Ian Lowell Crocker (born 31 August 1982) is a former American competitive swimmer and five-time (three gold, one silver, one bronze) Olympic medalist. He is a former world record holder in the 100 meter butterfly (long course). He has won a total of twenty-one medals in major international competition, fourteen gold, six silver, and one bronze spanning the Olympics, the FINA World Aquatics Championships, and the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships Championships.
Crocker attended Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, being one of Cheverus' most famous athletic graduates.
Crocker has not officially made an announcement about his retirement after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he has since taken a break and started a swim school with Olympian and former Longhorn teammate Neil Walker and U.S. National Champion and former Longhorn teammate James Fike with locations in Austin and Dallas.
Crocker, who specializes in the butterfly, has received five Olympic medals in his career. In addition to his accomplishments at the Olympics, Crocker was the first man to ever swim under 51 seconds in the 100 meter butterfly.
At the 2001 World Swimming Championships, Crocker won a silver medal medal in the 100 m butterfly, finishing behind Lars Frölander.
2003 World Swimming Championships
At the 2003 World Swimming Championships, Crocker won a total of three medals, two golds and one silver medal. In his first event, the 50 m butterfly, Crocker won a silver medal finishing behind Australian Matt Welsh, who set the world record. Crocker is best known in these Championships for his world record performance in the 100 m butterfly final. After the semifinals of the 100 meter butterfly, it seemed Crocker was out of the gold medal position after Andrii Serdinov and Michael Phelps went under the former world record. However, in the final of the 100 m butterfly, Crocker swam a 50.98 to become the first man under 51 seconds and win the gold medal. When Crocker saw the time after the race, he thought the world record belonged to Phelps. Crocker earned his final medal, a gold, in the 4x100 m medley relay. The American team recorded a time of 3:31.54 to beat the former world record set in 2002.
2004 Athens Olympics
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Crocker received a bronze medal as a member of the 400 meter freestyle relay team, a silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly, and a gold medal as a member of the world-record setting 400 meter medley relay team. Of the three medals he won at the 2004 Summer Olympics, he is best remembered for his silver, as teammate Michael Phelps overtook him at the very end of the 100 meter butterfly to win the race by .04 seconds. Traditionally, the Olympian who places highest in an individual event will be automatically given the corresponding leg of the 4x100 medley relay. This gave Phelps an automatic entry into the medley relay but he deferred and Crocker swam instead. He is a champion and a gentleman ; Butterfly winner hands relay spot to U.S. teammate. Crocker had made a mistake starting the 400 freestyle relay final, which cost the Americans gold, so Phelps' gesture gave Crocker a chance to make amends as well getting his final shot at a gold medal. Crocker and the American medley team went on to win the event in world record time, so Crocker finally got his gold medal. (Phelps received a gold medal as well, since he had swum in the preliminary heat of the medley relay).
2005 World Swimming Championships
At the 2005 World Swimming Championships, Crocker won a total of three medals, two golds and one silver medal. In his first event, the 50 m butterfly, Crocker won a silver medal finishing behind South African Roland Schoeman, who set the world record. In the final of the 100 m butterfly, Crocker recorded a time of 50.40 to beat his own world record of 50.76 and win the gold medal. Crocker also handed Michael Phelps one of worst losses in his career when Phelps finished over as second behind. With this win, Crocker was awarded a spot in the 4x100 m medley relay. Crocker did not disappoint and swam the butterfly leg in 50.39. The American team went on to win the gold medal.
2007 World Swimming Championships
At the 2007 World Swimming Championships, Crocker won two silver medals. In the 50 m butterfly, Crocker won a silver medal finishing behind Schoeman. In the heats of the 4x100 m medley relay, Crocker dove in too early on an exchange, causing the disqualification of the American team.
2008 Beijing Olympics
Crocker competed in the his 3rd Olympics as a medal contender for his signature 100 m butterfly. Many felt Crocker's career was on a slide due to a poor showing in the Olympic trials and having not broken the 51 second barrier in over 12 months. Crocker finished in a tie for third in the semi-finals, behind Australia's Andrew Lauterstein. In the finals, he finished fourth behind teammate Phelps, Milorad Čavić, and Lauterstein, beating Kenyan swimmer Jason Dunford. He missed the medal stand by a hundredth of a second. Despite not earning a medal in his signature event, Crocker was given the opportunity to swim for the 4x100 medley relay B team. To his disappointment, Crocker did not get to swim in the finals nor stand on the podium, however he earned a gold medal for his contribution in the heats.