Debbie Meyer

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Deborah Elizabeth Meyer (born 14 August 1952) is an American former competitive swimmer, a three-time Olympic champion, and a former world record-holder in four events.

International Swimming Career

Meyer won the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle swimming races in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. While she was still a 16-year-old student at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California, she became the first swimmer to win three individual gold medals in one Olympics. Meyer remains the only woman Olympian to win three individual freestyle swimming gold medals in one Olympics. No female swimmer has ever done this in any other combination of distances.

Meyer set world records in 200-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter freestyle swimming events at the U.S. Olympics trials. Her winning times at the Olympic Games were 2:10.5 for the 200-meter, 4:31.8 for the 400-meter, and 9:24.0 for the 800-meter distances, all of them new or first-time Olympic records.

In 1968, the women's freestyle races at 200-meter and 800-meter distances were added to the Summer Olympics for the first time. Before this, the longest race for women was the 400-meter freestyle, despite the fact that the male competitors had had the 1,500-meter freestyle race (the metric mile) for decades, dating back to 1896.

While overcoming her problems with asthma, Meyer broke 15 world records in swimming during her career.

Meyer broke 24 American records and won 19 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national championships. In 1968, she won the James E. Sullivan Award. In 1969, she was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year. She was named Swimming World Magazine's World Swimmer of the Year in 1967, 1968 and 1969. In 1972, Meyer retired from competitive swimming.


  • She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1977
  • She was inducted in the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • On July 5, 2004, Meyer was inducted into the American National High School Hall of Fame

Debbie Meyer Swim School

She owns the Debbie Meyer Swim School in Carmichael, California.

External links