There is a thread about the second best male swimmer, I'd like a pinions on the best female swimmer. This may be complicated and I'm very interested in others opinions. One complication is the East German cheaters and if you throw them out, which they should be, I think it changes who is on top. For instance Shirley Babashof is probably the best woman freestyler of all time but she was overshadowed by the cheaters. Katie Ledecky is surely the best long distance freestyle , but is she the best overall? Best Sprinter is probably Dawn Fraser, at least in my opinion. My vote for most dominant performance goes to Mary T Meagher in to 200 fly. That said, my vote for the best overall goes to Tracy Caulkins who was dominant in so many different strokes and would have been even more legendary without the boycott and the cheaters .