Swimmers With The Most Consecutive Years In The World’s Top 10

In the last 20 years, we have seen several older swimmers maintain their high-performance level for many years. There are many reasons for this, including more and more swimmers turning pro, the evolution of sports science, etc.

Consequently, many swimmers are able to extend their careers and stand among the fastest swimmers in the world for over a decade. To illustrate that, Swimming Stats’ Instagram page has published the list of swimmers to end 2021 with the most consecutive years in the world’s top 10.


All the names are very well known for their longevity in the sport, the top-ranked swimmer included. Ryosuke Irie has been one of the best backstrokers in the world for a long time. Although he hasn’t been on the podium of Olympics or World Aquatics Championships in an individual event since 2012, he remains an elite swimmer as of today. In fact, he’s ended every year since 2007 among the world’s top 10 in the men’s 200 backstroke, more than any active swimmer.

Sarah Sjostrom is both very versatile and experienced. She’s been in the world’s top 10 in no less than three events for more than 10 years: 50 and 100 fly (13 years), and 100 freestyle (12 years). And she was short of adding one more event to this list, the 50 free — she’s been in the top 10 in every year-end since 2011, with the sole exception of 2012.

Speaking of which, Cate Campbell is a swimmer who could be on the top of the list. She’s been in the top 10 of the women’s 50 free for 11 years, since 2011. But she was also between 2006 and 2009. In other words, if she made the top 10 in 2010 (she was 19th), she would be completing 16 consecutive years among the 10 fastest swimmers in the 50 free.

There are other “ifs”: If Katinka Hosszu had ended 2018 in the women’s 400 IM top 10, she would be completing 13 years inside the top 10; If Joao Gomes Junior had ended 2010 in the top 10 of the men’s 50 breaststroke, he would be completing 14 years in the top 10; and so on.

Curiously, of all the swimmers on Swimming Stats’ list in their respective events, Bruno Fratus is the only one to have won an Olympic medal in Tokyo last year, a bronze in the men’s 50 freestyle.

And where’s Katie Ledecky? In fact, Ledecky has been dominating the women’s 800 free since 2012, and she’s been the number 1 in the event in the last 10 years, a feat that no other swimmer comes close to. But this is a subject for another post.

In This Story

23
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
23 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan
7 months ago

Alexandr Popov was on the lists from 1991 and on for sure, but not sure if he made the Top 10 in 1989 or 1990
What was his last year, could it been around 2004ish?

Last edited 7 months ago by Dan
swimnewsrankings
Reply to  Dan
7 months ago

I know Craig Lord stole the old swimnews world rankings and then trashed them, but I wonder if anybody captured the old archive before he took them down?

Popov retired in early 2005. He missed the semis in the 50 free in 2004 and missed the finals of the 100 free in 2004, so it’s plausible he didn’t make the top 10 that year.

Dan
Reply to  swimnewsrankings
7 months ago

If I remember correctly, he swam much-much faster at the Russian trials in 2004 than at the games. At those games was the first time I saw him trying to go 15m under water and had not seen him do that before and I do not think that was the right thing for him.

Sam B
7 months ago

 If Katinka Hosszu had ended 2018 in the women’s 400 IM top 10….
she won in 2019, was she not in the top 10 in 2018?

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Sam B
7 months ago

She was dealing with her divorce that year, raced very little and didn’t swim 400 IM at European Championships.

Sam B
Reply to  Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
7 months ago

she won in 2009 in Rome, on the podium in 2008 and 2010 at the Euros. So since then her only bad year was 2021. Not to mention her 200 IM streak

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Sam B
7 months ago

she was ranked 14th in 2018 in the 400 im, giving her a streak of 10 years from 2008-2017.
in the 200, she was 11th last year and in 2011. the 400 is actually the longer streak of the two, and it’s still shorter than this entire list

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
7 months ago

Irie is a legend.

(Also he won bronze/silver in the 2012 Olympics so I think you should say he hasn’t got on a major individual podium since 2012).

17.6 without fins is next level
7 months ago

Daniel, are you doing those posts specially to overhype your Brazilian friends or what ? 🤔

BTW, your Gomes is known for dolphin kicks throughout his whole career with no olympic medal 👎

Don‘t start me on the 50 freestyle subject, cause there is only one GOAT and his name is CAELEB REMEL DRESSEL aka the fastest human that has ever touched the planet earth 🌍

Olympian
Reply to  17.6 without fins is next level
7 months ago

Who hurt you my man?

Check yourself mate
Reply to  Olympian
7 months ago

Those are facts amigo.

Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
Reply to  17.6 without fins is next level
7 months ago

whoa calm down jamal

Last edited 7 months ago by Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
Jimmy
Reply to  17.6 without fins is next level
7 months ago

Missing rankings dominated by Americans?

Swimmerfromjapananduk
Reply to  Jimmy
7 months ago

Dressel wouldn’t be on there, hasn’t been in the worlds top 10 for more than 10 years

Remel is buit different
Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
7 months ago

Because Dressel is younger than those other swimmers. Even though, he’s been in the top 10 in the 50 free in 2015,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021

Uhhh
Reply to  Remel is buit different
7 months ago

So in 2026 Dressel will make this list 🙂
Till then cya

Admin
Reply to  Uhhh
7 months ago

2027 right? To get to 11?

Walter
7 months ago

Phelps? Lochte?

jeff
Reply to  Walter
7 months ago

the list is only for swimmers who still have their streak going in 2021 but I wanna see an all time ranking too

Admin
Reply to  jeff
7 months ago

As with most things in swimmings, historically-poor record keeping makes “all time” nearly impossible to do. Who were the 10 fastest swimmers in the 200 free in 1928? Nobody knows, and nobody will ever know.

Yuri
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

One of them : THE LEGEND Jonny Weissmuller.

swimming435
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Just pick a cut off point where you have the data then.

HJones
Reply to  swimming435
7 months ago

Or, word it as they do in other sports: “First person to accomplish ‘x’ since at least ‘y’“. That’s what is done in basketball and football, where some stats were only officially recorded after a certain year.