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

Joshua Liendo


Joshua Liendo made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 where he swam the second leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay that finish fourth, missing the podium by just six-tenths of a second. He also swam the butterfly leg of the 4x100m medley relay that finished seventh. Individually, Liendo was a semifinalist in the 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 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 FINA World Championships (a 25m 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 FINA World 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 also 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 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 FINA World Championships. There he was part of a top-10 finish with the men’s 4x100m medley relay. He also competed at the FINA World Junior 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.

A Little More About Joshua

Getting into the Sport: Started competing in swimming at age 10… Outside Interests: Enjoys video games, fantasy football, and playing music (guitar, cello, bass)… 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)

FINA World Championships: 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)

FINA World Championships (junior): 2019 - SILVER (100m freestyle), BRONZE (mixed 4x100m medley), BRONZE (men 4x100m medley)

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