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Ryan John Pini MBE (born 10 December 1981 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea)[1] is a 4-time Olympic swimmer from Papua New Guinea. He swam for PNG at the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics;[2] also serving as the PNG flagbearer in 2008 and 2016. He is the first PNG swimmer ever to reach an Olympic final.

Ryan Pini
Personal information
Full name Ryan John Pini
Nickname(s) PNG's Golden Fish
Nationality  Papua New Guinea
Born (1981-12-10) 10 December 1981 (age 36)
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight 98 kg (216 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Butterfly
Club Yeronga Park Swim Club (AUS)

Pini competes for the Boroko Swim Club.


International careerEdit

2002 Commonwealth GamesEdit

At his first ever Commonwealth Games, Pini made the semi final in all 4 events contested (50m/100m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke)

2004 Summer OlympicsEdit

Pini competed in the 100m Butterfly at the 2004 Summer Olympics, finishing 18th.

2006 Commonwealth GamesEdit

  •   100m Butterfly

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Pini became just the second individual from Papua New Guinea to win an individual gold medal at any Olympic or Commonwealth Games, when he won the Men's 100m Butterfly. In doing so, Pini also won Papua New Guinea's first ever swimming medal at an Olympic or Commonwealth Games. His winning time of 52.64 was enough to edge out Michael Klim of Australia and Moss Burmester of New Zealand.

Pini also competed in the final of the Men's 50m Butterfly, finishing fifth, and made the semi final of the Men's 100m Freestyle.

2007 World Aquatics ChampionshipsEdit

Pini competed in the 2007 World Aquatics Championships in Melbourne.

He reached the 100m Butterfly and 50m Butterfly semi finals.

He competed in the heats of the 100m Freestyle.

2008 Summer OlympicsEdit

Pini was the flag bearer for Papua New Guinea at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Pini ranked first in the third heat of the Men's 100m Freestyle, but did not make a qualifying time for the semi finals. He also competed in heats for the 200m Freestyle.

Pini competed in the Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's 100m Butterfly, where he was Papua New Guinea's most widely anticipated chance at attaining a first Olympic medal. He competed in the finals, and finished 8th overall, in a tough line up which included American big fish Michael Phelps, who took gold. Pini was the first Papua New Guinean ever to swim an Olympic final.[3]

2010 Commonwealth GamesEdit

  •   100m Butterfly

Pini won Silver in 100m Butterfly Finals in a time of 52.50.

Pini also competed in the final of the Men's 50m Butterfly, finishing 5th in a time of 23.88.

Pini qualified for the 100m Freestyle Semi Final but had to pull out due to illness and to concentrate on the 50m Butterfly Final.

2012 Summer OlympicsEdit

Pini competed in the 100m Butterfly at the 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing 26th.

2016 Summer OlympicsEdit

Pini competed in the 100 m Butterfly event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He finished in 30th place in the heats with a time of 53.24 seconds. He did not advance to the semifinals.[4]


Pini trains under super coach Rick Van Der Zant and alongside ex Australian swimming representative Andrew Mewing. His other training partners include Jackson Van Der Zant, Sam James, Adam Hosking, and Josh Smith.

Early lifeEdit

Pini was born and raised in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and is the third youngest of four children (2 older brothers and 1 younger sister). His parents Kevin and Sarenah Pini own a family business, Theodist, based in PNG.

Pini began swimming at the age of six and attended lessons at Boroko Amateur Swimming Club. By the age of six, he held a national record for his age group (8 and under).

Graduating from Port Moresby International High School in 1999, Pini then moved to Brisbane to further his studies and to eventually pursue his swimming career.

Shoulder injuries have hindered Pini, with his fourth shoulder operation done in January 2011.

Personal lifeEdit

Pini married Brisbane born Carly Vincenzi in October 2011 at Stradbroke Island.

In his spare time, Pini enjoys wake boarding, kite surfing, diving and motor bike riding in PNG as well as snow boarding in Canada.

Honours and awardsEdit

After his victory in the 100m Butterfly at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Pini was ranked number one in the world for the event and held this ranking for 4 months.

Pini has also received the following awards:

Member of the Order of the British Empire – 2005[5]

• Papua New Guinea SP Sportsman of the Year Award – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2015

• Papua New Guinea SP Lifetime Achievement Award – 2008

• The ONOC Male Oceania Athlete of the Year Award – 2015

• South Pacific Games Male Swimmer of the Meet – 2003 (won 7 events, 4 in Games Records) [6]

Career best timesEdit

Long course (50 metre pool)

Event Time Date Notes
50m Freestyle 20.87
100m Freestyle 45.54
200m Freestyle 1:39.23
50m Butterfly 21.54
100m Butterfly 48.83
50m Backstroke
100m Backstroke

Short course (25 metre pool)

Event Time Date Notes
50m Freestyle 19.81
100m Freestyle 43.99
200m Freestyle 1:36.84
50m Butterfly 20.91
100m Butterfly 47.12
50m Backstroke
100m Backstroke

Out of the poolEdit

• Sponsorships: Bank South Pacific (2011 to current), Airlines PNG (2007 to 2009)

• Ambassadors: Bank South Pacific (2011 to current), Airlines PNG (2007 to 2009)

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Pini's bio page on the official website of the 2008 Olympics; retrieved 3 July 2009.
  2. ^ Pini's entry Archived 8 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine. from; retrieved 3 July 2009.
  3. ^ "PNG swimmer makes history" Archived 26 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine., 16 August 2008
  4. ^ "Rio 2016". Rio 2016. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  5. ^ London Gazette, 11 June 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2015
  6. ^ SPG'03-Swimming: Swimmers of the Meet Named, from; published 2003-07-05, retrieved 4 July 2009.

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Dika Toua
Toea Wisil
Flagbearer for   Papua New Guinea
Beijing 2008
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Succeeded by
Toea Wisil