The US and Australia are two of the greatest powerhouses in the swimming pool. The Olympics are an exciting time for everyone, with the 2 best countries fighting it out valiantly every year in the pool, with the hopes of taking the glory each year.
Australia’s best event by far is swimming- an Overview
Swimming is by far Australia’s best event at the Olympics, with representation at every Summer Olympics since 1900. With the likes of Ian Thorpe, Dawn Fraser, Leisel Jones, Petria Thomas, Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett, Murray Rose, Lisbeth Trickett and Michael Klim representing Australia, the benchmark for swimmers is very high.
The first of Australia’s medals came along in 1900, where swimmer Frederick Lane, Australia’s sole swimming representative took home 2 gold medals. Australia has won a total of 188 medals at the Olympics with 58 of them being gold. Australia’s strongest ever performance was in the 1956 Olympics, of which they were host.
The US has the most medals in swimming at the Olympics- an Overview
The US has the most medals in the Olympics in swimming, a whopping 553, out of which 246 are gold. Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Jenny Thompson, Matt Biondi, Amy Van Dyken, Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky are just some of the players who have achieved glory for the US.
Charles Daniels was the first American to win a swimming medal at the Olympics in 1904. He won the gold medal in the 200m and 400m freestyle event. Michael Phelps is America’s greatest swimmer, who holds the record for the most Gold medals won in a single Olympics. He won 8 Olympic medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has also been the most successful Olympian for 4 Games in a row.
|United States of America||553||246||172||135|
With the competition always neck and neck, let us take a look at the last 5 Olympic Games, and how US and Australia have fared.
Sydney 2000 Olympics – USA comes out on top, with Australia a close second
The swimming competitions at the Sydney Olympics took place at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre in Homebush.
United States was the most successful, with a total tally of 33 and Australia came second, by winning a total of 18 medals.
|United States of America||33||14||8||11|
The likes of Anthony Ervin, Misty Heim, Lenny Krayzelburg and Brooke Bennet competed for the United States. The United States broke 6 Olympic records and 4 world records, and won 4 of the 6 relay races.
Australia on the other hand, had representatives like Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Susie O’Neill and Leisel Jones. They broke 3 world records and won 2 of the relay races that year.
Athens 2004 Olympics – Australia closes the gap
The 2004 Athens Olympics swimming races took place at the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre in Marousi. The United States produced 28 medals this year, with Australia coming in second with a total of 15 medals. Both countries had a decrease in medals since 2000, but US managed to maintain its lead
|United States of America||28||12||9||7|
This was the year the legendary Michael Phelps made his debut. He won 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals for the US. The US broke 5 Olympic records and 3 world records. They won 3 out of the 6 relay races that year. Athletes like Michael Phelps, Gary Hall Jr., Aaron Peirsol, Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin represented the US
Australia came in strong, with the athletes breaking 1 Olympic record and 2 world records. Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Jodie Henry and Petria Thomas were some notable athletes from Australia.
Beijing 2008 Olympics – Both countries win their most medals till date
The swimming competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics were held at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre. It was the highest medal tally for both the countries.
|United States of America||31||12||9||10|
This was the year that Michael Phelps broke the record of the most Olympic Gold medals ever won in a game, by bagging 8 gold medals in total. 1 Olympic record was broken by the US and 10 world records were set. Michael Phelps, Rebecca Soni, Natalie Coughlin, Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte impressed the world.
Australia had its best performance this year, breaking one Olympic record and setting 4 world records. The women impressed this year, with the likes of Leisel Jones, Stephanie Rice, Lisbeth Trickett winning Olympic golds.
United States won three of the relay races, while Australia was close behind at 2.
London 2012 Olympics – Australia’s most underwhelming performance in a long time
The swimming portion of the London Olympics took place at the Aquatic centre. It was Australia’s worst performance yet, with only one gold medal, and countries like China, France, Netherlands and South Africa surpassing them in the medal tally.
|United States of America||31||16||9||6|
4 Olympic records were set by the US and 3 world records were broken. The US won 4 of the 6 relay races that year and the likes of Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, Tyler Clary, Rebecca Soni, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky performing exceptionally.
The Australians put up a disappointing performance, with only one gold medal in the women’s relay race, breaking the Olympic record. Alicia Clouts and James Magnussen were some of the stand out performances that year.
Rio 2016 Olympics – Australia barely managed to improve, While the US won their most medals yet
Swimming at the 2016 Olympics took place at the Aquatic Centre in Rio. Despite their mediocre performance, Australia stood second on the medal table, behind the US.
|United States of America||33||16||8||9|
3 Olympic records and 3 world records were set by the US. The US team won an excellent 5 out of the 6 relay races. The women impressed this year, with Katie Ledecky taking home 4 gold medals. Lilly King and Maya DiRado also impressed, with Michael Phelps and Ryan Murphy shining.
Australia broke 2 world records, and won 1 relay race. Kyle Chamers, Mack Horton and Cate Campbell were the stars of the Olympics.
Will Australia be able to make a comeback against the unstoppable Americans at the Tokyo Olympics?
The 2020 Olympics will be an exciting time for swimming for Australia and the USA. With Australia going for quality over quantity, this could be the year that Australia makes a comeback. With Michael Phelps retired, this year the Olympic hopes will be carried on by the younger, newer swimmers taking charge.
With both the US and Australian Trials over, let us take a look at the winners in each event and how Australia stacks up against US this year.
|Event||USA Men||Time||Australia Men||Time|
|50 m freestyle||–||–|
|100 m freestyle||Caeleb Dressel||47.39s||Kyle Chalmers||47.59s|
|200 m freestyle||Keiran Smith||1.45.29s||Kyle Chalmers||1.45.48s|
|400 m freestyle||Kieran Smith||3.44.86s||Elijah Winnington||3.42.65s|
|800 m freestyle||Bobby Finke||7.48.22s||Jack McLoughlin||7.42.51s|
|1500 m freestyle||–||–||Jack McLoughlin||14.52.69s|
|100 m backstroke||Ryan Murphy||52.33s||Mitch Larkin||53.40s|
|200 m backstroke||Ryan Murphy||1.54.20s||Tristin Hollard||1.56.44s|
|100 m breaststroke||Michael Andrew||58.73s||–||–|
|200 m breaststroke||Nic Fink||2.07.55s||Zac Stubblety-Cook||2.06.28s|
|100 m butterfly||Caeleb Dressel||49.87s||Matthew Temple||50.45s|
|200 m butterfly||Zac Hearting||1:55.06s||Matthew Temple||1:55.25s|
|200 m indvidual medley||Michael Andrew||1.55.44s||Mitch Larkin||1:56.29s|
|400 m individual medley||Chase Kalisz||4.09.09s||Brendon Smith||4:10.04s|
|Event||USA Women||Time||Australia Women||Time|
|50 m freestyle||–||–||Emma McKeon||23.93s|
|100 m freestyle||Abbie Weitzeil||53.53s||Emma McKeon||52.35s|
|200 m freestyle||Katie Ledecky||1.55.11s||Ariarne Titmus||1:53.09s|
|400 m freestyle||Katie Ledecky||4.01.27s||Ariarne Titmus||3:56.90s|
|800 m freestyle||Katie Ledecky||8.14.62s||Ariarne Titmus||8:15.57s|
|1500 m freestyle||Katie Ledecky||15.40.50s||Maddy Gough||15:46.13s|
|100 m backstroke||Regan Smith||58.35s||Kaylee McKeown||57.45s|
|200 m backstroke||Rhyan White||2.05.73s||Kaylee McKeown||2:04.28s|
|100 m breaststroke||Lilly King||1.04.79s||Chelsea Hodges||1:05.99s|
|200 m breaststroke||Annie Lazor||2.21.07s||Jenna Strauch||2:23.12s|
|100 m butterfly||Torri Huske||55.66s||Emma McKeon||55.93s|
|200 m butterfly||Hail Flickinger||2.05.85s||Brianna Throssell||2:07.63s|
|200 m indvidual medley||Alex Walsh||2.09.30s||Kaylee McKeown||2:08.19s|
|400 m individual medley||Emma Weyant||4.33.81s||–||–|
With the competition looking neck to neck at the respective Olympic trials, the Swimming events in Tokyo Olympics will definitely be exciting to watch.