Tracy Caulkins

Olympic Swimmer

Tracy Caulkins at Start of Women's 100 Meter Breast Stroke, 1984 Olympics
Tracy Caulkins at Start of Women's 100 Meter Breast Stroke, 1984 Olympics. Tom Duffy / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

About Tracy Caulkins:

Dates: January 11, 1963 -

Known for: first American to set an American record and win an American title in each of four swimming strokes (breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle)

  • "She's the greatest swimmer this country has ever had, by far. Her sheer ability, her versatility in all four strokes, and her durability in being so great for so long." Randy Reese, coach, University of Florida

    Sport: swimming

    Country Represented: USA

    Olympics:

    • failed in Olympics trials in 1976 (age 13)
    • 1980 - America boycotted the Moscow Olympics while Caulkins was at the height of her dominance of American women's swimming
    • 1984 - won 200-meter medley (with an Olympic record time), 400-meter medley, 4 x 100-meter medley relay team

    Also known as: Tracy Caulkins Stockwell, Tracy Ann Caulkins, Tracy Ann Stockwell

    Occupation: after 1984 retirement, executive officer for the Australian Academy of Sport in Queensland, Australia, and was president of Womensport Queensland

    Records and Awards:

    • won 48 national championships
    • set 62 American records
    • set five world records
    • three Olympic gold medals, 1984
    • "female athlete of the year," US Olympic Committee, 1984
    • International Swimming Hall of Fame, 1990

    Education and Training:

    • swimming at Seven Hills Swim and Tennis Club and the Nashville Aquatic Club (Paul Bergen, coach)
    • studied at Harpeth Hall Academy when her public school would not accommodate her swimming schedule
    • University of Florida - 1981-1985 (broadcast journalism)

    Background, Family:

    • Mother: Martha Caulkins, teacher
    • Father: Thomas Caulkins, school testing coordinator, part-time swim coach
    • Siblings: two older siblings, Amy and Tim

    Marriage, Children:

    • husband: Mark Stockwell (married 1991; swimmer)
    • children: Emily; twins Maddison and William

      More About Tracy Caulkins:

      Tracy Caulkins was born in Minnesota and lived in Iowa until she was six. She began swimming when she was eight, after the family had moved to Nashville, Tennessee. While reluctant at first to swim in cold water or get her face wet, she began to train in earnest as her talent became apparent. Though her father worked for the public schools, the family transferred her to a private school when the public schools could not accommodate her training schedule.

      At age 13, Tracy Caulkins participated in the trials for the 1976 Olympics. but did not make the team. She continued to win national and international titles, and was disappointed in 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She continued to train and compete.

      In 1981, Tracy Caulkins began college at the University of Florida, graduating in 1985 with a focus on broadcast journalism. In college, she continued competing and training, though she had slowed down from her peak years.

      Caulkins trained especially hard for the 1984 Olympics, and not only made the team, but was captain of the swim team, and at Los Angeles, won three gold medals and was named Sportswoman of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

      She retired from swimming after the 1984 Olympics, and was a commentator for swimming events as well as taking advantage of her fame with commercial endorsements.

      Tracy Caulkins married Australian swimmer, Mark Stockwell, in 1991, their romance having begun at the 1984 Olympics when he jumped into a warm-up pool to introduce himself. They married in Nashville and moved to Australia, where they had three children who have dual citizenship. Caulkins continued to be professionally involved in sports. She is a part of the operation of several physiotherapy clinics in Tennessee.