Most decorated Australian swimmers at the  Summer Olympics 

Ian Thorpe
Ian Thorpe

Over the years at the Summer Olympics, Australia has continuously tightened its stranglehold on competitive swimming, making up almost half of all the country’s gold medal wins throughout history.

It is placed second in the table behind the United States with as many as 188 medals.

Australia racked up over 50 medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Across Sydney, Athens and the Beijing editions of the Summer Olympics, the country has won a whopping 153 medals.

Also Read: 5 Sports Where Australia Consistently medals at the Summer Olympics

Five most successful American swimmers at the Summer Olympics

Let's take a look at the most successful Australian swimmers who have risen to a plane well above the high standards of Olympic champion.

#5 Grant Heckett

2000 Sydney Olympics - 1500m freestyle (Gold), 4x200m freestyle (Gold)

2004 Athens Olympics - 1500m freestyle (Gold), 400m freestyle (Silver), 4x200m freestyle (Silver)

2008 Beijing Olympics - 1500m freestyle (Silver), 4x200m freestyle (Bronze)


Grant Hackett's significance goes beyond his impressive Olympic feats.

At the pinnacle of his career, Hackett was considered one of the greatest distance swimmers that history has ever produced. He won two golds in the 1500m men's freestyle and 4x200m freestyle events at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Four years later in Athens, Hackett showed tremendous courage to wade past the challenge to bag an Olympic gold in the 1500m freestyle for the second time. He also won two Olympic silver medals in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay in the same year.

The Australian distance legend returned for the Summer Olympics in 2008 and went on to win silver and bronze medals in the 1500m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle events, respectively.

#4 Shane Gould

1972 Munich Olympics - 200m freestyle (Gold), 400m freestyle (Gold), 200m medley (Gold), 800m freestyle (Silver), 100m freestyle (Bronze)

Shane Gould
Shane Gould

Arguably the best Australian swimmer of her time, Shane Gould has dominated the sport in a way only a few have.

Her only Olympic appearance was at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich where she pocketed a total of five medals, including three gold, one silver and one bronze.

Such was her brilliance in the pool that she went on to set world records for each gold medal that she won.

Interestingly, Gould became the first-ever swimmer to win medals in five individual events during the same edition of the Summer Olympics.

Despite how short lived her professional career was, Gould is still known as one of Australia’s most celebrated Olympians.

Also Read: Top Five Powerhouses In Swimming At Summer Olympics

#3 Murray Rose

1956 Melbourne Olympics - 400m freestyle (Gold), 1500m freestyle (Silver), 4x200m freestyle (Gold)

1960 Rome Olympics - 400m freestyle (Gold), 1500m freestyle (Silver), 4x200m freestyle (Bronze)

Murray Rose
Murray Rose

Murray Rose became the youngest Olympian to ever win three gold medals within a single edition of the Summer Olympics, and his rise to prominence was nothing short of inspiring.

His first Olympic breakthrough came in 1956, where he won three gold medals each in the 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle, and 4x200m freestyle events.

Murray ended his Rome Olympics campaign with three medals in his kitty.

Also Read: Famous records held by American swimmers at Summer Olympics

#2 Dawn Fraser

1956 Melbourne Olympics - 100m freestyle (Gold), 4x100m freestyle (Gold), 400m freestyle (Silver)

1960 Rome Olympics - 100m freestyle (Gold), 4x100m freestyle (Silver), 4x100m (Silver)

1964 Tokyo Olympics - 100m freestyle (Gold), 4x100m freestyle (Silver)

Dawn Fraser
Dawn Fraser

Dawn Fraser is perhaps the most successful Australian woman ever to have participated at the Summer Olympics.

She has won four gold and four silver medals, set a total of 39 records during her impressive career, and registered a three-time victory in the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

Her 100m freestyle record, which remained unbeaten for 15 long years, served as a springboard for an impressive professional career that saw Fraser being considered one of the most decorated swimmers of all time.

#1 Ian Thorpe

2000 Sydney Olympics - 400m freestyle (Gold), 4x100m freestyle (Gold), 4x200m freestyle (Gold), 200m freestlye (Silver), 4x100m medley (Silver)

2004 Athens Olympics - 200m freestyle (Gold), 400m freestyle (Gold), 4x200m freestyle (Silver), 100m freestyle (Bronze)


Ian Thorpe is the most successful Australian swimmer at the Summer Olympics.

His major career breakthroughs include winning five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and following it up with four medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Also Read: Ian Thorpe: "I want to share my Olympic experience with the people of India"

Ian was only 17 years when he earned three gold medals and two silvers at the Olympics. He also held as many as four world records before competing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

(With inputs from the Official Olympic website)

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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