Duje Draganja

Duje Draganja (Croatian pronunciation: [dǔːje drǎɡaɲa]; born 27 February 1983) is a retired Croatian swimmer who won the silver medal in men's 50 metres freestyle race at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Duje Draganja
Personal information
Full nameDuje Draganja
Nationality Croatia
Born (1983-02-27) 27 February 1983
Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight81 kg (179 lb)
Strokesbutterfly, freestyle
ClubPOŠK Split (1994–2003)
PK Primorje Rijeka (2003–2007)
PK Dubrava (2007–)
College teamCalifornia Golden Bears (2001–2004)


Draganja won a silver medal in 2005 World Aquatics Championships held in Montreal in 50 m freestyle. He has 4 medals from World Short Course Swimming Championships. In 2006 and 2008 he won a gold medal in 50 meter freestyle. Also he has bronze medal in 100 m freestyle (2008) and bronze medal in 50 m butterfly (2006).

Draganja is also a former NCAA record holder in the 100 yard freestyle, with a time of 41.49, set in 2005, while he swam for the University of California, Berkeley. He, like many other world-class, non-American swimmers, chose to spend 4 years training and competing at an American university. During his four years with Cal, Duje won 10 Pac-10 swimming titles, and eight NCAA National championships. While at Cal, he trained with the world-renowned sprinting coach Mike Bottom. Bottom coached Draganja for seven years before they parted ways following the 2008 Olympics.[1][2] Now Draganja trains in Zagreb with swimming club Dubrava.

Draganja trained at The Race Club, a swimming club founded by Olympic Swimmers Gary Hall, Jr. and his father, Gary Hall, Sr. The Race Club, originally known as "The World Team," was designed to serve as a training group for elite swimmers across the world in preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. To be able to train with the Race Club, one must either have been ranked in the top 20 in the world the past 3 calendar years or top 3 in their nation in the past year. The Race Club included such well known swimmers as Roland Mark Schoeman, Mark Foster, Ryk Neethling, Ricardo Busquets and Therese Alshammar. They were coached by University of Michigan coach Mike Bottom.[3]

He has been controversial in Croatia for his decision to take the citizenship of Qatar and continue his swimming career under the flag of that country, after receiving a very lucrative offer to do so. Croatian public opinion largely turned against Draganja at that time with the press portraying him as a villain with no respect for his homeland. Draganja accepted a Qatar passport in August 2005 claiming that he will keep his Croatian passport and will not change his religion. Draganja was raised Roman Catholic.[4]

However, in February 2006, the swimmer made it clear that he had reversed his decision and that he will continue to compete for his country of birth, Croatia.[5]

Personal bests

Long course

  • 50 meters freestyle - 21.29 NR (Rome, 31 July 2009)[6]
  • 100 meters freestyle - 48.18 NR (Rome, 29 July 2009)[6]
  • 50 meters butterfly - 23.03 NR (Rome, 26 July 2009)[6]
  • 100 meters butterfly - 52.46 (Athens, 20 August 2004)

Short course

  • 50 meters freestyle - 20.70 NR (Istanbul, 10 December 2009)[7]
  • 100 meters freestyle - 46.64 NR (March 2004)[7]
  • 100 meters butterfly - 51.19 (Debrecen, 13 December 2007)
  • 100 metres medley - 51.20 NR (Istanbul, 13 December 2009)

Olympic results

Olympic results
Event 2000 Sydney 2004 Athens 2008 Beijing
50 metre freestyle 2nd
100 metre butterfly 7th
100 metre freestyle 11th
4 × 100 metre freestyle relay 19th
4 × 100 metre medley relay 14th

See also


  1. "Duje se rastaje s trenerom: Moram pronaći razlog zašto su napredovali svi osim mene". Index.hr (in Croatian). 15 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  2. "Draganja: Bottom me iznenadnim odlaskom jako razočarao". Večernji list (in Croatian). 22 March 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. http://www.theraceclub.net/mission-statement/history/world-team/
  4. Dragičević, Darko (18 April 2010). "Draganja, I will always be a Croat and a Catholic" (in Croatian). Večernji list. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Ja ću uvijek biti Hrvat i Katolik.("I will always be a Croat and a Catholic.")
  5. "Draganja Turns His Back on Qatar". Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  6. "CRO Records Long Course". 31 July 2009. Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  7. "CRO Records Short Course". 11 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
Preceded by
Stefan Nystrand
Men's 50 metres freestyle
world record holder (short course)

11 April 2008 – 7 September 2008
Succeeded by
Roland Schoeman
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