Future, present and past Cal swimmers hauled in a staggering 19 medals, including eight golds, in the swimming competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics. They broke world records, continued their dominance in the 100 backstroke and even turned back time, according to Cal Athletics.
In all, UC Berkeley athletes took home 21 medals from the Rio Games, with former volleyball star Carli Lloyd securing the bronze with Team USA and former rower Olivier Siegelaar taking a bronze in rowing.
But it was at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium where the Golden Bears truly made their mark. Rising senior Ryan Murphy became the fifth Golden Bear to win three gold medals at one Olympic Games, joining Mary T. Meagher, Matt Biondi, Missy Franklin and Dana Vollmer. Murphy dominated the backstroke competition in Rio, taking the gold medal in both the 100 and 200 back events. He capped off the performance by breaking the world record during his 100 backstroke leg of the 400 medley relay, finishing his leg in a time of 51.85.
Cal alum Nathan Adrian reminded the world of his prowess in the freestyle sprints with bronze medal finishes in both the 50 and 100 free. Adrian also capped off two gold-medal winning relay races for Team USA with impressive freestyle legs. He took home home four medals and now has eight in his career, including five golds.
Adrian’s third-place finish in the 50 free also ended up being the second-best time by a Cal swimmer in the race. In one of the great stories of the 2016 Games, former Golden Bear Anthony Ervin became the oldest individual swimmer in history to win a gold medal when the 35-year old won the 50 free in a time of 21.40. After winning the gold medal in the 50 free in the 2000 Summer Olympics, Ervin also set the mark for the longest period of times between gold-medal swims in the same event.
Former Cal star Dana Vollmer made a comeback for the ages by winning three medals to give her seven in her career. After winning three gold medals at the 2012 Olympics (and one in 2004), Vollmer got married and gave birth to her son, Arlen. Eighteen months ago, she decided to make another run at the Olympics. It turned out to be a pretty good idea, as Vollmer won gold in the 400 free relay, silver in the 400 medley relay and bronze in the 100 butterfly.