To our USA Swimming membership,
Looking back at the Rio Olympic Games, I think of all the amazing performances that were accomplished in the pool. These achievements are considered by many to be the greatest performance ever by an Olympic Swim Team.
Unfortunately, during an otherwise extraordinary Olympic Games for USA Swimming, a small group of athletes had lapses in judgement and conduct that are unacceptable and aren’t consistent with what we expect as Olympians, as Americans, as swimmers and as individuals. Along with the U.S. Olympic Committee, we have now completed a thorough review of the incident and determined that the athletes violated the Code of Conduct for each organization.
You can read the press release that gives more detail on the suspensions and other consequences for Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte. As you all know, USA Swimming has a Code of Conduct that all members must abide by and we protect that vigorously.
What I’d like to share with you is, despite the headlines on the above incident, how proud I am of our sport and the people in it.
We’ve built an incredible culture at USA Swimming, one that goes beyond an act by an individual or small group. Every member has played a key part in creating such a positive culture, and it has been my honor and privilege to serve our sport and to work with an exceptional group of athletes, coaches, officials, staff and volunteers.
The spotlight shines brightly on swimming during the Olympic Games. We saw new faces deliver memorable medal-winning efforts and the stories that came afterward really showed all that is good about the sport of swimming.
Every time the camera showed our athletes with our national anthem being played, people across the country watched with tears of pride in their eyes. I know I did.
We can proudly remember all that made this Olympic Games one for the ages. It’s important for us all to celebrate these accomplishments. So here are 10 noteworthy achievements from Rio that we can applaud:
- Team USA won 33 medals, our most since 2000 in Sydney
- Team USA won 16 gold, half of the 32 events. No other country won more than 3 gold
- 39 team members won a medal and 26 Olympic rookies won a medal (23 earning gold)
- Team USA set three World Records, nine Olympic Records and seven American Records
- Five athletes won four or more medals in Rio and 17 won at least two medals
- Team USA swimmers qualified for the finals in 25 of 26 individual events, with two Americans reaching in the final in 20 of 26 individual events
- Michael Phelps earned his 28th career medal and 23rd career gold
- Katie Ledecky won the 200, 400 (WR) and 800 (WR) free in the same Games, the first time it’s been done since Debbie Meyer in 1968
- Anthony Ervin became the oldest swimmer to win Olympic gold at age 35
- Simone Manuel won the first gold for the U.S. in the 100 free since 1984 and became the first female African-American swimmer to win gold in an individual event
Thanks for being a USA Swimming member and all you do to make our sport strong.
USA Swimming Executive Director