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Martín López-Zubero

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMartín•López-Zubero Purcell
Used nameMartín•López-Zubero
Born23 April 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 78 kg
AffiliationsCN Sabadell, Sabadell (ESP)
NOC Spain


Born in Jacksonville, Florida to a swimming family, Martín López-Zubero’s father was a Spaniard who came to the United States to study medicine. His older brother David was also an international level swimmer, who won Olympic bronze in the 100 butterfly at the 1980 Olympics and later coached his younger brother. Holding dual American-Spanish citizenships, Martín López-Zubero decided to represent Spain internationally, like his older brother.

The world’s top backstroker at the start of 1990s, López-Zubero competed at three Olympic Games, two World Championships and five European Championships. He won 1992 Olympic 200 backstroke gold, and was World 200 backstroke champion in 1991 and 100 backstroke champion in 1994. His European titles were in the 100 back in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1997; and the 200 back in 1991. He also won both backstroke golds at the 1990 and 1994 Goodwill Games. López-Zubero set three World records during his career, all in 1991 and all in the 200 backstroke. In April 1991, he set a 200 back SCM world record of 1:52.51, followed by LCM world records of 1:57.30, set in August 1991 at the US Nationals, and 1:56.57, set in November 1991 at the Alabama Invitational meet.

López-Zubero retired from swimming in 1998 after graduating from the University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance with a bachelor’s degree in recreation. After his graduation, he became a high school swimming coach. He was head coach of the Bolles School, his old high school, and was honored as the “Florida Age Group Coach of the Year” in 1998, 1999 and 2002. He later became head coach at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. López-Zubero was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in 2004 and the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

Personal Bests: 100 m backstroke – 54.96 (1992); 200 m backstroke – 1:56.57 (1991).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1988 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) ESP Martín López-Zubero
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 23
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 11
200 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) =31
400 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) 27
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Spain 12
1992 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) ESP Martín López-Zubero
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 4
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
100 metres Butterfly, Men (Olympic) 7
200 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) 9
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Spain 10
1996 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) ESP Martín López-Zubero
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 4
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 6
100 metres Butterfly, Men (Olympic) DNS

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1992 Summer Olympics 28 July 1992 Swimming (Aquatics) 200 metres Backstroke, Men Final 1:58.47 1

Olympic family relations

Special Notes