In Bremerton, Wash., suitably close to the YMCA, a small street bears the name Nathan Adrian Drive. When unveiled in 2012, it was a rare honor for a 23-year-old. But given Nathan Adrian’s already stellar swimming career – and his continued promise for more Olympic gold this summer in Rio – it’s been a well-deserved honor for this hometown hero!
Swimming Since Pre-School
Born in 1988, Nathan Ghar-jun Adrian was set for a life of swimming right from the start. His older siblings were active in the sport, prompting Nathan to start swimming at age five.
Adrian continued swimming until he found his way to the UC Berkeley swim team in 2006. While majoring in public health, he became a five-time NCAA champion. Though he took time off to train at The Race Club under acclaimed Coach Mike Bottom, Adrian ultimately graduated with honors in 2012.
Adrian’s slot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team came as little surprise. In the three months prior, he’d established himself as a top-tier sprinter, winning gold in both the 100-meter freestyle at the World Short Course Championship and the 50-meter freestyle at the Omaha Invitation. In the latter meet, he out-swam the entire podium from that event at the 2004 Athens Games!
At the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, he earned his first gold medal as part of the 100-meter relay team. At the 2012 London Olympics, he earned another gold medal in this same event.
He further established his reputation in London by taking home his first solo Olympic gold, for the 100-meter freestyle. (The one-two punch of these victories would inspire the street name back home.)
In between, he won two gold medals – in the 100-meter freestyle and medley relays – at the 2009 World Championship.
Out of the Pool (Mostly)
Check out Adrian’s Instagram feed, and you’ll find that, in many ways, he’s a normal 20-something. Goofy selfies, hiking shots with his friends, and fun with his nephew mix with the occasional magazine cover and red-carpet pose.
His sense of humor is also on display in his appearance on the Discovery Channel hit, Mythbusters, where he swam in a lap pool filled with syrup.
With his half-Chinese ancestry, he’s also notable as part of the increasing diversity of American swimming.
Road to Rio
Adrian’s record has earned him a coveted Speedo sponsorship. Alongside marquee names like Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, he’s prominently featured in their recent launch video for Speedo Fit.
With his consistent wins in the 2015 season, Adrian seems well positioned for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. And at age 27, he could still be competitive for Tokyo 2020 as well! The final gold-medal count seems far from over for Nathan Adrian.