Amanda Ray Beard (born October 29, 1981), also known by her married name Amanda Brown, is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist (two gold, four silver, one bronze). She is a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke (long course).
Beard’s success has earned her the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. She has won a total of twenty-one medals in major international competition, five gold, thirteen silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade.
1996 Summer Olympic Games
At the age of 14, Beard made her first Olympic appearance at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, while still a student at Irvine High School in Irvine, California.She was often photographed clutching her teddy bear, even on the medal stand. Beard became the second-youngest Olympic medalist in American swimming history when she won three medals in Atlanta—one gold and two silver.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Beard won a bronze a medal in the 200-meter breaststroke.
Beard attended the University of Arizona, where she competed for the Arizona Wildcats swimming and diving team. She won an individual NCAA Division I championship in 2001. In 2003, she became the world champion and American record-holder in the 200-meter breaststroke.
2004 Summer Olympic Games
At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, she qualified to participate in four events at the Athens games and broke the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke. She went on to win the gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke. Beard also won silver in both the 200-meter individual medley and the 4×100-meter medley relay. Her split in the medley relay was the fastest out of the eight competing (1:06.32)
2008 Summer Olympic Games
At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, Beard finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke event, and she qualified for her fourth consecutive Olympics. On July 30, 2008, at the U.S. swimming team’s final training in Singapore, Beard, together with Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, were elected co-captains of the U.S. Olympic women’s swimming team.
In Beijing, Beard failed to reach the semi-finals in the 200-meter breaststroke, placing 18th in the preliminaries.
2010 U.S. Swimming Nationals
In August 2010, she came out of retirement to compete at the 2010 Conoco Phillips National Championships. She finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke finals at 2:26.50, qualifying her for the Pan Pac team to represent the United States later in the month.
In the 100-meter breaststroke, Amanda Beard swam a 1:08.72 in prelims and 1:09.12 in finals, finishing 6th.
After the U.S. Nationals, Beard and Natalie Coughlin were nominated co-captains of U.S. national team once again. During the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Amanda Beard signed up for her two signature events, the 100- and the 200-meter breaststroke. Beard qualified for finals in both events, but failed to medal. She was fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:07.49) and fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:24.30).
2012 Summer Olympic Games
Beard failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team after finishing 5th in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic Swimming Trials.