No. 40 — Carly Piper, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Earlier on the countdown we talked about Ivy Martin and her remarkable career as a sprinter on the swimming team in recent years. However, there’s one name on the swimming and diving rolls that tops them all — Carly Piper.
Before Martin was dominating the pool, it was Piper setting the tone. Only she was doing it in the greater distances. In fact, if it weren’t for Piper one could argue that international level swimmers wouldn’t be the norm in Madison.
All Piper did was come to Wisconsin, become an international level swimmer right off the bat and close out her career with numerous honors and records to her name.
While at Wisconsin Piper was an 18-time All-American, a 13-time Big Ten champion and two time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year (2003 and 2005). Her efforts in 2005 got her nominated as Big Ten Athlete of the Year.
Piper still holds records at UW, including the 1,000-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. Her 500-yard freestyle record, held for over a decade, was broken earlier this year. That’s how dominant Piper was in the pool folks.
Additionally, Piper took some time early in her career to make the U.S. national team for the 2004 Athens Olympic games. While there, she managed to be a member of the Gold Medal winning 4×200 freestyle relay team. That team included fellow great names like Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and Kaitlin Sandeno. Oh, and they set the world record in the event, with a time of 7:53.42.
Setting world records, taking home gold medals and winning just about everything in site certainly qualifies one as a “greatest Badger of all-time.” Piper certainly fits that criteria and is well deserving of being in the top 40 on this list.
Full 50 Greatest Badgers List:
No. 50 – Randy Jablonic
No. 49 – Alex Rigsby
No. 48 — Michael Lihrman
No. 47 — Howard “Cub” Buck
No. 46 — Don Davey
No. 45 — Pat O’Dea
No. 44 — Curtis Joseph
No. 43 — Dean Anderson
No. 42 — Ivy Martin
No. 41 — Ron Vander Kelen