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With swimming at the 2016 Olympics all wrapped up, former Olympic gold medalist and Yahoo Sports swimming analyst Summer Sanders ranked the top eight swimmers at the Rio Games. Video above.
8. Katinka Hosszu
Hungary’s “Iron Lady” announced herself to the world by shattering the world record in the women’s 400-meter individual medley. She followed that up with two more golds in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter IM, and picked up a silver in the 200-meter backstroke.
7. Lilly King
King won fans with her exploits both in and out of the pool. She outspokenly criticized Russian rival Yulia Efimova, who had previously been banned for doping. King, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at Indiana University, then beat Efimova in the 100-meter breaststroke final. She won a second gold with the U.S. team in the 4×100-meter medley relay Saturday night.
6. Anthony Ervin
Ervin’s story is remarkable. He won one gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Sixteen years, an eight-year retirement, drug issues and a suicide attempt later, he headed to Rio as a 35-year-old looking for a second individual gold. And he got it in a dramatic finish in the same event he won in Sydney, the 50-meter freestyle.
5. Ryan Murphy
As Sanders notes in the video, Murphy became the first American male to win both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke at the same Olympics since Aaron Peirsol in 2004. Murphy then broke a world record in the 100-meter backstroke with his leg of the 4×100 relay. That clinched the 21-year-old his third gold medal, and helped Michael Phelps to his 23rd.
4. Maya DiRado
DiRado was swimming at her first, last, and only Olympics – she made the decision before Rio to retire after the Games. The 23-year-old went out with a bang, taking home two gold medals, a silver and a bronze. The first gold came as part of the U.S. 4×200-meter freestyle relay, but the second was the most thrilling. DiRado came from behind in the 200-meter backstroke to beat Hosszu by 0.06 seconds.
3. Simone Manuel
Manuel was one of the surprise breakout stars of the Olympics. She became the first African American woman to win an individual Olympic swimming gold when she tied Canada’s Penny Oklesiak in the 100-meter freestyle. Manuel, 20, also picked up a gold and silver in relays, and won an individual silver in the 50-meter freestyle.
2. Michael Phelps
Phelps won his 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd Olympic gold medals, and finished with 28 in his career as he cemented himself as the greatest Olympic swimmer ever. Phelps, 31, won two individual golds – one in the 200-meter butterfly, one in the 200-meter individual medley – and three relay golds. He missed out on a sixth in the 100-meter butterfly, in which he took home silver after a three-way tie for second.
1. Katie Ledecky
Ledecky burst onto the scene with a gold medal and world record in the 400-meter freestyle, then completed a treble that’s only been done once before with golds in the 200 free and 800 free. Her 800-meter dominance brought about some of the lasting images of the 2016 Olympics. Ledecky also won a silver in the 4×100 freestyle relay and a gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. At just 19 years old, the four golds could be the first four of many.