Meet the talented athletes who will be involved in this year’s Great Turtle Race.
Often called “Swimming’s Greatest Ambassador,” Gaines is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee. He’s set and smashed world records and faced down tremendous personal obstacles (including a temporary paralysis in 1991 from Guillain-Barré Syndrome) to become a world-class athlete and freestyle swimmer. His voice is famous, too. He does commentary for swimming competitions on NBC and ESPN–most recently for the exciting 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
DEEPEST and LONGEST DIVES
A U.S. freestyle sprint swimmer and gold medalist, Cullen Jones is fast…. REAL fast! So fast, that he helped set a new world record time in the 4x100m freestyle relay in the most recent Beijing Olympics with teammates Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Garret Weber-Gale. And Jones is the first African-American to hold or share a world record in swimming–a pretty impressive feat.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Perhaps one of the best back strokers (um… ever?!) Peirsol currently holds the world record for the 100m back stroke. No stranger to success, he’s been earning medals from a young age. He went to his first Olympics when he was 16 and set his first world record at age 17. Plus, in Beijing he took home a Gold in the 4×100 medley relay and a Silver in
the 200m backstroke.
Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AP
Amanda Beard (Grembo Jones, Lindblad the Explorer and Estéban)
Competition is in Beard’s blood: So far, she’s swam in four different Olympic games! Her teammates even voted her one of the co-captains of the 2008 women’s swimming team. She has won seven, count ‘em, SEVEN medals for her swimming. She is also an avid supporter of many causes to defend wildlife and use her celebrity to encourage others to do so as well (including the Leatherback in this race.)
Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP
Janet Evans (Nueva Esperanza, Nightswimmer and Searcher)
She may have retired from competitive swimming, but Evans left an indelible mark on the sport winning five medals (including four gold ones!) and setting seven world records with her one-of-a-kind “windmill” stroke. She even earned the nickname, Miss Perpetual Motion. This gold medalist knows what it takes to make it to the medals stand.
Photo: Simon Bruty/Allsport/Getty images
Jason Lezak (Seabiscuit, Wawa Bear and Billy)
As the most senior member of the 2008 men’s swimming team, Lezak brought the necessary experience and maturity to help win the 4x100m freestyle relay. As its anchor–both literally and figuratively, Lezak made a memorable and amazing comeback to close the gap between the Americans and the French team–helping the U.S. win the gold by eight hundredths of a second. He has earned three gold and two bronze medals for his swimming.
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Eric Shanteau (Backspacer and Cali)
Shanteau won a spot on the 2008 U.S men’s team to swim the 200m breast stroke where he posted his personal best time. Just two weeks before Beijing, Shanteau was diagnosed with cancer. He delayed treatment to achieve his life’s goal of swimming in the Olympics and then returned to successfully beat the cancer. His tremendous fighting spirit and determination make him a stand-out competitor both in and out of the pool.
Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images