French Open Water Swimmer Stéphane Lecat to be Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2023

French Open Water Swimmer Stéphane Lecat to be Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2023

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2023, which includes 13 honorees from eight countries.

The ceremony is set to take place on September 30, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the newest members of the Hall of Fame will be celebrated for their achievements and contributions to the sport.

Among the honorees is Stéphane Lecat, a French open water swimmer who dominated the sport in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lecat was the FINA World Cup Series Champion in 1997, 1999, and 2000, and he won multiple medals at European and Mediterranean Championships. Lecat was previously inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2018 and awarded the Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award by ISHOF for his contributions to the French Open Water National Swimming Team/Program in 2018. Recently, he was also awarded the “Glory of Sport” by the French Olympic Committee in 2022, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest open water swimmers of all time.

From the ISHOF press release

Stéphane Lecat  (FRA) was the premier professional marathon swimmer in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  He was the FINA World Cup Series Champion in 1997, 1999 and 2000.  He won the bronze medal in the 25k at the 2011 FINA World Championships.  He competed at the European Championships in the 25k event three times, winning a medal each time. In 2000 he won gold, in 1997 he took silver, and in 1995 it was bronze.  At the Mediterranean Championships in 1997, he won gold in the 15k event.  He swam the English Channel in 2003 in a time of 8 hours and 19 minutes, and he was a 10-time national champion. He was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2018.  In addition, that same year, he was awarded the Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award by ISHOF for his contribution to the administration of the French Open Water National Swimming Team/Program in 2018, and he was awarded “Glory of Sport” by the French Olympic Committee in 2022. 

This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

Honor Swimmers

Michael Phelps (USA) is considered the greatest swimmer of all time, having won an unprecedented 28 Olympic medals, 23 of which were gold, and setting 39 world records throughout his career.

Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) is the most decorated Olympian from Africa and one of the most accomplished female swimmers of all time, having won two gold, four silver and one bronze Olympic medals in individual events, as well as four world championships and 22 medals at the All-Africa Games.

Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) a dominant breaststroke swimmer, breaking seven world records in his career and winning four Olympic gold medals, including back-to-back titles in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events in 2004 and 2008, becoming the first and only swimmer to accomplish this feat.

Missy Franklin (USA) is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world record holder in the backstroke events, winning a total of 28 medals in international competition, including 11 gold medals at the World Championships.

Cesar Cielo (BRA) is a Brazilian swimmer who won three Olympic medals, including a gold in the 50m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is also a six-time world champion and broke two world records.

Honor Diver

Wu Minxia (CHN) is a highly decorated diver, winning eight world championships and five Olympic and Asian Championships, becoming the first woman to win gold in a diving event in three consecutive Olympic Games and holding the record for the most gold medals in the 3-meter synchronized springboard diving event.

Honor Water Polo Player

Heather Petri (USA) is one of the most decorated women’s water polo players of all time, with four Olympic medals, three World Championships titles, and three Pan American Games golds.

Honor Synchronized Swimmer (Artistic Swimming)

Natalia Ischenko (RUS) is a five-time Olympic Champion and 19-time world champion in synchronized swimming, and was the first Russian to win solo, duet, and team events at a single World Championships.

Honor Open Water Swimmer

Stéphane Lecat (FRA) a premier professional marathon swimmer, winning multiple FINA World Cup Series Championships, European and Mediterranean Championships, and was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2018.

Honor Coaches

Natalia Ischenko (RUS) is a five-time Olympic Champion and 19-time world champion in synchronized swimming, and was the first Russian to win solo, duet, and team events at a single World Championships.

Chris Carver (USA) is a highly successful synchronized swimming choreographer and coach, having produced more than 50% of the USA’s synchronized swimming Olympians since 1984. “Carver was named Coach of the Year by U.S. Synchronized Swimming 14 consecutive times and her Santa Clara Aquamaids have won 14 U.S. National Team championships since 1985.”

Honor Contributor

Sambasivan RAMSAMY (RSA) fought for the eradication of the color bar in sports, led the first non-racial South African team to the Olympic Games, and played a crucial role in the Gleneagles Agreement of 1977, and is currently FINA’s first Vice President.

Honor Paralympian

Trischa Zorn (USA) is a blind American Paralympic swimmer who has won 55 Paralympic medals, 41 of them gold, making her the most successful athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games.

WOWSA