In swimming, many of the greatest Olympic medal winners have been active over the last 20 years.
In fact, all five of the swimmers with the most Olympic medals over their career have raced at least in one Olympics since 2000: Michael Phelps (28 medals), Jenny Thompson, Ryan Lochte, Dara Torres, and Natalie Coughlin (12 medals each).
Now that the Tokyo Paralympic Games have come to a close, we can examine the updated list of the greatest medalists in swimming at the Paralympic Games. And, in the Paralympic context, we can see that some of the greatest of all-time have also been active in recent years. Some of them competed in Tokyo and added some medals to their haul. Instagram’s Swimming Stats page has published the updated list of the greatest medal winners in Paralympic swimming history.
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The greatest of all, American Trischa Zorn, who won 55 medals and 41 gold, retired in the 2000s. But the 2nd and the 3rd swimmers with the most medals in history were racing in Tokyo.
American Jessica Long won six medals in the last two weeks (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) competing in the SB7/S8/SM8 categories and now has 29 medals over career, second to Zorn in Paralympic swimming. Over five Paralympic Games, her best performance was in 2012, when she won eight medals (five gold) in London.
Brazilian Daniel Dias won three bronze medals in Tokyo in S5 and now has 27 medals over his career. No male swimmer has won more medals in history than Dias, and no Brazilian athlete has won more medals than Dias at the Paralympic Games. At his Paralympic debut in 2008, Dias won more medals than any other athlete, nine. He announced his retirement after his 4th Paralympic Games.
New Zealander Sophie Pascoe won four medals in Tokyo, and now has won 19 medals since 2008, which make her the 12th-most decorated swimmer at the Paralympics. Belarusian Ihar Boki won only gold medals in Tokyo, five. Since 2012, he has won 18 medals, which ranks him 14th on the list.
If we consider the classical medal count, in which the number of medals are sorted by gold, then silver, then bronze, Boki, 16 gold medals, is already in 6th place. Long, also 16 medals, but with more silvers and bronzes than Boki, is in 4th, and Dias, 14 gold medals, is in 8th.