Nathan Adrian Biography

Swimmer, Athlete (1988–)
Nathan Adrian is an American swimmer and three-time Olympic gold medalist. At the London Games in 2012, he won two gold medals and one silver.


Nathan Adrian began swimming at an early age, following the examples of his older brother and sister. After swimming in high school, he went to the University of California at Berkeley, where he broke school and Pac-10 swimming records. Following success at meets around the globe, Adrian won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a member of the record-setting American 400-meter freestyle relay. Then, at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Adrian took home three more medals: two golds and a silver.

Early Life

Nathan Adrian was born in Bremerton, Washington in 1988. Growing up, he took interest in swimming under the influence of his older brother and sister, both of whom went on to swim in collegiate settings (Arizona State and the University of Washington, respectively). After swimming all through high school (along the way, setting the state record in the 200-meter freestyle), Adrian entered the University of California at Berkeley in 2006, where he majored in public health and joined the swim team. At Berkeley, Adrian continued to excel in the pool, setting several school and Pac-10 records, including Pac-10 records in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle; the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays; and the 200- and 400-meter medley relays.

Star Swimmer

Adrian qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing with the U.S. Olympic team, becoming the first University of California male swimmer since 2000 (Anthony Ervin) to qualify for the squad. In Beijing, he won a gold medal as part of the American 400-meter freestyle relay, a performance that also set a new world record.

In an already storied swimming career, Adrian didn't rest on his laurels after winning Olympic gold. In 2009, he won the Golden Goggles Award at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, as member of the U.S. gold-medal-winning 400-meter freestyle relay team, and was named the Pac-1 Swimmer of the Year. Also that year, Adrian was named the NCAA champion in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races, and won the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races at the 2009 ConocoPhillips National Championships.

The calendar may have changed when 2010 rolled around, but Adrian's winning ways certainly didn't. That year, he was named the NCAA champion in the 100-meter freestyle; the Pac-10 champion in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races; and a relay team champion in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relays, at the NCAA Championships. In 2011, Adrian was still unrelenting, bringing home gold in the 4-by-100-meter medley relay and bronze in the 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay, at the 2011 FINA World Championships.

2012 Olympics

In the summer of 2012, Adrian qualified, in part, for the 2012 Olympic team by finishing first in the 100-meter freestyle. Once in London, he won a silver medal in the 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay, along with teammates Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones and Ryan Lochte. A few days later, he won gold in the 100-meter freestyle, setting a new personal record (47.52 seconds), and becoming the first American male to win the event since Matt Biondi in 1988.

Adrian won another gold medal as part of the winning 4-by-100 medley U.S. relay team—with Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen and Michael Phelps—bringing his Olympic medal count to four.

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