Youngest Olympic Swimmers

8 of the Youngest Olympic Swimmers in History

The Olympics is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. Thousands of participants come from around the globe to showcase their skills and put their metal to the test. Winning any Olympics event carries the merit of being the best at that sport.

While thousands of athletes worldwide gather to participate at every Olympic event, not all of them are the same age. In fact, Olympics events have seen some of the youngest athletes worldwide who have managed to best even the older professionals at their sport.

Listed here are the top 8 youngest Olympic swimmers who have established that, despite their young age, they are the best at their sport.

8. Summer McIntosh

Born: August 18, 2006
Current Age: 15
Country: Canada
Olympics debut at: 14 years, 343 days

Summer McIntoshphoto source:

Summer McIntosh is the eighth youngest Olympic swimmer of all time. She is also Canada’s youngest swimmer to feature in the Olympic Games, and has broken several Canadian Olympic records.

Summer made her debut in Olympics at the 2020 Summer Olympics event when she was just 14 years old. Apart from being the youngest Canadian swimmer, she was also the youngest athlete on Team Canada at the 2020 Olympics event. She beat four-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak in the 200-metre freestyle to win her place at the 2020 Olympics event.

As is evident, Summer McIntosh is a celebrated athlete back in Canada, and she has broken over 50 Canadian age-group records throughout her career.

Did You Know?

Summer McIntosh is a 2nd generation Olympian. Her mother, Jill Horstead, was also a Canadian Olympic team swimmer who competed at the Olympics in 1984.

7. Kusuo Kitamura

Born: October 19, 1917
Current Age: deceased, aged 78
Country: Japan
Olympics debut at: 14 years, 309 days

Kusuo Kitamuraphoto source:

Kusuo Kitamura is the seventh youngest Olympic swimmer of all time, having made his debut in the Olympics at the young age of 14.

Kusuo made his Olympic debut at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. At the time, he was one of the youngest swimmers to appear at the Olympics Games. However, Kusuo went a step further, winning a gold medal in the Men’s 1,500-metre freestyle swimming and becoming the youngest-ever swimmer to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

His record remained unbeaten for several years until it was broken at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Did You Know?

After retiring from his athletic career, Kusuo worked hard and rose through the ranks of bureaucracy before retiring as a department head at the Japanese Ministry of Labor.

6. Amanda Beard

Born: October 29, 1981
Current Age: 40
Country: United States of America
Olympics debut at: 14 years, 267 days

Amanda Beardphoto source:

Amanda Ray Beard, also known as Amanda Brown, is the sixth youngest swimmer to ever appear in the Olympic Games. She made her Olympic debut in the 1996 Summer Olympics at the age of 14.

Amanda Beard is one of the most distinguished Olympic athletes of all time. She has two gold, four silver, and one bronze medal to her name. Collectively, she has managed to amass 21 medals competing in several international competitions, including World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade.

She is also a former world record holder in the 200-metre backstroke event. Due to her impressive performances, Amanda Beard has managed to win the American swimmer of the Year Award twice.

Did You Know?

Amanda Beard is one of the most decorated Olympic athletes of all time. She also has the honor of being the second-youngest American Olympic medalist.

5. Krisztina Egerszegi

Born: August 16, 1974
Current Age: 47
Country: Hungary
Olympics debut at: 14 years, 36 days

Krisztina Egerszegiphoto source:

Krisztina Egerszegi is the fifth youngest Olympic swimmer, appearing in the prestigious event three times and a five-time Olympic champion.

Aside from being a young Olympian athlete of her time, Krisztina Egerszegi holds many other distinguished records on the international stage. She is the first female swimmer to win gold medals in five Olympic events.

In the 1988 Summer Olympics, Krisztina Egerszegi won a silver medal in the 100m backstrokes and won the 200m backstroke event – breaking the record of Kusuo Kitamura to become the youngest swimmer ever to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Did You Know?

Krisztina Egerszegi is one of the four distinguished individuals to win the same swimming event at three consecutive summer Olympic events. This record puts her name next to brilliant athletes like Dawn Fraser, Michael Phelps, and Katie Ledecky.

4. Kyoko Iwasaki

Born: July 21, 1978
Current Age: 43
Country: Japan
Olympics debut at: 14 years, 6 days

Kyoko Iwasakiphoto source:

Kyoko Iwasaki, the fourth-youngest Olympic swimmer of all time, made her Olympic debut in the 1992 Summer Olympics at the age of 14.

Kyoko won the gold medal in the 200-metre backstroke at her debut. Even more impressive is that Kyoko Iwasaki was only 14 years and days old when she was crowned as an Olympic gold medalist. It takes special courage and determination for someone that young to keep their nerves at the biggest international sporting event in the world.

Since her retirement, Kyoko has been part of many welfare projects and has taken on the responsibility to give back to the community as much as she can.

Did You Know?

After retiring from her professional athletic career, Kyoko Iwasaki serves as a swimming coach for young and upcoming aspirants who wish to compete at the highest level.

3. Gaurika Singh

Born: November 26, 2002
Current Age: 19
Country: Nepal
Olympics debut at: 13 years, 256 days

Gaurika Singhphoto source:

Gaurika Singh, the young Nepali star athlete, is the third-youngest swimmer to appear in the Olympics.

Gaurika began her swimming career at just the age of 8. Since then, she has grabbed multiple gold medals at some of the highest international stages and has also broken many international records.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Gaurika represented Nepal as one of the youngest athletes ever in the women’s 100-metre backstroke event. At the 2016 South Asian Games, Gaurika Singh managed to grab two silver and three bronze medals. She also took four gold medals in the 2019 South Asian Games, setting a record in the process for grabbing the most gold medals in a single season of South Asian games.

Did You Know?

Gaurika Singh is a celebrated athlete back in her hometown in Nepal. She is also the goodwill ambassador of the Shanti Education Initiative Nepal (SEIN).

2. Ralph Flanagan

Born: December 14, 1918
Current Age: deceased, aged 69
Country: United States of America
Olympics debut at: 13 years, 232 days

Ralph Flanaganphoto source:

Ralph Flanagan is the second-youngest Olympic swimmer of all time. He made his Olympics debut at the 1932 Summer Olympics Event when he was just 13 years old!

Ralph Flanagan competed in the semifinals of the men’s 1500-meter freestyle during his debut event. His second Olympics event was in 1936, where he won the silver medal in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay. He also secured the fourth and fifth positions in the men’s 400-meter freestyle and the 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Did You Know?

In 1978, Ralph Flanagan was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor Swimmer.”

1. Donna Elizabeth de Varona

Born: April 26, 1947
Current Age: 74
Country: United States
Olympics debut at: 13 years, 129 days

Donna Elizabeth de Varonaphoto source:

Donna Elizabeth de Varona is the youngest Olympic swimmer ever. She made her Olympics debut at the age of just 13 years and 129 days.

In her debut Olympics event in 1960, Varona swam for her team in the preliminary heats of the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. However, she did not win the medal because she did not participate in the final event.

In the 1964 Olympic event, Varona swam for gold in the women’s 400-meter individual medley. The 400-meter individual medley was her signature event, but it was first introduced in 1964 and wasn’t included in the 1960’s event.

Did You Know?

In 1964, she was named the “most outstanding woman athlete globally” by the Associated Press and United Press International.

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