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United States of AmericaUnited States of America, USA


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
26 May 1981
One daughter [2016]
United States
Higher education
Cultural Studies, Education, Sport Studies - University of California: Berkeley, CA, USA

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming before he reached age 12 months. His parents then enrolled him in a swimming club when he started kindergarten.
Why this sport?
He displayed a number of behavioural problems as a child so his parents encouraged him to begin swimming in the hope that he would channel his aggression in the water.
Club / Team
Team Elite: Charlotte, NC, USA
Name of coach
David Marsh [personal]

General Interest

Tony (, 01 Jul 2012)
Travelling, music, tattoos, teaching people about swimming, karaoke, video games, playing the guitar, DJing. (, 24 Apr 2016;, 09 Feb 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"My only technique is 'fast'. That's all I got. It's abstract. Water is dissociative for me. It pulls me out of the realities of my life. A sanctuary." (, 27 Jul 2012)
Awards and honours
He won the 2016 Perseverance Award at USA Swimming's Golden Goggles Awards. (, 22 Nov 2016)

In 2001 he was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. (, 09 Feb 2016)
To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (, 16 Aug 2017)
Other information
At age 35 years and 78 days he became the oldest swimmer to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games when he triumphed in the 50m freestyle at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 27 Oct 2017;, 12 Aug 2016)

He believes growing up with tourettes syndrome has been a benefit to him during his sporting career, especially when dealing with nerves on the starting blocks before a race. "When I was with those seven other guys in an Olympic final and they're all freaking out and thinking about how they're being viewed and gazed upon by all these people back in their countries - all these people around the world - with me, I knew what these jitters were. I was very familiar with them. I didn't need to be thrust on such a big stage in order to feel that anxiety. It's something that I coped with daily as a youth, so I felt a little more comfortable in that environment. And I really think that gave me a particular kind of edge when competing on that kind of a stage." (, 06 Jun 2017)

He announced his retirement from swimming in 2003 at age 22. Having returned to the University of California, Berkeley in the United States of America to finish his college degree and then started a master's degree in sport, culture and education, he got back into the pool for a college assignment. He was asked to write about his relationship to sport - an assignment that produced an outpouring of 50 pages. He took part in an exhibition race in February 2011 and then made his competitive return in December that year. (, 09 Feb 2016; Cal Alumni Association, Summer 2012)

His autobiography, 'Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian' was published in April 2016. (, 28 Mar 2016)