Jason Edward Lezak (born November 12, 1975) is an American former competition swimmer and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. He swam for Rose Bowl Aquatics. He graduated from Irvine High School in 1994, and then from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1999.
Lezak at Maccabiah Games in July 2009
|Full name||Jason Edward Lezak|
|Born||November 12, 1975|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
Rose Bowl Aquatics
|College team||University of California, Santa Barbara|
Lezak was a specialist in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle races. He also owns long-course world records in the 400 m freestyle and medley relays, and is a former American record holder in the 100-meter freestyle. Lezak was one of the few elite swimmers not to have a personal coach. Despite this, Lezak enjoys team sports and fellow American Gary Hall Jr. dubbed Lezak as a "professional relay swimmer" at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials before their match-up in the 100-meter freestyle.
Lezak was born in Irvine, California, the son of Linda (née Mann), an elementary school science teacher, and David Lezak, a former leather goods salesman. He is Jewish. The name Lezak is pronounced Leh-Zhack and is Polish (short e). Lezak attended El Camino Real Elementary School (now Woodbury Elementary School) and Irvine High School, as well as the University of California, Santa Barbara. He swam for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos swimming and diving team from 1995 to 1998. Lezak currently lives in Irvine with his wife, Danielle (DeAlva).
Lezak earned his first long-course international swimming gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where he was part of the 4×100-meter medley relay in the Olympics in Sydney. He also won a silver medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
Lezak competed in several events at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, and was a member of the 4×100-meter medley relay team that set a new world record and earned another gold medal at the games. Lezak also won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and finished fifth in the 50-meter freestyle.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Lezak was the oldest male on the U.S. swim team. He anchored the U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team that won the gold medal and set a new world record. In the final 25 meters, Lezak overtook French team anchor Alain Bernard (the world record holder in the 100-meter freestyle going into the relay) to win gold despite Bernard having nearly a full body length's advantage when Lezak started his leg and half a body length 25 meters from the end. Lezak split a 46.06, the fastest 100-meter freestyle split in history by nearly six-tenths of a second (It is the fastest by 0.08 seconds now, Duncan Scott swam a 46.14s split in the 2019 World Championships 4x100 medley relay). The final time of the American team was 3:08:24, which was 3.99 seconds faster than the previous world record; the French team finished second at 3:08.32, eight one-hundredths (0.08) of a second behind—the closest finish in the event's history. This was a crucial race for Michael Phelps, because he needed it to complete the goal of winning eight gold medals in a single Olympic Games, breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Lezak qualified for his fourth Olympics at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. His sixth-place finish in the Olympic Trial finals was good enough to reach the London Games as a member of the U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom, Jimmy Feigen, Matt Grevers, Ricky Berens and Lezak swam for the U.S. team in the preliminaries. Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones and Ryan Lochte swam in the finals, and together all these competitors earned a silver medal for the team's second-place finish in the finals. Lezak became the first male swimmer in Olympic history to win four medals in the same event, the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
Short course competitions
In short-course competitions, Lezak won five world championships: four relays including the 2002 4x100m freestyle and medley, and 2004 4x100m freestyle, and a gold in the 100-meter freestyle in 2004. Lezak has also won seven U.S. Championships, three times in the 50-meter freestyle and four in the 100-meter freestyle.
2009; Maccabiah Games
Lezak passed up on attending the 2009 World Aquatics Championships to compete in the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel from July 12 to 29, 2009. Lezak was given the honor of lighting the Maccabiah torch at the Opening Ceremony. At the 2009 Maccabiah Games, Lezak won gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and 4×100-meter medley relay.
At the 2017 Maccabiah Games, in the special 4x50m relay race between Israeli and American all-star teams, American Olympic champions Lezak, Lenny Krayzelburg (four Olympic golds), and Anthony Ervin (three Olympic golds), with masters swimmer Alex Blavatnik, swam a time of 1:48.23 and defeated Israeli Olympians Guy Barnea, Yoav Bruck, Eran Groumi, and Tal Stricker, who had a time of 1:51.25.
His personal bests (long-course) are:
- 50 m freestyle: 21.90
- 100 m freestyle: 47.58 (former American record)
- 100 m freestyle relay split 46.06 (fastest relay split ever, even though FINA does not recognize world records for relay splits, unless they were in the opening leg, as only the opening leg is done from a stationary start, whereas later swimmers can lean over in the process of diving as the preceding swimmer is coming in)
- List of select Jewish swimmers
- List of multiple Olympic gold medalists in one event
- List of Olympic medalists in swimming (men)
- List of United States records in swimming
- List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in swimming (men)
- List of world records in swimming
- World record progression 4 × 100 metres freestyle relay
- World record progression 4 × 100 metres medley relay
- Dillman, Lisa (August 12, 2008). "A team player who rises to the challenge". The Los Angeles Times.
- "Sports Shorts". Jewish Sports Review. 8 (87): 18. September–October 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Francois Thomazeau (August 7, 2008). "I'm favorite and we'll smash U.S.: Bernard". Reuters. Archived from the original on August 17, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2008.
- "Lezak returns to Olympics", SI.com, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., June 29, 2012, retrieved June 30, 2012
- Greenberg, Chris (July 29, 2012), "Ryan Lochte Overtaken Late As France Wins Gold in 4x100-Meter Relay", HuffingtonPost, TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., retrieved July 31, 2012
- "Jason Lezak likely closes Olympics career with a silver medal", JewishJournal.com, Tribe Media Corp., retrieved July 31, 2012
- "Lezak partners with Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel".
- "Lezak lights torch at Maccabiah opening". July 13, 2009. Archived from the original on July 16, 2009.
- "Javanifard, Lezak make splash at Maccabiah Games". July 24, 2009.
- "Records fall as Olympians shine at Maccabiah Games," The Jerusalem Post.
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