Gunnar Bentz

Joseph "Gunnar" Bentz (born January 3, 1996) is an American competition swimmer and Olympic gold medalist.

Joseph Bentz
Personal information
National team United States
Born (1996-01-03) January 3, 1996
Atlanta, Georgia
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight83 kg (183 lb)
Strokesindividual medley, freestyle
ClubDynamo Swim Club
College teamUniversity of Georgia


He is a four-time medalist (two gold, two bronze) at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships and a two-time medalist (one silver, one bronze) at the Pan American Games.[1] Bentz competes for the University of Georgia with the Georgia Bulldogs swimming and diving team in American collegiate swimming. Bentz was the 2015 USA National Champion in the 400m Individual Medley. In June 2016, he qualified for the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[2] Bentz swam in the preliminaries of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Replaced by the team of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, and Townley Haas, Bentz was not in the final but received a medal.[3]

In 2018 Gunnar Bentz was qualified for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.[4]

Gas station incident during 2016 Olympics

On the morning of August 14, Bentz's teammate Ryan Lochte claimed that he, Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen were robbed after four men forced them out of their taxi at gunpoint.[5] Bentz, 20 at the time of this incident, was required to be back in the Olympic Village by 1:00am as the 1:00am curfew was relaxed just for team members 21 or older by Frank Busch, U.S.A. Swimming’s national team director.[6] The Brazilian authorities questioned this account, and after Lochte had flown home on August 16, Bentz and Conger were prevented from leaving the country and their passports were seized; this was done in order to have them testify as witnesses of the incident.[7][8] Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro concluded that the athletes were not robbed, but instead had been involved in an incident at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, west of the city.[9] This investigation found that the swimmers stopped at a gas station near Casa França, where they were involved in a confrontation with security guards regarding vandalism some or all of the swimmers had caused in a bathroom while intoxicated.[10] They also claimed that the swimmers had already paid in cash 100 reais ($31) and $20 in U.S. currency as compensation for objects from the bathroom which were damaged, such as a soap holder, a mirror, and a "Please Do Not Enter" sign.[11]

According to anonymous police sources, Bentz and Conger told the police that Lochte's robbery story was fabricated.[12] The Associated Press reported that Bentz and Conger "refuted Lochte’s claim that the group was held up by armed assailants."[13]

After Bentz returned to the United States, he released a statement about the incident. He admitted to urinating behind the gas station, and wrote that Lochte pulled down a framed metal advertisement.[14]

Career best times

Long course (50-meter pool)

Event Time Venue Date
200 m freestyle 1:47.33 Omaha June 28, 2016
200 m Butterfly 1:55.51 Indianapolis June 27, 2017
200 m IM 1:58.31 Indianapolis July 1, 2017
400 m IM 4:11.66 Indianapolis June 29, 2017

Early life

Bentz graduated from St. Pius X Catholic High School in 2014.[15]


  1. Michael Pavitt (December 19, 2018). "Adrian among USA Swimming squad for Lima 2019 Pan American Games". Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  2. John Durham; Tori McElhaney; Zach Shugan (August 9, 2016). "Gunnar Bentz wins a gold medal in the 4x200 freestyle relay". The Red & Black. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  3. David Rieder (June 4, 2014). "Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz Move Past Infamous Olympic Incident". Swimming World. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  4. Andy Ross (December 18, 2018). "USA Swimming Sets Pan American Games Roster: Margo Geer, Nathan Adrian Highlight". Swimming World.
  5. Ruiz, Rebecca R.; Mather, Victor (August 14, 2016). "Ryan Lochte and Three Teammates Robbed at Gunpoint". The New York Times. p. D7. ISSN 0362-4331.
  6. Crouse, Karen (August 19, 2016). "Gleam Tarnished, Far From the Pool, for U.S. Swimmers". The New York Times. p. D9.
  7. "U.S. swimmers Bentz, Conger leave Rio after robbery scandal; Feigen pays fine". NBC Olympics. August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  8. "Two US swimmers in Rio removed from flight home". CNN. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  9. Romero, Sam (August 18, 2016). "The Police Say Ryan Lochte Lied About Gunpoint Assault". The New York Times. p. A1.
  10. Moreira, Gabriela (August 18, 2016). "Polícia conclui que nadadores norte-americanos mentiram sobre assalto" [Police conclude that American swimmers lied about robbery] (in Portuguese). ESPN. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  11. Rodrigo Viga; Jeb Blout (August 19, 2016). "U.S. says sorry as swimmers leave Brazil to jeers". Reuters. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  12. Dave Sheinin, Dom Phillips & Joshua Partlow (August 18, 2016). "As Ryan Lochte's story unravels, three teammates remain detained for questioning". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. "'Ryan was very evasive': How Lochte's robbery story started to unravel". National Post/The Washington Post. August 18, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  14. Reilly, Katie (August 20, 2016). "Swimmer Gunnar Bentz Tells His Story of Rio Gas Station Incident in Statement". TIME. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  15. "St. Pius X alum on 2016 U.S. Olympic swim team". July 7, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
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