Best Female Swimmers of all Time

  • Australian Fanny Durack won the first Olympic gold in 1912
  • Krisztina Egerszegi has the most individual Olympic gold medals
  • Katie Ledecky has 5 Olympic and 14 World Championships titles
best female swimmers of all time

In the best female swimmers of all time we find champions from earlier and most recent times. They all achieved great results from winning multiple championships to setting up world records. Most of them were unbeaten for a long period and had a huge impact on the development of the sport. 

Like we did in the men’s category, we tried to find and list the best female swimmers of all time with no restriction of their eras, nationalities or titles. We can say that most of them were not only great champions, but also very important to make women’s sports more popular all over the world.  They inspired millions of women to follow their samples and start to be active against all the negative comments and stereotypes which sadly still exist today. 

1. Fanny Durack – First female Olympic champion in the best female swimmers of all time 

Quite early, in the 1912 Olympic Games women could already compete in swimming, but only in two events: 100m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay. Australian Frances Durack won the first event, and became part of the history of sport. Between 1912 and 1920 she also held the world record in 100m freestyle and later the world record for 200m as well. But she was good in longer distances as well, up to the mile marathon. Though this event is not in the Olympic programs now, you can find other several options to bet on before the Games on 1xBet. 

2. Dawn Fraser – 3-time freestyle Olympic champion

Dawn Fraser continued the great Australian freestyle traditions. She won the 100m freestyle in three different Olympic Games, in 1956, 1960 and 1964. With this achievement she is part of a very exclusive club with two more swimmers, who could win an individual event in three Olympics. They are Krisztina Egerszegi and Michael Phelps. Fraser also got 5 more Olympic medals and held 39 records during her career. 

3. Debbie Meyer – Winner of 3 freestyle events in one Olympics

American Debbie Meyer achieved another fantastic result, which only one swimmer could repeat so far. She won the distance of 200m, 400m and 800m in freestyle in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, at the age of only 16. Meyer also became the first champions of the 200m and 800m distances as they were introduced to the Olympic program first in 1968. After setting up 24 American records and winning the Swimmer of the Year Award three times, she retired in 1972. 

best female swimmers of all time
These are the best female swimmers.

4. Kristin Otto – Winner of six gold in Seoul

The German champion was the first woman to win six gold medals in one Olympics. Otto won her first world championships in 100m backstroke but she concentrated on other strokes after. She had to miss the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics after the Eastern Bloc’s boycott, but managed to compensate on the following one, in 1988 Seoul. She won in the 50m, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and with the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay. 

5. Dara Torres – She took part in 5 Olympics

Dana Torres won 12 Olympic medals including four golds between 1984 and 2008. One of her  last medals was a silver in 50m freestyle which she won at the age of 41, in her fifth Olympics in 2008 Beijing. She was the oldest female swimmer to represent the USA in the Olympics as online sportsbooks news in the US were also reporting. Her sample showed that women can return back to their top level after giving birth and being a mother. 

6. Krisztina Egerszegi – Winner of most (5) individual gold medals 

Hungarian Egerszegi is one of the greatest Hungarian swimmers with her five Olympic gold medals. It is still the most number of individual gold medals in female swimming.  She won the first at the age of only 14 in 200m backstroke in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In Barcelona, she managed to defend her title and win in the 100m backstroke and in the 400m medley as well. And the cherry on the cake was her third consecutive win in the 200m backstroke in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Her dominance was so huge, that her world record stood for almost 17 years. 

best female swimmers of all time
Discover the best female swimmers ever – Image via Pixabay

7. Jenny Thompson – One of the most decorated Olympians

American Jenny Thompson got 12 Olympic medals including 8 gold from four Olympic Games between 1992 and 2004. Though she never managed to win any individual Olympic gold, all came from relay events. But she won several world championship titles in the 100m freestyle and in the 100m butterfly where she also broke the world record. Proving she was a great swimmer with less luck in the Olympic finals. The American team is expected to finish on top of the medal table in the next Olympics again, with the odds of only 1.10 at 1xBet Sportsbook. 

8. Inge de Bruijn – The Dutch swimming phenomena

The blonde swimmer is a 4-time Olympic champion, in Sydney she won the 50m and 100m freestyle and also the 100m butterfly. She managed to defend her 50m title in the following Games in 2004 as well. With this victory de Bruijn is the oldest individual Olympic champion in swimming. She also won five world championships titles, her record of combined 9 gold medals was only surpassed by American Katie Ledecky. 

9. Natalie Coughlin – 12-time Olympic medalist 

Looks like the number of great American female swimmers is endless, there is at least one huge talent in every Olympics. In the 2008 Olympics Natalie Coughlin became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Games. She is also the first female swimmer to defend her title in 100m backstroke. In her third Olympic Games in 2012 London she finalized her medal collection with one more bronze medal with the 4x100m freestyle relay. Tying her with the above mentioned Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres in the 12-time Olympic medalist club. 

10. Katie Ledecky – The latest American superstar

Katie Ledecky is continuing the great tradition of amazing American female swimmers. Online gambling sites in the US are predicting her winning streak can continue in the next Olympics in 2021 Tokyo. So far she has 5 Olympic and 14 World Championships titles at the age of only 23. She has been dominating freestyle in different distances from 400m to 1500m since 2012 and she is the world record holder in all these events.

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