LOOK: A 10-year-old Kris Humphries was a faster swimmer than Michael Phelps
As a youngster, the Hawks forward clocked better times than the Olympic legend
The distinguished winner of 28 Olympic medals (including 23 gold), Michael Phelps is undoubtedly one of the best swimmers of all-time. Phelps is so far ahead of the pack that there are few challengers to his crowd. However when Phelps was a youngster, he had to deal with a formidable foe in current Atlanta Hawks forward Kris Humphries.
Before excelling at basketball, Humphries was an excellent swimmer. At 10 years old, Humphries held several national records in swimming and even had better times than Phelps, who is the same age as the NBA forward and would compete in the same national races.
From Hawks.com's KL Chouinard:
What may be more surprising is that in the same year, 10-year-old Kris Humphries clocked the fastest times in six different events: 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley (the last of which is an event that Phelps has won at the past four Olympics).
Furthermore, the young Humphries registered top-10 times in all nine race categories, including three age-bracket records, two of which - the 50m and 100m freestyle - lasted in the U.S. Swimming's youth national record books for over 18 years. Though his national records have since fallen, Humphries still holds a dozen age-bracket records in the state of Minnesota.
Humphries was clearly an elite swimmer at a young age, but as Chouinard points out in a 2003 People Magazine interview, he stopped swimming and started focusing more on basketball because he got burnt out by the sport. If he kept it up though, Humphries perhaps could've been challenging Phelps in the Olympics.
But all things considered, he may not have any Olympic medals but Humphries is earning a sizable living and has carved out a nice little 11-year NBA career for himself. Clearly, his decision to stop swimming and play basketball has worked out just fine for Humphries.
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