Five Swimmers Who Got Their Careers Started at the Youth Olympics

Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

The 2018 Youth Olympics are going on this week in Argentina with some of the future’s bright stars on display in Buenos Aires. USA Swimming has sent a small contingent of athletes to South America for the Games with eight total swimmers attending.

USA Swimming has usually taken a small team to the Youth Olympics, as they have put more emphasis on the Junior Pan Pacs. But they have gotten notable swimmers Justin Wright and Hannah Moore from the 2014 Youth Olympic team.

This is the third installment of the Youth Olympics as they got started in 2010. Even though it is still a relatively new event, the Youth Olympics has seen many athletes before they were able to accomplish medals at the “senior” Olympics later on in their careers.

Recently, Australian gold medalist Kyle Chalmers was featured in a tweet by the Olympics for his work at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China, where he placed fifteenth in the 100 free at the Games, missing the final at just 16-years-old. Two years later, Chalmers was on top of the world in the 100 free at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Chalmers was one of a group of swimmers to compete at the Youth Olympics before swimming at the “senior” Olympics later in their careers. Below are five swimmers who won Youth Olympic medals before winning “senior” Olympic medals later in their careers.

Chad Le Clos

Before Chad Le Clos shocked the world by taking down Michael Phelps in the 200 fly in 2012, he won five medals at the 2010 Youth Olympics when he was 18. He won the gold medal in the 200 IM and three silver medals in the 100 fly, 200 fly and 400 free. Le Clos also won a bronze medal in the 4×100 free relay alongside fellow 2016 Olympian and Michigan grad Dylan Bosch.

Although le Clos never competed in the 200 IM at the Olympic level, it was his first major international gold medal at 18-years-old. Le Clos is more known as a butterflyer, and he won two silvers in 2010 behind Korea’s Chang Gyu-Cheol and Hungary’s Bence Biczo in the 100 and 200 respectively. The 100 fly race can be viewed below.

Le Clos has been named an ambassador for the Youth Olympics for the last two Games because he was one of just 18 people to win a gold medal after competing at the Youth Games. Le Clos was featured in a short video, which can be viewed below, where he talks about how much his career benefited from swimming in those 2010 Singapore Games.

Boglarka Kapas

Kapas was one of the stars of the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010 with three total medals to her name. She won the gold medal in the 400 free and 200 fly and added a silver in the 200 free when she was just 17.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Kapas won the bronze medal in the 800 free and was also fourth in the 400 free.

Emma McKeon

Australia’s Emma McKeon was just 16 when she won six total medals at the 2010 Youth Olympics. McKeon competed in primarily freestyle events and she came home with a silver in the 100 free and two bronzes in the 50 and 200 free.

McKeon also won three relay medals where she anchored the winning 4×100 medley relay team for Australia, that was led off by fellow 2016 Olympian Madi Wilson. She also won silver in the 4×100 mixed free relay and bronze in the 4×100 mixed medley.

McKeon is still one of the most versatile swimmers in the world today and she won four total medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016, including a gold in the 4×100 free relay that set a world record. McKeon also won two silver medals in the 4×200 free and 4×100 medley relays, as well as an individual bronze in the 200 free final.

Anton Chupkov

(140818) -- Nanjing, Aug 18,2014 (Xinhua) -- Gold medalist Anton Chupkov of Russian Federation celebrates after the final of Men's 100m Breaststroke of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China?s Jiangsu Province, on August 18, 2014. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua) (lyq)

Photo Courtesy: Chen Yehua

Before Anton Chupkov was the best 200 breaststroker in the world, he won five medals at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China at 17. Chupkov won the gold medal in the 100 breast and two bronzes in the 50 and 200 breast.

Chupkov also won two relay medals with a gold in the men’s 4×100 medley relay and silver in the 4×100 mixed medley.

Two years later at 19 years of age, Chupkov won the bronze medal in the 200 breast in Rio in a bit of a surprise result. The next year however, Chupkov became World Champion in the 200 breast for Russia and is the second fastest swimmer all-time in the event.

Evgeny Rylov

(140820) -- Nanjing, Aug 20,2014 (Xinhua) -- Evgeny Rylov of Russian Federation celebrates after the final of Men's 50m Backstroke of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China?s Jiangsu Province, on August 20, 2014. Evgeny Rylov won the gold. (Xinhua/Yue Yuewei) (lyq)

Photo Courtesy: Xinhua/Yue Yuewei

Russia’s Evgeny Rylov teamed up with Chupkov four years ago at the Nanjing Youth Olympics to win the 4×100 medley relay gold medal, as it was one of four medals the Russian backstroker collected at that meet.

Rylov was 17 when he won the gold medal in the 50 and 100 back four years ago in China, as well as a silver in the 200 back behind home crowd favorite Li Guangyuan.

Rylov won the bronze medal two years later in the 200 back in Rio behind Ryan Murphy and Mitch Larkin. And in 2017, Rylov joined the likes of his teammate Chupkov by moving up to the gold medal in the 200 back in Budapest at the World Championships.

Rylov now sits fifth all-time in the 200 back with his swim from the European Championships this summer and is one of the best backstrokers in the world.