Joshua Liendo swims butterfly stroke in a white capStephen Hosier/COC
Stephen Hosier/COC

Josh Liendo


Josh Liendo made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 where he swam the second leg of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay that finish fourth, missing the podium by just six-tenths of a second. He also swam the butterfly leg of the men’s 4x100m medley relay that finished seventh. Individually, Liendo was a semifinalist in the men’s 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

Liendo is the first Black Canadian swimmer to win a gold medal and an individual medal at a major international championship. He was part of Canada’s victory in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay and won bronze in the 50m and 100m freestyle events at the 2021 World Swimming Championships (25m), a short course meet.

He had a breakout summer in long course (50m) competition in 2022. It started with the three medals he won at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, which included bronze medals in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly. It had been 49 years since a Canadian man had been on the world podium in the 100m butterfly. He added a silver medal with the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay and finished fifth in the 50m freestyle, missing a medal by just 0.04 of a second.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Liendo won gold in the 100m butterfly and earned bronze medals in the 50m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay, and mixed 4x100m freestyle relay.

Liendo stood on the podium again in the 100m butterfly at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, winning the silver medal as he lowered his own Canadian record to 50.34 seconds. He also advanced to the final of the 50m freestyle but withdrew to focus on the butterfly final that same day.

Liendo was first part of Team Canada at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. He competed in four individual events and was a finalist with the men’s and mixed 4x100m medley relays. Earlier in the year, he had won bronze with the men’s 4x100m medley relay at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships where he also made the finals of the 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle.  

After winning silver in the 100m butterfly at the 2019 Canadian Trials, breaking the national record in the 15-17 age group, he qualified for his first senior national team to compete at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships. There he was part of a top-10 finish with the men’s 4x100m medley relay. He also competed at the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships in 2019 where he won silver in the 100m freestyle while lowering his Canadian age group record. He added bronze medals with the men’s and mixed 4x100m medley relays. At the end of the year, Liendo was named the 2019 Male Junior Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Canada. 

On the opening day of the Canadian Olympic Trials in June 2021, Liendo broke the national record in the men’s 100m butterfly with a time of 51.40 in the prelims. He went on to claim gold that evening, booking his ticket to Tokyo 2020. Liendo later added two more medals and Olympic qualifications to his name with a gold in the 100m freestyle and silver in the 50m freestyle.

Liendo competes collegiately for the University of Florida Gators. As a freshman, he won the 100-yard freestyle and finished second in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly at the 2023 NCAA Championships. As a sophomore, he won the finals of all three events at the 2024 NCAA Championships.  

A Little More About Josh

Getting into the Sport: Started competing in swimming at age 10… Had learned to swim at age 3 for water safety… Outside Interests: Enjoys video games, fantasy football, and playing music (guitar, cello, bass)… Attending the University of Florida… Odds and Ends: Inspired by Allen Iverson because he was fearless and overcame many obstacles to be successful… Favourite motto: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020Swimming50m Freestyle - Men18
Tokyo 2020Swimming100m Freestyle - Men14
Tokyo 2020Swimming100m Butterfly - Men11
Tokyo 2020Swimming4x100m Freestyle Relay - Men4
Tokyo 2020Swimming4x100m Medley Relay - Men7

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - 18th (50m freestyle), 14th (100m freestyle), 11th (100m butterfly), 4th (4x100m freestyle), 7th (4x100m medley)

Youth Olympic Games: 2018 - 6th (men 4x100m medley), 7th (mixed 4x100m medley), 11th (mixed 4x100m freestyle), 16th (50m freestyle), 21st (100m freestyle), 19th (100m butterfly), 23rd (200m butterfly)

World Aquatics Championships: 2023 – SILVER (100m butterfly), 8th in SF (50m freestyle), 14th (100m freestyle), 15th (50m butterfly), 5th (4x100m freestyle relay), 4th (mixed 4x100m freestyle relay), 7th (4x100m medley relay); 2022 - BRONZE (100m freestyle), BRONZE (100m butterfly), SILVER (mixed 4x100m freestyle), 5th (50m freestyle), 6th (4x100m freestyle), 11th (4x100m medley); 2019 - 10th (men 4x100m medley), 44th (50m butterfly)

Commonwealth Games: 2022 - GOLD (100m butterfly), BRONZE (50m freestyle), BRONZE (4x100m freestyle), BRONZE (mixed 4x100m freestyle), 6th (50m butterfly), 7th (100m freestyle)

World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships: 2019 - SILVER (100m freestyle), BRONZE (mixed 4x100m medley), BRONZE (men 4x100m medley)

Pan Pacific Junior Championships: 2018 - BRONZE (men 4x100m medley), 4th (100m butterfly), 5th (50m freestyle)