Ralph Hutton earned the first of his many international medals for Canada at the 1963 Pan American Games, when he took silver in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay (alongside Sandy Gilchrist and the non-Olympians Ed Cazalet and Alowin Meinhardt) and bronze in the 1500 m freestyle. He was then selected for the 1964 Summer Olympics and entered into eight events, of which his seventh-place finish in the 200 metre backstroke was the only one in which he made it beyond the opening round. His breakout year came in 1966, however, when he won eight medals at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games: gold in the 4×110 yard medley relay, silver in the 4×110 and 4×220 yard freestyle relays, as well as the 110 and 220 yard backstroke events and the 440 yard individual medley, and bronze in the 440 and 1650 yard freestyle events. He barely slowed down at the 1967 Pan American Games, capturing gold in the 200 m backstroke and silver in the 200, 400, and 1500 m freestyle events, as well as the 4×100 and 4×200 m freestyle relays. Shortly before the 1968 Summer Olympics, where he won silver in the 400 m freestyle event behind Mike Burton of the United States, he set a world record in the event with a time of 4:06.5, one that would last for over a year until it was broken by Hans Faßnacht of West Germany. Hutton also placed fourth, fourth, fifth, and seventh in the 200 m freestyle, 4×200 m freestyle relay, 1,500 m freestyle, and 4×100 m freestyle relay respectively.
Hutton was still a successful swimmer at the turn of the decade, earning silver in the 200 and 400 m freestyle, as well as the 4×100 and 4×200 m freestyle relays at the 1970 Commonwealth Games. His final major international medals came at the 1971 Pan American Games, where he took silver in the 4×200 m freestyle relay (with Ron Jacks, Bob Kasting, and Brian Phillips) and bronze in the 200 and 400 m freestyle events. He then attended the 1972 Summer Olympics, finishing seventh in the 4×200 m freestyle relay and eighth in the 200 m freestyle, and being eliminated in the opening round of the 400 m freestyle. He retired from active competition after the Games and eventually became a member of the Vancouver Police Department, in addition to remaining active in coaching. He has been inducted into the British Columba Sports (1973), Canada’s Sports (1977), and the International Swimming (1984) Halls of Fame, as well as Swimming Canada’s Circle of Excellence (2011).