For 3 Olympiads, Phoenix swimmer had free reign

2011-07-09T00:00:00Z 2011-07-12T13:37:46Z For 3 Olympiads, Phoenix swimmer had free reign Arizona Daily Star
July 09, 2011 12:00 am

In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.

Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.

Gary Hall Jr.

Achievement

Gary Hall Jr. was born to be an Olympian.

Hall, who was born in Cincinnati but moved to Phoenix at a young age, is the son of Gary Hall Sr., who swam in three Olympics, and the nephew of Charles Keating III, who swam in the 1976 Olympics. His grandfather, Charles Keating Jr., was a national swimming champion in the 1940s.

So, it's no surprise Hall Jr. won 10 medals over three Olympics in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He captured five gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

But Hall Jr., didn't get serious about swimming until he was 16, when his dad built the Phoenix Swim Club. Later that year, Hall won his first major title at the Junior National Championships.

Hall Jr.'s first Olympic appearance was at the 1996 Atlanta Games. His debut was a successful one, winning two individual silver medals and two team relay golds.

Before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Hall Jr., was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He took a short break from swimming, but was back in time for the Sydney Games.

There, he captured his first individual gold medal, winning the 50-meter freestyle. He also won a gold and silver in relays and a bronze in the 100 freestyle.

In 2004, Hall Jr. swam in his final Olympics and became the oldest American male swimmer (29) since Duke Kahanamoku in 1924 to compete. He again claimed gold, winning the 50 freestyle.

He tried qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, but finished fourth in the 50 freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials.

He currently is the director of business development for b2d Marketing in Seattle.

Current residence, age

Seattle, 36

He said it:

"To me, that is my greatest accomplishment - not the gold medal itself, but the platform that that gold medal created for me. Being able to use that to help others, that was worth it all - all the pain, all the sacrifices, all the hard work. It was all worth it." - Hall Jr., to USA Swimming in 2010.

Daniel Berk

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