Jason Lezak: Why I Am One In A Thousand

Jason Lezak with American flag

Jason Lezak, ISHOF Honoree and called the man who made the greatest relay swim of all time, is special.  He is One in a Thousand!

When asked why he wanted to join the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in A Thousand Club, Lezak said, “I made my first trip to the Hall of Fame when I was 18.  Although I already had Olympic dreams, this added inspiration to want to achieve like so many of the greats from our past.  No matter what sport I did, I always appreciated the history that created the opportunities for me to succeed. 

It was an honor to be inducted last year and to now have a display for all the visitors to see.  It’s very humbling to be a small part of swimming history.”

Join the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.


For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at customerservice@ishof.org.

About Jason Lezak

From the beginning, Jason Lezak showed great promise in the pool, but he constantly butted heads with his coach, Dave Salo, over his commitment to training. Recruited to swim at UC Santa Barbara, Jason’s problems with authority continued until coach Gregg Wilson finally dismissed him from the team. This was the wake-up call he needed. He loved to swim and compete, and after promising to improve his training habits, Jason rejoined the team. In his Senior year, Lezak was named Big West Conference Swimmer of the Year.

At the 2000 Olympic Trials, Jason finished fourth in the 100m freestyle. While he failed to qualify individually, his result was good enough to make the 4x100m freestyle relay team, an event Team USA had never lost in the Olympic Games.  In Sydney, the Australians pulled off the unexpected upset in their home pool and the USA settled for the silver.

Over the next four years, Jason was the top sprinter in the world, and at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Long Beach, he qualified for the Olympic Games in both the 50m and 100m freestyle.

In Athens, the US freestyle relay team was trying to win back the title it had lost in Sydney four years earlier. Instead, they finished third behind South Africa and the Netherlands. The next day Jason did not swim as well as expected and failed to reach the semi-finals. Individually Jason finished fifth in the 50 meter freestyle. Success came when he swam the freestyle leg behind Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, and Ian Crocker to win the medley relay gold medal, in world record time.

In 2006, Dave Salo left Irvine to take the coaching job at USC, leaving Jason without a coach. He began coaching himself and proved by qualifying for his third Olympic Games that he had the discipline to train daily without a team or trainer at his side.

When he finished second in the 100m freestyle at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, he was 32 years old, the oldest male swimmer to make the team and was selected by his teammates as a captain.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, his first event was the 4x100m freestyle relay. The USA hadn’t won this race since 1996 and this time the USA was not the favorite. That distinction belonged to the team from France, with 100m world record holder, Alain Bernard as its anchorman. Swimming last, and starting nearly a fully body length behind, Jason chased down Bernard in the final 20 yards to win the gold medal by eight-one-hundredths of a second. Jason’s split time of 46.06, is still the fastest 100m split in history.

BEIJING, CHINA AUGUST 11TH, 2008--USA' Garrett Weber-Gale, left, and Michael Phelps celebrate with Jason Lezak, in the pool, the gold medal in the 4x100 Freestyle Relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The bodysuit party at Beijing 2008 – Photo Courtesy: Wally Skalij

The next day, Jason won bronze in the 100m freestyle for the first individual Olympic medal of his career. On the final day of competition, he anchored the USA’s world record setting medley relay that gave Michael Phelps his historic eighth gold medal.

Continuing to swim on his own after Beijing, Jason passed up the opportunity to compete in the World Championships to participate in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he won four gold medals and celebrated his heritage as a Jewish athlete.

In 2012, at the age of 36, Jason qualified for his fourth Olympic team by finishing sixth at the Olympic Trials in the 100 free. In London, he swam in the preliminaries and helped earn a spot in the final for the silver medal winning U.S. team. In doing so, he became the first male swimmer in Olympic history to win four medals in the same event, in the 4×100m freestyle relay, in four consecutive Olympic Games.

Jason Lezak

Photo Courtesy: Jason Lezak

Jason ended his Olympic career with a total of eight medals, four gold, two silver and two bronze.  Today Jason is a proud husband and father of three and a popular motivational speaker who is balancing his family life with business opportunities.

Jason Lezak is “One in a Thousand.  


The International Swimming Hall of Fame wants to know if you are one in a thousand?  We think you are!  Show how special you are and become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One In A Thousand” Club.  Help keep the International Swimming Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum by joining now!

During these unprecedented times, the ISHOF Board is calling on every member in the aquatic community to make a small monthly commitment of support to show how special you are and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.


Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill KentChairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Since 1965, ISHOF has been the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports. ISHOF’s vision for the future is to build a new museum and expand its reach by offering its museum artifacts digitally through a redesigned website.

The ISHOF Board of Directors is calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment to show their dedication to aquatics and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

About ISHOF   Take a Virtual Tour

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”.   In 2018, Sports Publications Inc, publisher of Swimming World Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact.  Today, ISHOF’s vision is to be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.  Show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.

ISHOF Vision Statement
To be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.

ISHOF Mission Statement
To collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate history, showcase events, share cultures, and increase participation in aquatic sports.


Architectural rendition of Hall of Fame Aquatic Center that is currently under renovation.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of Florida. Contributions to ISHOF are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. ISHOF’s tax identification number is 59-1087179. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR FROM THE WEBSITE, www.800helpfla.com. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. You can find out more about us on guidestar.org under International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc.

For more information please contact:
Brandi West, Marketing Director

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3 years ago

Duncan Scott’s split was more impressive. No banned suit and much slower wave to draft off.

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