Prior to the Olympic Games, Nathan Adrian was chosen by his teammates as one of three co-captains of the men’s U.S. Olympic swim team. It makes sense, since Adrian is one of the more experienced members of the team. Additionally, his affable and down-to-earth attitude makes him a natural leader, and leading his teammates to the medal podium is exactly what he plans to do in Rio.
Find out more about swimmer Nathan Adrian with these five fast facts below.
1. Swimming at a young age.
Nathan began taking swim lessons when he was 2-years-old because his older siblings were involved in the sport, according to NBC Olympics. By the time Adrian was 5-years-old, he was a member of the swim team in his hometown of Bremerton, Washington.
2. Adrian’s Olympic experience.
The 2016 Rio Olympics mark the third for Nathan Adrian. As a 21-year-old, the sprinter first competed at the 2008 Olympics, where he earned a gold medal as a member of the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Adrian only participated in the preliminary heat of the event and was later replaced in the final.
At the 2012 Olympic Games, Nathan again won gold — twice — and this time, he did it in an individual event. Adrian claimed the gold medal in the men’s 100-meter freestyle when he defeated Australian powerhouse James Magnussen by one one-hundredth of a second. Adrian also won gold as a member of the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay, and he was a member of the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay that won silver.
At the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio, Adrian is expected to compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events, as well as the 4×100-meter medley and freestyle relays. Should Adrian defend his Olympic gold in the 100-meter freestyle, he will become the first many to have won back-to-back golds in the event since 1928.
— Rachel Lutz (@rchlltz) August 5, 2016
3. Adrian has been described as “hyper competitive.”
Nathan didn’t become one of the most consistent American sprinters by chance. The 27-year-old sprinter is known for using the old adage “you get out what you put in.” And according to The Seattle Times, Adrian is willing to put in more than most other people.
“The secret to Adrian’s success isn’t very secret at all. His dominance comes from his consistency and that work ethic.”
Adrian’s longtime friend Jesse Stipek described Nathan this way when talking to The Seattle Times.
“He’s not interested in being mediocre. He’s always been extremely hyper competitive. His innate ability to always get his hand on the wall and rise above everyone else is amazing. He’s always been extremely prepared.”
4. Nathan once swam through syrup in an effort to debunk a myth.
During a 2009 episode of MythBusters, Adrian used his swimming skills to help hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage test a hypothesis: Could one swim faster in syrup than in water?
In an effort to test the myth, Adrian swam in 75-foot-long trenches in the desert. One was filled with water and the other was filled with syrup. Adrian covered the distance in 9.81 seconds in the water and swam the same distance in 10.87 in syrup.
Despite the time difference, the MythBusters hosts decided that the myth had not been debunked because too many variables had not been accounted for ahead of time. For one thing, Adrian’s technique changed drastically from one medium to the other, the hosts said.
Of shooting the episode, Adrian said “It was a really fun experience. It was cool hanging out with the show’s hosts, Jamie and Adam, and getting treated like a T.V. star.”
5. Adrian was inducted in the Asian Hall of Fame in 2014.
Nathan Adrian was born in Washington, but his mother, Cecilia, was born in Hong Kong, making Adrian half Asian. At the time of his induction, Adrian noted that he was excited to be inducted to the HOF.
“I am thrilled to be honored by the Asian Hall of Fame. It has always been important to me to remember both sides of my cultural heritage and hopefully inspire young individuals to be the best at whatever it is they choose to do.”
Will you tune in to watch Nathan Adrian swim during the 2016 Rio summer Olympics?
[Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Entertainment]