Olympic Swimming

Find out more about Swimming at the Olympics and Great Britain's successes at the Games.


  • The performance of the Great Britain Swimming team at Rio 2016 is the most successful since 1908.
  • The Great Britain Swimming Team has won a total of 71 medals at the Olympic Games made up of 16 Gold, 27 Silver and 28 Bronze medals
  • The most recent gold medal was won by Adam Peaty in both the 100m Breaststroke in Rio 2016.
  • Rio saw the Swimming Team came home with one gold and five silver medals.
  • The largest Swimming Team at an Olympics was in 1976 when GB took 39 different swimmers to Montreal, the smallest squad was the six participants in Athens in 1906.
  • William Henry is the oldest GB swimming medallist with bronze in the relay in 1906 aged 47 while Sarah Hardcastle is the youngest at age 15 winning silver in 1984.
  • Overall Great Britain has won more medals in the 200m Breaststroke than any other, winning ten medals including four gold


• Great Britain has won six gold medals in the women’s program: the 4x100m Freestyle Relay team in 1912, Lucy Morton in the 200m Breaststroke in 1924, Judith Grinham in the 100m Backstroke in 1956, Anita Lonsborough in the 200m Breaststroke in 1960 and Rebecca Adlington in both the 400m Freestyle and 800m Freestyle in 2008.

• At the 2008 Beijing Games, Rebecca Adlington became Britain’s most successful swimmer for 100 years when she won two gold medals. Her feat of winning the 400m Freestyle and the 800m Freestyle gave her the honour of being the first British swimmer to have won two gold medals since 1908 and the first Olympic Champion since 1988.

• The Beijing Olympics also saw the inaugural 10km Marathon Swimming event which saw Keri-anne Payne and Cassandra Patten win two of the three medals on offer.

• Britain is still searching for its first Olympic medal in both the 50m Freestyle and 200m Freestyle events.

• No Backstroker has won a medal since Natalie Steward took silver in the 100m in 1960. 

• In reaching the final of the 100m Backstroke in Beijing 2008 Gemma Spofforth became Britain’s first finalist in the event since 1984.

• Britain has had a finalist in the last two Olympics in the 200m Backstroke through Lizzie Simmonds (2008) and Katy Sexton (2004).

• The last women’s Breaststroke medallist was in 1960 when Anita Lonsborough struck gold. • No Briton has reached a breaststroke final since 1984 and no Briton has won a medal in the 100m Breastroke.

• Great Britain has never won an Olympic medal in either the 100m or 200m Butterfly events. Jemma Lowe reached the 100m final in Beijing 2008 while the last finalist in the 200m event was Samantha Purvis in 1984.

• Sharron Davies is the only Individual Medley medallist, taking the silver in 1980 in the 400m in Moscow, while the last British finalist in the 200m Individual Medley was Shelagh Ratcliffe in 1968.

• Great Britain has not been on the relay podium since 1980 where the 4x100m Medley Relay team won silver.

• Joyce Cooper holds the record for the most Olympic swimming medals by a British woman with four: silver in the 400m Freestyle Relay in 1928, and three bronzes in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke also in 1928, plus the 400m Freestyle Relay four years later.

• June Croft swam in a British women’s swimming record eight Olympic finals, three in 1980 in Moscow and five more 4 years later in Los Angeles.


• Great Britain have won ten Olympic gold medals in the men’s event: John Jarvis in both the 100m Freestyle and 400m Freestyle in 1900, Henry Taylor in both the 400m and 1500m Freestyle in 1908, Frederick Holman in the 200m Breaststroke in 1908, 4x100m Freestyle Relay in 1908, David Wilkie in the 200m Breaststroke in 1976, Duncan Goodhew in the 100m Breaststroke in 1980, Adrian Moorhouse in the 100m Breaststroke in 1988 and Adam Peaty in the 100m Breaststroke in 2016.

• The last male gold medallist was Adam Peaty who claimed the 100m Breaststroke crown at Rio 2016.

• The last Freestyle medallist was David Davies in Athens 2004 who won a bronze medal in the 1500m.

• Great Britain has been represented in the 200m Freestyle final in the past five Olympics.

• The only male Backstroker to win a medal was Herbert Haresnape with a bronze in the 100m in 1908.

• In reaching the final of the 100m Backstroke in Beijing 2008 Liam Tancock became Britain’s first finalist in the event since 1980.

• Steve Parry is the last Butterfly medallist winning bronze in the 200m event in Athens 2004.

• The only male Individual Medley swimmer to win a medal is Neil Cochran with a bronze in the 200m event in 1984.

• James Goddard and Liam Tancock both reached the 200m Individual Medley final in 2008.

• The last Briton to reach the 400m Individual Medley final isMax Litchfield in 2016.

• Great Britain's most recent relay medals came at Rio 2016 in the 4x200m Freestyle and 4x100m Medley events.