Alright, let’s get something straight. Sheila Taormina has one heck of a Rolodex.
The people at VeloPress, her book publisher, have made jokes that if they need to get in touch with any Olympic athlete, they can just ask Sheila to open up her Olympics Yellow Pages.
And we are positively giddy over the swimmers Sheila asked for help in her new book Swim Speed Strokes. They generously donated their time to show us their winning swim technique and share it with you.
Get to know the elite swimmers whose technique is examined in Swim Speed Strokes.
ELIZABETH BEISEL won a silver medal in the 400-meter IM and bronze in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2012 Olympics. She is an NCAA Division I champion in the 200 backstroke (2012) and a world champion in the 400 IM (2011).
200-yard backstroke: 1:49.82
400-yard IM: 3:58.84
400-meter IM (LCM): 4:31.27
NICOLAS FINK is a 2013 world championships finalist in the 100 breaststroke, and he placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2014 Division I NCAA championships.
100-yard breaststroke: 51.48
200-yard breaststroke: 1:51.92
100-meter breaststroke (LCM): 1:00.10
ROWDY GAINES set 10 world records between 1978–84 and won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics. He is currently NBC’s swimming commentator for the Olympics, alongside Dan Hicks, and is a masters swimming world-record holder.
50-meter freestyle (LCM): 22.96 (1980)
100-meter freestyle (LCM): 49.36 (1981)
200-meter freestyle (LCM): 1:48.93 (1982)
ANDREW GEMMELL won silver at the 2009 world championships in the 10K open-water event, earning the title of 2009 U.S. Open Water Swimmer of the Year. He also won the 1500-meter freestyle in the pool at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, earning a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
500-yard freestyle: 4:17.75
1650-yard freestyle: 14:41.86
1500-meter freestyle (LCM): 14:52.19
ARIANA KUKORS is the world-record holder in the 200-meter IM (long-course meters). She is a U.S. Olympian and world champion and was named American Swimmer of the Year in 2009 by Swimming World Magazine.
200-meter IM (LCM): 2:06.15
MELANIE MARGALIS won bronze at the 2013 World University Games in the 200-meter IM and placed second at the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships in the 200-yard IM.
200-yard IM: 1:52.64
400-yard IM: 4:00.30
VLADIMIR MOROZOV is an NCAA champion, world champion, and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist. He holds the NCAA record in the 100-yard freestyle and turned in the fastest 50-yard freestyle split in history at the 2013 NCAA Division I Championships.
100-yard freestyle: 40.76
50-meter freestyle (LCM): 21.47
100-meter freestyle (LCM): 47.62
AARON PEIRSOL is the world-record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke (long-course meters). He has competed for the United States at three Olympics—2000, 2004, and 2008—winning five gold medals and two silver medals.
100-meter backstroke (LCM): 51.94
200-meter backstroke (LCM): 1:51.92
DOUG REYNOLDS is a Division I NCAA All-American and Southeastern Conference champion known for his powerful underwater dolphin kick off the walls.
100-yard butterfly: 45.92
LAURA SOGAR is the 2013 NCAA Division I champion, 2012 U.S. Open champion, and 2012 world championships (short-course meters) silver medalist in the 200 breaststroke.
100-yard breaststroke: 58.32
200-yard breaststroke: 2:05.04
REBECCA SONI is the only woman in history to win the 200-meter breaststroke at back-to-back Olympics. She won gold en route to world records at the 2008 and 2012 Games. She has held world records in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events in both short-course and long-course during her career, and is a six-time NCAA champion.
100-meter breaststroke (LCM): 1:04.84 (1:02.70 SCM)
200-meter breaststroke (LCM): 2:19.59 (2:14.57 SCM)
PETER VANDERKAAY has competed for the United States in three Olympics—2004, 2008, and 2012—winning four medals. He is a five-time NCAA champion, three-time world champion, and the American-record holder in the 500-yard freestyle.
500-yard freestyle: 4:08.54
400-meter freestyle (LCM): 3:44.69
ASHLEY WHITNEY is a 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the 4 × 200-meter freestyle relay and a former U.S. national team member for open-water swimming.
200-yard freestyle: 1:47.10
500-yard freestyle: 4:44.30
Sheila Taormina’s Swim Speed Series reveals the world’s fastest way to swim.