Swim Poll of the Week: Who is the Best Female Swimmer of All-Time?


This is the Swim Poll of the Week for Friday, May 31, 2019, sponsored by Strechcordz Swim Training Products. In our last poll, we wanted to know: Who is the best female swimmer of all-time?

We asked and you answered with…

Here are the answers:

Katie Ledecky (47%)

Tracy Caulkins (28%)

Krisztina Egerszegi (7%)

Mary T. Meagher (7%)

Other (11%)


  1. avatar
    Coach Wayne McCauley

    It would have helped the younger voters to learn the history of Tracy Caulkins. She was the Best Woman’s swimmer in history, World Records in many strokes, not just freestyle.

  2. avatar
    Coach Wayne McCauley

    Tracy Anne Caulkins, is an American former competition swimmer, three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time world champion, and former world record-holder in three events.

    Caulkins was noted for her versatility and ability in all four major competitive swimming strokes: the butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle. Caulkins won forty-eight national championships and set American records in all four strokes over a range of distances as well as in the individual medley (IM) events, which combine all four strokes over the course of a single race. Her versatility brought Caulkins many titles and awards, and as a result she is considered one of the greatest swimmers of all time. By the time she retired from competitive swimming in 1984, Caulkins had set five world records and sixty-three American records (more than any other American swimmer, male or female).
    Caulkins was expected to win multiple medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, USSR,and qualified to compete in five individual events at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and likely would have been selected as a member of one of the relay teams as well. Unfortunately the President who received an Nobel Prize for solving the issues in the middle east cancelled the USA team. Then in 1984 Tracy had to compete against the steroid pumped up East German men, my bad, women. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, Caulkins served as the captain of the U.S. women’s swim team,[23] and finally realized her childhood dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. On July 29, she won her first gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley, beating Australian Suzie Landells by over nine seconds. On August 3, she won her second gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley with an Olympic record time of 2:12.64, besting fellow American Nancy Hogshead by over two and a half seconds. And later that same day, she won her third gold medal by swimming the breaststroke leg as a member of the winning U.S. team in the 400-meter medley relay. NOTE she won the 400IM by NINE seconds.

  3. avatar

    How can you have a poll like this without even including Janet Evans among the choices?

  4. avatar

    Coach McCaulely — Thank you for the short Caulkins bio. But be careful as some commentary can lead to misunderstandings. i.e. 1) Jimmy Carter, the President who required the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, won the Nobel prize in 2002, 22 years AFTER the boycott; and contrary to your comment, he didn’t cancel the U.S. team, just their chance to participate in that Games; 2) Tracy didn’t have to compete in 1984 against “steroid pumped up East German … women.” Just as the American government had kept the US team from competing in 1980, the East German government kept their athletes, steroid pumped up or not, from competing in 1984.

  5. avatar
    Coach Wayne McCauley

    So True. The greatest American president has written over 20 books. No one has read any of them.

    Point is Tracy won by huge margins and there should have been a comparison between the women nominated. Heck Dawn Fraser should have been in the mix.