SwimSwam Podcast: Why John Naber’s Silver-Medal Swim Might’ve Been His Greatest

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 John Naber, who won 5 medals at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. At those Montreal Games, the USA Men’s swim team was perhaps the most dominant in Olympic history, and Naber was one of the winningest athletes on that team, garnering 4 gold medals. However, Naber claims that his 5th medal, a silver in the 200 free, might have been his best performance of those games.

Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Woke Stasi
1 month ago

Interesting note: each member on the winning 1976 Men’s US 4×200 free relay ALSO won an individual gold medal in a different event at the same Olympics: Naber (100, 200 back), Montgomery (100 free), Bruner (200 fly), and Furniss (200 free). I don’t believe any other country (before or since) has done that. The US men’s 2012 Medley relay came close though with Grevers, Phelps, and Adrian winning individual golds then.
Video of that race:
https://youtu.be/kI5J_7WrqZw

Last edited 1 month ago by Woke Stasi
Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 month ago

the womens medley relay from 2012
franklin (100/200 back)
soni (200 breast)
vollmer (100 fly)
schmitt (200 free)

Woke Stasi
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

@OMC: good catch!

Ferb
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

It’s kind of more expected in a medley relay, though. Doing that in the 4×200 is a pretty impressive achievement.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Ferb
1 month ago

i think the closest a freestyle relay came to doing that since was australia’s 4×200 in 1998. Klim (200 free, 100 fly), Thorpe (400 free) and Hackett (1500 free)

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
Reply to  Woke Stasi
1 month ago

The 4X200 always has a great diversity of swimmers and that is why it is the most interesting relay in my opinion.

Coach Mike 1952
1 month ago

Wonderful podcast Mel, goosebumps for me. John Naber has always been one of my all-time favorites – swimming wise & also as a commentator. Great interview on both your parts guys. I was in Bloomington at the time & recall the Doc story well; he was such a great motivator & his book The Science of Swimming was my bible when it came out in 1967. Agree with you about the 4×100 relay induction into the SHOF. Hope you are seeing this John! Be well brother!

Last edited 1 month ago by Coach Mike 1952
Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
1 month ago

Also watched that 200 free final live on TV & was indeed amazed at the 45 minute turnaround coming oh so close to the gold. Love the great anecdotes about Bruce Furniss in the warm down pool after the race, & also the ankle flexibility stories too.

Last edited 1 month ago by Coach Mike 1952
cynthia curran
1 month ago

I think your right. John was not expected to medal in 200 meter freestyle like backstroke. John did a rare thing for a top backstroker which is to medal in a non-backstroke event. This is similar to Ryan Lochte who also medaled in non-backstroke events.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  cynthia curran
1 month ago

Lochte’s an IMer who also medaled in free and back.

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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