Nathan Ghar-jun Adrian (born December 7, 1988)(Chinese:倪家駿) is an American competitive swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist who currently holds the American record in the long course 50-meter freestyle event.

In his Olympic debut at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Adrian swam in the heats of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and earned a gold medal when the United States team won in the final. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Adrian won gold medals in both the 100-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley relay, and a silver medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. He has won a total of twenty-four medals in major international competitions; fifteen gold, six silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, along with Michael Phelps, Caeleb Dressel, and Ryan Held, he won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay as well as individual bronze medals in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyles.

Personal life

Adrian was born in Bremerton, Washington, in 1988. He is the son of James and Cecilia Adrian. His mother is Chinese from Hong Kong and works as a nurse for the Bremerton school district; his father is a retired nuclear engineer for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Adrian has an older sister, Donella, who swam at Arizona State University, and an older brother, Justin, who swam at the University of Washington. Adrian started swimming at the age of five because of the influence of his siblings. He graduated in 2006 from Bremerton High School, where he swam for the school team. Adrian attended at the University of California, Berkeley in fall 2006, where he majored in public health. He graduated with honors in the spring of 2012. Adrian was a five-time individual NCAA champion, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 2009 and 2011 and the 100-yard freestyle in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Career

2008 Short Course World Championships

At the 2008 Short Course World Championships, Adrian won gold in the 100-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter freestyle relay and silver in the 4×100-meter medley relay. In the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Adrian combined with Ryan Lochte, Bryan Lundquist and Doug Van Wie won gold in a world record time of 3:08.44. In his second event, the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian won gold in a time of 46.67, just ahead of Filippo Magnini who finished second with a time of 46.70. For his last event, the 4×100-meter medley relay, Adrian combined with Randall Bal, Mark Gangloff and Ryan Lochte, won silver behind Russia.

2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games

At the 2008 United States Olympic Trials, Adrian placed fourth in the 100-meter freestyle, qualifying him to swim in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the Olympics. He also placed sixth in the 50-meter freestyle.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Adrian swam the first leg in the preliminary heats of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, splitting a time of 48.82 seconds. Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner and Matt Grevers completed the relay with a final time of 3:12.23, a world record. This record was broken one day later when Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak swam a time of 3:08.24, beating France and Australia in the final. By swimming in the heats, Adrian earned a gold medal even though he didn't swim in the final.

Adrian was training under coach Mike Bottom in the Florida Keys as part of The Race Club swimming training program World Team leading up to the 2008 Olympics.

2009 World Championships

At the 2009 National Championships, Adrian placed first in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events, qualifying him to swim at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome.

At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, Adrian earned gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and the 4×100-meter medley relay. Adrian also placed sixth in the 50-meter freestyle and tenth in the 100-meter freestyle. After Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Matt Grevers completed their legs in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, the United States had a slight deficit behind the Russian team. However, Adrian swam the anchor leg in 46.79 to overtake Danila Izotov for first place. The final time of 3:09.21 was a championship record. In the 4×100-meter medley relay, Adrian contributed in the heats (with Matt Grevers, Mark Gangloff and Tyler McGill) and earned a gold medal when the U.S. team placed first in the final.

2010

At the 2010 National Championships, Adrian qualified to compete at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships by winning the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle titles. His win in the 100-meter freestyle also guaranteed him a spot on the 4×100-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter medley relay teams.

At the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Adrian won a total of four gold medals, the best performance of his career. In his first event, the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian won the gold medal in 48.15, beating Canadian Brent Hayden and world-record holder in the 100-meter freestyle César Cielo. The following day, Adrian lined up alongside Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Jason Lezak to anchor the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. With no competition, Adrian recorded a time of 47.51 and the U.S. team won the gold in a time of 3:11.74. The following day, Adrian then competed in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley relay. In the final of the 50-meter freestyle, Adrian shocked favorite Cielo, winning in a time of 21.55 seconds; Cielo finished second in 21.57. About an hour and a half later, Adrian competed in the 4×100-meter medley relay with Aaron Peirsol, Mark Gangloff and Michael Phelps. Swimming the freestyle leg, Adrian recorded a time of 47.54, the fastest in the field and the U.S. team won the gold in a time of 3:32.48.

2011

2011 World Championships

Adrian won his first medal, a bronze, in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale and Jason Lezak. Swimming the anchor leg, Adrian recorded a time of 47.40. In the final of the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian placed sixth with a time of 48.23, well off his semi-final time of 48.05. In the 50-meter freestyle final, Adrian placed fourth with a time of 21.93 seconds, just one one-hundredth (0.01) of a second ahead behind third-place finisher Alain Bernard. In his last event, the 4×100-meter medley relay, Adrian teamed with Mark Gangloff, Michael Phelps, and Nick Thoman to win gold in a time of 3:32.06. Swimming the freestyle leg, Adrian had a time of 47.64.

2011 National Championships

At the 2011 National Championships, Adrian defended his 50-meter freestyle title with a time of 21.84 seconds. His time moved him to fourth in the world behind César Cielo (21.52), Bruno Fratus (21.76), and Frédérick Bousquet (21.78). He chose to sit out of the 100-meter freestyle in order to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

2012 London Summer Olympic Games

At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Olympics, Adrian made the U.S. Olympic team for the second time by finishing first in his first event, the 100-meter freestyle. In the final of the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian posted a time of 48.10 seconds to finish ahead of Cullen Jones, who had a time of 48.46. He also placed third for the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.68, just missing a spot in that event.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Adrian won his first medal of the games, a silver, in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones and Ryan Lochte, with the team finishing behind France. Swimming the lead-off leg, Adrian recorded a split of 47.89 seconds, and the team finished with a final time of 3:10.38. Adrian's lead-off time was the fastest first leg in the field, and Adrian's first time breaking 48 seconds.

On the fifth day of competition, Adrian won the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle final, defeating favorite James Magnussen of Australia by one one-hundredth (0.01) of a second. In the race, Adrian set a new personal record with a time of 47.52. Going into the 100-meter freestyle final, Adrian was seeded second with a time of 47.97, which was only the second time he ever broke 48 seconds in the event. In winning the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian became the first American male to win the event since Matt Biondi did in 1988.

Adrian won a second gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the 4×100-meter medley relay on the final day of the competition. He swam the anchor freestyle leg, with Matt Grevers swimming the backstroke leadoff leg, Brendan Hansen the breaststroke second leg, and Michael Phelps the butterfly third leg. The Americans recorded a time of 3:29:35, with the Japanese team taking the silver medal and the Australians receiving the bronze. In the race, Adrian had a split of 46.85, the fastest in the field.

In August 2012, a street in Adrian's hometown, Bremerton, Washington, was renamed "Nathan Adrian Drive" for Adrian's Olympic achievements.

2013 World Championships

At the 2013 U.S. National Championships, Adrian qualified to swim at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona by placing first in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle with times of 21.47 and 48.10, respectively.

In his first event at the World Championships, Adrian combined with Ryan Lochte, Anthony Ervin, and Jimmy Feigen in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, with the team finishing behind France. Swimming the lead-off leg, Adrian recorded a split of 47.95 seconds, and the team finished with a final time of 3:11.42. Adrian's lead-off time was the fastest first leg in the field.

Adrian advanced to the 100-meter freestyle final as the top seed by posting 47.95 in the semi-finals. In the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian won bronze in a time of 47.84, only two-hundredths of a second behind second-place finisher Jimmy Feigen. In his second individual event, the 50-meter freestyle, Adrian was just off the podium with a fourth-place finish, finishing with a time of 21.60.

2015 World Championships

At the 2015 World Championships, Adrian swam in two relays and two individual events. In the 4x100 freestyle relay, the US team failed to advance to the final in the heats, so Adrian could not swim the finals of the relay. In his first individual event, the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian tied for seventh in the final, finishing in 48.31. Nonetheless, Adrian bounced back to break a six-year old American record in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.37 seconds in the semifinals. In the final, Adrian won a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle, touching second behind Florent Manadou in 21.52. On the same night, Adrian was also part of the winning 4x100-meter mixed freestyle relay along with Ryan Lochte, Simone Manuel, and Missy Franklin. They broke the world record with a time of 3:23.05. Adrian won another gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay with Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, and Tom Shields. He anchored in 47.41 to touch the wall at 3:29.93.

2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games

At the 2016 United States Olympic Trials, the U.S. qualifying meet for the Rio Olympics, Adrian qualified for his third Olympic Games by winning both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle. He finished half a second ahead of the field in the 100-meter freestyle, touching first in 47.72. In the 50-meter freestyle, Adrian redeemed his third place finish from the 2012 Trials by finishing first in 21.51, one hundredth of a second ahead of second-place finisher Anthony Ervin.

In Rio de Janeiro, Adrian won a total of four medals. He won his first medal as the anchor for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay alongside Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps, and Ryan Held. The Americans, with Dressel and Held as first-time Olympic competitors, finished with a time of 3:09.92, followed by France and Australia. Adrian's final leg was 46.97 seconds, the fastest of the field. In his first individual event, the 100-meter freestyle, Adrian failed to defend his Olympic title, touching third behind Kyle Chalmers and Pieter Timmers in 47.85 seconds. Adrian won another bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle, finishing in 21.49 seconds. Another American, Anthony Ervin, won in 21.40 seconds and the defending Olympic champion Florent Manadou took second. He capped off his Olympics with another gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay on the final day of the competition, swimming alongside Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, and Michael Phelps. He anchored the relay with a 46.74 split to bring home the gold in 3:27.95, a new Olympic record.

Personal bests

As of August 7, 2015.
Long Course Meters
EventTimeMeetDateNote(s)
50 m freestyle21.372015 World Aquatics ChampionshipsAugust 7, 2015AM
100 m freestyle47.522012 Summer OlympicsAugust 4, 2012
Short Course Yards
EventTimeMeetDateNote(s)
50 y freestyle18.662011 NCAA ChampionshipsMarch 24, 2011Former AM
100 y freestyle41.082009 NCAA ChampionshipsMarch 28, 2009Former AM

Trivia

Adrian appeared in episode 5 of the 2009 season of the Discovery Channel series, MythBusters, to assist hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman in testing the myth that it is possible to swim as fast in syrup as in water. His test results however, were declared invalid by Savage and Hyneman, because they determined that Adrian was so used to swimming in water, that his technique was completely disrupted when swimming in the syrup. This disruption caused his lap times when swimming in syrup to vary wildly in comparison with his extremely consistent lap times in water.

In 2014, Adrian was inducted into .

His older sister Donella was on the Arizona State swim team, and his older brother Justin swam at Washington.