that Held drew up, followed by the four strongest contingents we could think of: Team Michael, Team James, Team Matt/Matthew, and Team Adam.

Team Ryan

Team Mike

Team James

Team Matt/Matthew

Team Adam

The twelve swimmers that make up these teams include some of the shining stars of the past few decades and several Olympic gold medalists. Based on best times alone, take a look at how each team would fare:

Team Ryan Team Michael Team James Team Matthew Team Adam
Backstroke 51.85 – Murphy 53.01 – Phelps 54.90 – Goddard 52.08 – Grevers 53.72 – Telegdy
Breaststroke 1:00.97* – Lochte 58.14 – Andrew 58.46 – Wilby 59.17 – Wilson 56.88 – Peaty
Butterfly 52.89 – Hoffer 49.95 – Cavic 50.67 – Guy 53.01 – Biondi 51.80 – Barrett
Freestyle 47.39 – Held 48.18 – Klim 47.10 – Magnussen 48.23 – Richards 48.81 – Chaney
Final Time 3:33.10 3:29.28 3:31.13 3:32.49 3:31.13

*Converted from short course meters PB of 58.98

There are two caveats to consider here and even though they have the quickest add-ups, Team Michael may not have the strongest case.

First, these times are the quickest swims that each man has swum from a flat start, not with a relay takeover. Some get more of an advantage than others from that takeover momentum, meaning the relay format could shake things up a bit.

Second, it’s possible that Michael Phelps never swam a fully tapered, fully shaved 100 backstroke during the peak of his career. The same goes for Ryan Lochte in the 100 breast and Ryan Hoffer in the 100 butterfly. Their entries in this relay represent off events for those three (at least in long course), meaning that if this was a real situation and each man was in their prime, perhaps the times would look different.

From legends like Matt Biondi, Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, and Ryan Lochte to current stars like Ryan Murphy, James Guy, Matt Richards, and Ryan Held, this hypothetical lineup of men would surely make for a great race. While many members of some teams are retired at this point, it’s not something we’ll ever see happen, but it’s interesting to consider what the best medley relay of 4 currently active men would be the fastest.

Notably, the only team that consists of 4 currently active swimmers is Team Adam. Considering Adam Barrett‘s recent return to elite competition when he raced for Energy Standard during ISL season 3, it looks like Team Adam would have the best shot at a race like this today.

In addition to the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, we put together 2 more potential squads of swimmers with the same name in the women’s 4×200 freestyle and the men’s 4×100 freestyle. There tends to be more variation in women’s names, as is such in both casesbelow, but for the sake of the exercise, we’ll squint and let that go.

Team Kate/Katie – 4×200 Freestyle

Team Andr(ey/ei/iy/é)

Let us know in the comments which team, if all 4 swimmers were in their prime, you’d like to see swim most, and if there are any other names with 4 standout swimmers that you think would throw together an impressive time.

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Holden Caufield
1 year ago


Janet HU (Stanford)
Quah Zheng WEN (Cal)
Amanda WEIR (Georgia)
Ally HOWE (Stanford)

Reply to  Holden Caufield
1 year ago

This is my favorite one and part of me is mad that it may have come too late for most people to have seen it, but another part of me is glad that it’s the cherry on top of a great thread.

1 year ago

In lane 4 representing Reasons Why My Wife Doesn’t Want To Kiss Me Anymore:

Katie 𝐆𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬
Amanda 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝
Mark 𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐳
Richard 𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐤

Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago


Homer Simpson
1 year ago

This might be the best swimswam article of all time. Comments section is so much fun

murphy, andrew, dressel, held
1 year ago


Thoman: 52:51
Fink: 58:50
Albiero: 52:38
Miljenic: 49:25

Ceccon: 52:30

Shields: 51:03
De Boer: 49:42

Eddie Rowe
1 year ago

Coed relay:
Ryan Held
Ryan Murphy
Rhyan White
Rhi Jeffrey

1 year ago

Is Milorad Serbian for mike? did I miss that in the article?

Reply to  mcmflyguy
1 year ago

He often goes by Mike socially, and his official coaching bio lists him as “Mike (Milorad) Cavic”

Pichael Mhelps
1 year ago

A fast one , Team Matt

Back: Matt Grevers 52.08
Breast: Matt Wilson 59.17
Fly: Matt Temple 50.45
Free: Matt Target 47.88


It’s the fastest, « Mike » cavic in team Michael is an impostor

Last edited 1 year ago by Pichael Mhelps
1 year ago

*=certain meet in 2018 **=tie
Murph: 43.49 Phelps: 44.85
Lochte: 52.51 Andrew: 50.79*
Hoffer: 43.89 Cávic: 43.71
Held: 41.01 Klim: 41.34 (who knows)
3:00.90** 3:00.69

Telgady: 45.51
Peaty: 48.90 (what’s you’re guess)
Baratt: 44.98
Chaney: 41.51

Reply to  PFA
1 year ago

Team Dressel

100bk –
100br – 50.04
100fl – 42.80
100fr – 39.90

If dressel is under 47 in 100bk he’d be under 3 minutes