Columbia's Jenny Thompson won gold this summer to become the most decorated female swimmer in world championship history.
The third-year medical student returned to swimming after a year off to take first place in the 100-meter butterfly and the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay at the World Swimming Championships held in Barcelona, Spain, in July. Her time in the 100-meter butterfly final was a world championship meet record and was also her first victory in an individual event in a major competition since 1998.
Thompson also placed second in both the 50-meter butterfly and 4 x 100-meter medley relay and third in the 100-meter freestyle. Thompson missed her sixth medal of the championship by .02 seconds as she took fourth place in the 50-meter freestyle on the last day of competition.
Her accomplishments in Barcelona make her the most celebrated women's swimmer in world championship history. With 14 medals -- seven gold, five silver, and two bronze -- she surpassed former East German swimmer Kornelia Ender and Shirley Babashoff of the United States, each of whom has 10 medals.