Jessica Hardy
Jessica Hardy
Personal information
Full name Jessica Adele Hardy
National team  United States
Born (1987-03-12) March 12, 1987
Orange, California
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 152 lb (69 kg)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke, freestyle
Club Trojan Swim Club
College team University of California, Berkeley

Jessica Adele Hardy (born March 12, 1987) is an American competition swimmer who specializes in breaststroke and freestyle events. Hardy earned a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle and a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relays at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

She has won a total of twenty-eight medals in major international competition, fourteen gold, nine silver, and five bronze spanning the Olympics, World and the Pan Pacific Championships. Hardy's breakthrough performance was at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships, where she won three silver medals and broke Leisel Jones' world record in the 100-meter breaststroke. She was named USA Swimming's Breakout Performer of the Year for her performance that year. Most of her international medals have come in breaststroke and relay events.

After qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in 2008, Hardy tested positive for clenbuterol and voluntarily left the team. The substance typically carries a two-year ban, but she ended up serving a one-year ban after she explained to the American Arbitration Association that her positive test was a result of a tainted nutritional supplement.

Personal life

Hardy was born in Indiana State University and is currently a social worker. Her father is a chemical engineer.[1] She is a 2005 graduate of Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach and was Swimming World's Female High School Swimmer of the Year in 2004 and 2005.[2] Hardy attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she competed for coach Teri McKeever's California Golden Bears swim team for two years. She was a four-time NCAA Champion, and met her husband Dominik Meichtry, a Swiss swimmer and 2008 Olympian, at Berkeley. She gave up her eligibility and turned professional in 2007, to train with coach Dave Salo for Trojan Swim Club of the University of Southern California.[3] Salo is currently the head coach for the men's and women's swimming teams at USC.[4]

She married Swiss Olympic swimmer Dominik Meichtry on October 5, 2013.[5]


At the 2005 World Aquatics Championships, a long course meet, Hardy competed in two individual breaststroke events and in the 4×100-meter medley relay. She won silver in all of those events. Hardy broke Leisel Jones' world record in the semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke on July 25 before ultimately finishing second in the finals two days later.[6][7] In the 4×100-meter medley relay, on July 30, Hardy won a silver medal with Natalie Coughlin, Rachel Komisarz, and Amanda Weir. As the breaststroke leg, Hardy recorded a time of 1:07.70, the second-fastest in the field.[8] On July 31, Hardy placed second in the 50-meter breaststroke, finishing behind Jade Edmistone of Australia.[9]

At the 2006 Short Course World Championships in Shanghai, Hardy competed in two individual breaststroke events and swam in the heats of the 4×100-meter medley relay. At the conclusion of the meet, she won a silver and bronze medal. In the 50-meter breaststroke on April 6, Hardy won a bronze medal, finishing behind Jade Edmistone and Brooke Hanson of Australia.[10] Hardy then competed in the heats of the 4×100-meter medley relay (with Mary Mohler, Elaine Breeden, and Amanda Weir) on April 7, and won a silver medal after the United States placed second in the finals.[11] On April 8, Hardy finished in fourth place in the 100-meter breaststroke.[12]

At the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, a long course meet, Hardy competed in two individual breaststroke events and in the 4×100-meter medley relay. She won a gold and silver medal at this competition. In her first event, the 100-meter breaststroke, on March 27, Hardy placed fourth.[13] Hardy then swam in the heats of the 4×100-meter medley relay (with Leila Vaziri, Dana Vollmer, and Amanda Weir) on March 31, and won a silver medal after the United States placed second in the finals.[14][15] On April 1, Hardy won the gold in the 50-meter breaststroke.[16]

At the 2008 Short Course World Championships in Manchester, England, Hardy won a total of three gold medals. In her first event, the 50-meter breaststroke, on April 10, Hardy won gold with a world record time of 29.58.[17] In the 4×100-meter medley, on April 11, Hardy teamed with Margaret Hoelzer, Rachel Komisarz, and Kara Denby to win gold in a world record time of 3:51.36.[18] Going into the final of the 100-meter breaststroke, Hardy was the clear favorite for gold. She topped the heats with a time of 1:05.31 and broke the championship record in the semifinals with a time of 1:04.63 both on April 11.[19][20] In the final of the 100-meter breaststroke, on April 12, Hardy won gold with a time of 1:04.22, and broke her own championship record.[21]

Positive drug test

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Hardy qualified for the USA Olympic Team.[22][23][24] A few weeks later, on July 23, 2008, Hardy was notified that the second of her three tests from the Trials came back as positive for low levels of clenbuterol; this notification subsequently leaked to the media.[25] Her attorney confirmed on July 24, 2008, that Hardy's "A" and "B" samples from a test administered on July 4 were positive for clenbuterol, a banned thermogenic weight-loss aid and partial stimulant.[26]

Hardy claimed innocence and said she had never even heard of clenbuterol,[27] attributing her positive drug result to either a tainted nutritional supplement or sabotage. Media coverage of the issue noted that tainted supplements have played a part in some previous instances of bans. An example offered has been that of American swimmer Kicker Vencill, who won a lawsuit against a company that provided him with tainted supplements that resulted in a positive dope test and two-year ban from the sport.[28] Under both American and international regulations, a lack of knowledge of the source of the substance ingested is not considered to be a defence against a positive result.

On August 1, 2008, following Hardy's hearing before the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), USADA released a statement stating, "The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today that U.S. swimmer, Jessica Hardy, of Long Beach, CA, tested positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol at the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 4, 2008, and has agreed to withdraw from the 2008 United States Olympic Team in the best interests of the team."[26] On August 1, 2008, Hardy officially, and voluntarily, left the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.[26] In May 2009, it was announced that Hardy would be banned from the sport for one year for the positive test.[29]

On May 21, 2010, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) agreed with the 2009 decision of the American Arbitration Association and dismissed the appeal by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) to increase the suspension from one to two years. However, CAS did not entertain Hardy's request to have the International Olympic Committee join this arbitration nor her request to make a recommendation on her eligibility for the 2012 London Olympic games.[30] In April 2011, it was announced that Hardy would be eligible for the 2012 Olympics.[31]

2009 comeback

Hardy returned from her suspension on August 5, at the U.S. Open National Championships. On August 6, Hardy broke Yuliya Yefimova's world record in the 50-meter breaststroke (long course) with a time of 29.95 to become the first woman under 30 seconds in the event.[32] On August 7, Hardy lowered the world record for the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.45. En route to this world record, she also lowered her own world record in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 29.80.[33]

At the World Cup on October 17, Hardy broke her own 50-meter breaststroke (short course) record set in April 2008 with a time of 29.45.[34] On November 7, Hardy again bettered her own world record in the 50-meter breaststroke (short course) with a time of 29.36.[35] On November 12, Hardy broke her own world record for the third time with a 28.96, the first woman to go sub 29 in the 50-meter short course breaststroke.[36] On November 15, Hardy bettered her record for the fourth time with a time of 28.80, 0.16 seconds faster than her previous record.[37] Hardy was the overall winner in the female division for the 2009 FINA Swimming World Cup. She received U.S. $100,000 for her efforts.[38]


2010 National Championships

At the 2010 National Championships, Hardy made the American team that competed at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships after finishing second in the 100-meter freestyle. On August 5, despite being the world record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, Hardy finished in seventh place with a time of 1:09.24. At the first 50, Hardy came in first in 30.92, but faded badly at the end.[39] Hardy did not blame her poor performances on her physical condition but rather her mental state. On her final chance of making the team, on August 7, Hardy finished in second place in the 100-meter freestyle in 54.14, a personal best for her.[40] After the competition, Hardy said, "I've been struggling so much with the pressure I put on myself, especially in the 100 [meter] breaststroke."[41]

2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

Going into the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Hardy said her only goal was to have fun. Hardy competed in two individual freestyle events (the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle), the 50-meter butterfly, the 50-meter breaststroke, and in the 4×100-meter medley and freestyle relays. She went on to win four gold medals.[42] On the first day of competition, on August 18, Hardy competed in the 50-meter butterfly and finished in sixth place.[43] On the second day of competition, on August 19, Hardy didn't qualify to swim in the 100 m freestyle A final and had to compete in the B final. In the 100-meter freestyle B final, she finished first with a time of 54.16.[44] On the third day of competition, on August 20, Hardy won gold in the 50-meter breaststroke and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In the 50-meter breaststroke, Hardy won gold in a time of 30.03.[45] Less than an hour later, Hardy competed in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Natalie Coughlin, Amanda Weir and Dana Vollmer. As the second leg of the relay, Hardy had a 53.43 split, the fastest in the field.[46] The next day, on August 21, Hardy competed in both the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley relay. In the 50-meter freestyle, Hardy won gold in a championship record time of 24.63, just ahead of Amanda Weir who recorded a time of 24.70.[47] Hardy then competed in the 4×100-meter medley relay with Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and Rebecca Soni. As the freestyle leg, Hardy recorded a time of 53.12 and the American team went on to win the gold medal in a time of 3:55.23.[48]

2011 World Championships

Hardy won the 50-meter breaststroke at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, China. She swam the race in 30.19 seconds, beating defending champion and training partner Yuliya Efimova by 0.3 seconds. It was her first win in the event since 2007.[49] After qualifying from the 50-meter freestyle heats with the joint fastest time,[50] she finished eighth in the final.[51]

2012 Summer Olympic Games

At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Hardy won the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 24.50 seconds, and also won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.96 seconds, thus qualifying to compete in those two events, as well as the 4×100-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley relays, at the 2012 Olympics. She also competed in the 100-meter breaststroke, and placed third in the final behind Olympic newcomer Breeja Larson and veteran Rebecca Soni.

Kazan 2015

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Hardy won her first Olympic medal, a bronze, in the 4×100-meter freestyle with Missy Franklin, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt, when the U.S. team finished third behind the teams from Australia and the Netherlands. Swimming the second leg, Hardy had a split of 53.53 seconds and the team finished with a total time of 3:34.24, an American record. She also earned a gold medal by swimming for the winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the 4×100-meter medley relay. In her two individual events, she finished seventh in the 50-meter freestyle and eighth in the 100-meter freestyle.

Personal bests

As of June 30, 2012.
Event Time Venue Date Note(s)
50 m breaststroke (long course) 29.80 Federal Way August 7, 2009
100 m breaststroke (long course) 1:04.45 Federal Way August 7, 2009
200 m breaststroke (long course) 2:34.27 Irvine May 28, 2006
50 m freestyle (long course) 24.48 Omaha July 5, 2008
100 m freestyle (long course) 53.86 London August 1, 2012
50 m breaststroke (short course) 28.80 Berlin November 15, 2009
100 m breaststroke (short course) 1:03.30 Berlin November 14, 2009
200 m breaststroke (short course) 2:33.20 New York City January 30, 2004
50 m freestyle (short course) 23.96 Stockholm November 10, 2009
100 m freestyle (short course) 53.46 Manchester April 12, 2008

See also


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External links

  • Official website
  • Jessica Hardy – National Team swimmer profile at
  • Jessica Hardy at the United States Olympic Committee
  • Jessica Hardy – University of California athlete profile at
  • Jessica Hardy on Twitter

Preceded by

Leisel Jones
Rebecca Soni
Women's 100-meter breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

July 25, 2005 – February 3, 2006
August 7, 2009 – July 29, 2013
Succeeded by

Leisel Jones
Rūta Meilutytė
Preceded by
Jade Edmistone
Women's 50-meter breaststroke
world record holder (short course)

April 10, 2008 – November 10, 2013
Succeeded by
Yuliya Yefimova (invalidated)[1]
Preceded by
Yuliya Yefimova
Women's 50-meter breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

August 6, 2009 – August 3, 2013
Succeeded by
Rūta Meilutytė
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Marieke Guehrer
Female World Cup Overall Winner
Succeeded by
Therese Alshammar