Melvin Monroe ("Mel") Stewart (born 16 November 1968 in Gastonia, North Carolina) is an Olympic swimming hero who won two gold medals and one bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and a talented filmmaker with a growing interest in open water swimming. He is the creator and personality of Gold Medal Mel and has filmed, narrated and produced dramatic television programs on the RCP Tiburon Mile. He has created SwimSwam and the annual Swammy Awards.
RCP Tiburon Mile
Stewart was the prominent 200m butterfly swimmer of his era. A 14-time national champion, he won the 200 m event at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, defeating Hall of Famers Michael Gross of Germany and Tamás Darnyi of Hungary. Next year he became the gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Olympic record time, 1:56.26. Stewart, the world-record holder since 1991, won a second gold as a preliminary heat member of the 4×100m medley relay and a bronze on the 4×200m freestyle relay.
In his first Olympic Games at Seoul in 1988, he was placed fifth in the 200m butterfly. Stewart held the world record at 1:55.69 from 1991 to 1995 when it was broken by Denis Pankratov of Russia.
It all began for Stewart in 1974. Under the direction of Coach Frankie Bell at the Johnston Memorial YMCA pool in Charlotte, North Carolina, he won National YMCA titles. Bell taught him stroke technique and built his love for the sport, motivating the already inspired youngster with a banana split every time he won. By age 10, he was ranked among the top 10 in the nation in his age group in sixteen events and became the most famous butterfly side-breather of all time.
He won the 200m butterfly at the Goodwill Games of 1986, 1990 and 1994, and at the Pan Pacific Championships of 1987, 1989 and 1991. While at Tennessee, he won two NCAA titles in the 200m butterfly.
Stewart holds the record in United States Swimming for winning the most national championships (14) in one event (200m butterfly).
After failing to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Team, Stewart began to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He appeared in plays, movies and television shows. He served as an ABC Sports field reporter, hosted ESPN’s “American Outback” and appeared in several films. Stewart has written several films, including a new version of the Lee Falk's The Phantom (called The Ghost Who Walks).
He is currently an ambassador to the United States Swimming Foundation and hosts the show 'Gold Medal Mel'. He lives with his wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Bayley.
Gold Medal Mel is the nickname of Stewart.
The Swammies are annual awards given by SwimSwam for the Person of the Year, USA Club Team of the Year, Open Water Swimmer of the Year, Performance of the Year, Viral Video of the Year, Record Breaking Performance of the Year, Age Group Swimmers of the Year, Clutch Swim of the Year, Financial Visionary of the Year, Australian Club/Coach of the Year, Industry Impact of the Year, and European Club/Coach of the Year.
- 2012 Club Team of the Year: SwimMAC Carolina
- 2012 Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Ous Mellouli
- 2012 Person of the Year: Bob Allard
- 2012 Viral Video of the Year: USA Swimming's Call Me Maybe
- 2012 Record Breaking Performance of the Year: Missy Franklin
- 2012 Age Group Swimmers of the Year: 10 & Under Boy: Destin Lasco, Atlantic City Aquatic Club; 11-12 Boy: Michael Andrew, Team Andrew Indie Swimming; 13-14 Boy: Maxime Rooney, Pleasanton Seahawks; 15-16 Boy: Caeleb Dressel, Bolles School Sharks; 17-18 Boy: Jack Conger, Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club
- 2012 Clutch Swim of the Year: Yannick Agnel
- 2012 Financial Visionary of the Year: Matt Farrell
- 2012 College Coach of the Year: Teri McKeever
- 2012 Australian Club/Coach of the Year: John Fowlie of the Australian Institute of Sport
- 2012 Industry Impact of the Year: Arena USA
- 2012 European Club/Coach of the Year: Fabrice Pellerin of Olympic Nice, France
- Nicknames In The Open Water Swimming World
- Do You Know Nicknames Of Open Water Swimmers
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- International Swimming Hall of Fame
- Open Water Swimming website
- Marathon Swimming
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Daily News of Open Water Swimming
- 2012 Swammy Awards
- 2012 Swammy Club Team of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Open Water Swimmer of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Person of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Viral Video of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Record Breaking Performance of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Age Group Swimmers of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Clutch Swim of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Financial Visionary of the Year
- 2012 Swammy College Coach of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Australian Club/Coach of the Year
- 2012 Swammy Industry Impact of the Year
- 2012 Swammy European Club/Coach of the Year
- Gold Medal Mel
- Gold Medal Mel on the RCP Tiburon Mile
- Video of Olympic Proportions