Hardcore swimming fans will likely remember Ricky Berens for his three Olympic medals, two Olympic appearances and national championship performance at the University of Texas.
Casual swimming fans may be more likely to remember him for what he calls his most embarrassing swimming moment. That moment came at the 2009 FINA World Championships when his swim suit split open, and as he says, he "showed the whole world (his) butt."
Recently, Berens took a few minutes to tell the story of his most embarrassing moment while talking to Mel Stewart on an episode of "Gold Medal Minute." Here's how Berens described the moment during that episode:
"(At the) 2009 World Championships in Rome, swimming on the prelims of the 4x100 free relay… I always had the same routine: walk over to the side of the pool, splash some water on myself, do a couple of stretches and go and do my race.
"They started the race. I'm going third. Garret Weber-Gale dives in. I walk over to the side of the pool, bend over to splash some water on myself, (and my) suit splits, middle of the back, all the way to the front. It's just wide open. And I turn around, walk back to Cullen Jones … he convinces me to get on the block. I mean, c'mon, standing on the block in the relay start position isn't the best position to be in when your suit is split open. Had to swim the entire race with a giant hole in my suit."
Today, more than four years later, an internet search for the event will still turn up photos of Beren's bare bottom as well as several stories about the event, many of which have tongue-in-cheek headlines. Now Berens can laugh about the occurrence, but at the time he was upset about it, he said.
"I kind of freaked out for just a second. I felt like [the split] was almost down to my knees. I felt like I was putting on a pretty good show," he said in this 2009 article.
At the end of his story on the "Gold Medal Minute" episode, Stewart asks Berens what his relay split was after the embarrassing debacle. He shares his time and says that he thinks it was pretty good considering that he swam "with two parachutes on," referring to his split suit.
He must have done something right, because he and his teammates were the No. 1 seed heading into the final. Berens wasn't on the relay for the final heat, but his American teammates did earn gold and gave Berens one of his first world championship gold medals.
Now, four years later, he's a four-time world champion.
You can watch the full Stewart and Berens interview here.