Ryan Napoleon

Ryan Napoleon (born 26 May 1990) is an Australian freestyle swimmer and Commonwealth Games medalist.

Ryan Napoleon
Personal information
Full nameRyan Napoleon
National team Australia
Born (1990-05-26) 26 May 1990
Sydney, New South Wales
Height1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight84 kg (185 lb)
StrokesFreestyle, butterfly
ClubPalm Beach Currumbin
St Peters Western
CoachRichard Scarce


Youth Swimming

Napoleon won gold in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay, silver in the 4×100-metre medley relay and bronze in the 100-metre butterfly whilst representing Australia at the Youth Olympic Festival.

At the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India, Napoleon won gold in the 200-metre freestyle, 4×100-metre freestyle, 4×200-metre freestyle, 4×100-metre medley relays as well as silver in the 100-metre freestyle.

During the 2008 Oceania Swimming Championships held in Christchurch, New Zealand, Napoleon won gold in the 4×200-metre relay and bronze in the 200-metre butterfly.

Napoleon won the national 1500-metre title and so became the sixth fastest Australian of all time at the 2009 Australian Swimming Championships.

2009 World Championships

At the 2009 World Championships, Napoleon placed 11th in the 1500-metre freestyle, 12 in the 800-metre freestyle, and 21st in the 400-metre freestyle.

2009 World Championships events
Event Time Place
400m freestyle3:47.98 21st
800m freestyle7:53.92 12th
1500m freestyle15:09.55 11th

2010 Telstra Australian Swimming Championships

At the 2010 Australian Championships Napoleon won silver medals in the 400-, 800- and 1500-metre freestyle events.

2010 Pan Pacific Championships & Commonwealth Games

Napoleon placed 9th in the 1500-metre, and was ranked 6th in the 400-metre freestyle at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games Napoleon won silver in the 400-metre freestyle in a time of 3.48.59, and gold as part of the 4×200-metre freestyle relay team.

2010 Commonwealth Games events
Final medal count: 2 (1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
Event Time Place
400 m freestyle3:48.59 Silver
1500 m freestyle15:28.70 6th
4 × 200 m freestyle relay7:10.29 Gold

2011 Trials & Australian Swimming Championships

At the 2011 Australian Swimming Championships, he won the 400-metre freestyle in a time of 3:45.16, making him the 4th fastest Australian swimmer of all time, behind Olympic Champions Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Kieran Perkins

2011 Australian Swimming Championships events
Final medal count: 3 (2 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze)
Event Time Place
200 m freestyle1:47.68 Bronze
400 m freestyle3:45.16 Gold
800 m freestyle relay7:55.20 Gold

2011 World Championships

In what could be described as an unlucky meet for Napoleon, he finished in 13th place for both the men's 400- and 800-metre freestyle.

2012 Olympic Trials & Australian Swimming Championships

Napoleon secured his place in his maiden Olympic team when he received 2nd place in the men's 400-metre freestyle at the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships. In both the heat and semifinals of this event, Napoleon was to race against Australian swimming champion, Ian Thorpe who was making a comeback to swimming via this event. Despite both races receiving a high degree of media attention, Napoleon did not let this unnerve him. He swam impressively in his heat to become the top qualifier and later placed first in his semifinal race. To further cement Napoleon's Olympic dream, he placed 5th in perhaps what is the most competitive of the men's events, the 200-metre freestyle. This earned him a spot in the men's 4×200-metre relay team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

2012 Australian Swimming Championships events
Final medal count: 1 (0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
Event Time Place
200 m freestyle1:47.66 5th
400 m freestyle3:47.93 Silver

At the Olympics, he finished 8th in the 400 m freestyle, and was part of the Australian team that finished 5th in the 4 x 200 m freestyle.[1]

Doping ban

After Napoleon qualified to contest in the 400- and 1500-metre freestyle at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, swimming governing body FINA imposed a three-month doping ban on the swimmer due to results of a failed drug test taken in November 2009.[2] Although FINA accepted an innocent mistake was made when Napoleon took incorrectly labelled asthma medication, it was decided that he would be ineligible for three months after the violation with the suspension commencing on 20 August 2010 meaning that he was unable to train with his squad and would be unable to compete in the games.[2]

Napoleon appealed the decision made by FINA to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) resulting in the ban being back dated to 15 June 2010. Although he had missed out on vital training and preparation, Napoleon was then eligible to compete in Delhi where he claimed silver in the 400-metre freestyle and gold in the 4×200-metre relay.[3]

See also


  1. "Ryan Napoleon Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. 26 August 2010 9:53AM (26 August 2010). "Ryan Napoleon 'devastated' by doping ban". The Australian. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  3. "Ryan Napoleon almost grasps gold despite misfortunes". Herald Sun. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
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