For The Love Of Watersports: 11 Openly Gay Swimmers And Divers


When Tom Daley came out a few weeks ago, he joined a long line of speedo-clad aquasexuals: from gold-medal-snatching Olympians Greg Louganis, Bruce Hayes and Matthew Mitcham to swimmer turned designer, activist  and professional man-candy Jack Mackenroth. We decided to snap on our swim caps — Esther Williams-style — and dive into the openly gay athletes who made laps and history in the pool.

Make sure you wait 30 minutes after eating to take a dip in Queerty’s list of 8 Openly Gay Swimmers (and 3 Divers).

Greg Louganis 

Greg Louganis

Louganis dominated the world of diving in the 80s, racking up four gold medals between the 1984 and 1988 Olympics — two each in springboard and platform. After being diagnosed with HIV in 1988, Louganis came out in his best-selling autobiography, Breaking the Surface, which also gifted the world with Mario Lopez in a speedo for the made-for-TV movie .

And speaking of gifts, Louganis’ 1987 Playgirl spread keeps on giving:


This year Louganis became one of the first inductees into the Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame and subsequently married his boyfriend in new marriage equality state California.

Bobby Goldsmith


Like Louganis, Goldsmith also contracted HIV but unfortunately he was not as lucky and Bobby died from AID-related complications in 1984. Before that, however, he was a prominent figure in Australia’s gay community and won 17 medals at the first Gay Olympics in San Francisco in 1982. The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation keeps the swimmer’s legacy alive as Australia’s oldest HIV charity.

Bruce Hayes


Hayes went for the gold as part of the freestyle relay team at the 1984 Olympics and managed to parlay that fame into a Vanity Fair cover with Raquel Welch along with his other Grossbusters, as the media dubbed his teammates. He later became the first Olympic gold medalist to compete at the Gay Games in 1990 and the first American Olympic gold medalist to come out publicly in 1992.

Daniel Kowalski

World Swim Champs Kowalski

Besides having the longest arms in the history of the world, Kowalski is notable for being the first man in almost a century to win medals in all of the 200-m, 400-m and 1500-m freestyle events at the 1996 Olympics. Inspired by Welsh rugby hunk Gareth Thomas, the Aussie Kowalski came out in 2010.

Mark Tewksbury 


The Canadian with the adorable-sounding last name struck gold at the 1992 Olympics in the 100-m backstroke. He granted an anonymous interview in 1993, along with boxer Mark Leduc, about homophobia in sports before coming out publicly in 1998. He subsequently lost a six-figure contract as a motivational speaker for being “too openly gay,” but he’s since become a prominent gay rights activist.

Dan Veatch


Though he may not have medaled at an Olympics, Veatch competed at the 1988 Games in Seoul. He was 23 and later recalled that he “had not dealt with my sexuality yet.” He missed the 1992 Games thanks to a pulled hammy but Veach went on to win nine medals at the 1998 Gay Games.

Johan Kenkhuis


As one of only eleven openly gay athletes at the 2004 Olympic games, Kenkhuis snatched a silver medal in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay, adding to the bronze he won four years earlier in Sydney. The Dutchman retired in 2006 but along the way this happened:



Diana Nyad


Naiads were water nymphs in ancient Greek mythology so it’s fitting that Diana Nyad became a legendary endurance swimmer. Nyad holds the record for longest ocean swim — 102.5 miles — and at the age of 64, Nyad continues setting records. She became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage back in September. An author and motivational speaker, Nyad was also quick to offer congratulations to fellow out athlete Jason Collins.

Matthew Mitcham



Mitcham and his ukulele dove into our hearts at the 2008 Olympics where he won gold in the 10-m platform. The Aussie has been one of the most visible and vocal openly gay athletes — whether promising to dive nude at the 2o12 Olympics or revealing his struggle with drug addiction — in hopes that his openness helps other gay athletes.

Jack Mackenroth

Jack Mackenroth

Though he may be known more nowadays for his sizable…assets, or maybe his stint on Project Runway, Mackenroth is also an accomplished swimmer. He holds three All-American titles, a Masters National Record in the 4×50 meter medley relay and has won gold in every Gay Games since 1990. Since being diagnosed with HIV in 1989, Mackenroth has also been a prominent activist within the LGBT and HIV-positive communities. That that activism sometimes includes a lack of clothing is just an added bonus:



Tom Daley


Born in 1994, Daley started diving at seven years old. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Seoul he became not only his native Great Britain’s youngest athlete but also the youngest athlete to reach a final. Then last year, Daley snatched a Bronze medal in the 10-meter individual platform competition at the London Olympics. Daley came out as bi via YouTube earlier this month, citing his relationship with out screenwriter Dustin Lance Black as his inspiration. In what is an apparent trend with swimmers and divers, Daley also has an aversion to clothes. It must be the uniform.

Tom Daley Photo Shoot GIF 1

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  • Spike

    Another day, another 5 Queerty posts that find some way to ref. Tom Daley and include pictures.


  • coffeeaugur

    Jack Mackenroth!!! Wow!
    Mark Tewksbury !!! Woof, would literally love to see more of him :-)

  • dougmc92

    has Tom said the word ‘GAY’ yet????????

  • Niall

    I feel like you just wrote this article to get in Tom Daley. But thanks for informing me Mackenroth was actually a swimmer, didn’t know that.

  • Homophile

    Here’s an idea – if you don’t want to see any Daley related posts, don’t click on them.

    Personally I could look at him all day.

  • Stache1

    @Homophile: ..or maybe you can just download all his pictures with a fresh bottle of lube and go for it.

  • Geeker

    Wait so Jack Mackenroth does/did something besides look pretty and pose naked at the drop of a hat?

  • qlm

    Thanks Queerty for annoying the haters with more Tom, I was just thinking earlier that I hadn’t been blessed with a Daley Daily recently, and bam, 2. Just waiting for a trifecta.

  • Camsean01

    Bobby Goldsmith is famous in Australia because of his eponyms charity and a sort of “paitent Zero” but i never knew he was a diver.

  • Camsean01

    If Qweerty keeps giving me Tom Daley stories everyday, dos that mean they will eventually give me my own living breathing android version? Please?

  • davincibarnette

    I keep looking around my house and I can’t find the intruder who forces everyone else, obviously at gunpoint, to click onto articles including Tom Daley??!!

  • Harley

    @Stache1: And there is something wrong with that?

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  • Tackle

    The problem with this article for “me” is the pictures…. It just reeks of ageism.
    There are plenty of pictures of Greg Louganis, and Diana Nyad and a few others as they look today. But Queerty does not like lines,wrinkles and grey hair. That picture of Greg Louganis, was at a time when he was not even out. Maybe some would say he was hot then, because he was young and youthful, but I say he looks hot today. Love that silver hair on him. And Diana Nyad compleated a historic swim, just this year. Why show a pic of her from 30yrs ago???

  • raksiam

    The 2008 Olympics were in Beijing, not Seoul.

Comments are closed.