About Duje Draganja
Draganja won a silver medal in 2005 World Aquatics Championships held in Montreal in 50 m freestyle. He has 4 medals from World Short Course Swimming Championships. In 2006 and 2008 he won a gold medal in 50 meter freestyle. Also he has bronze medal in 100 m freestyle (2008) and bronze medal in 50 m butterfly (2006).
Draganja is also a former NCAA record holder in the 100 yard freestyle, with a time of 41.49, set in 2005, while he swam for the University of California, Berkeley. He, like many other world-class, non-American swimmers, chose to spend 4 years training and competing at an American university. During his four years with Cal, Duje won 10 Pac-10 swimming titles, and eight NCAA National championships. While at Cal, he trained with the world-renown sprinting coach Mike Bottom. Bottom coached Draganja for seven years before they parted ways following the 2008 Olympics. Now Draganja trains in Zagreb with swimming club Dubrava.
Draganja trained at The Race Club, a swimming club founded by Olympic Swimmers Gary Hall, Jr. and his father, Gary Hall, Sr. The Race Club, originally known as "The World Team," was designed to serve as a training group for elite swimmers across the world in preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. To be able to train with the Race Club, one must either have been ranked in the top 20 in the world the past 3 calendar years or top 3 in their nation in the past year. The Race Club included such well known swimmers as Roland Mark Schoeman, Mark Foster, Ryk Neethling, Ricardo Busquets and Therese Alshammar. They were coached by University of Michigan coach Mike Bottom.
He has been controversial in Croatia for his decision to take the citizenship of Qatar and continue his swimming career under the flag of that country, after receiving a very lucrative offer to do so. Croatian public opinion largely turned against Draganja at that time with the press portraying him as a villain with no respect for his homeland. Draganja accepted a Qatar passport in August 2005 claiming that he will keep his Croatian passport and will not change his religion. Draganja was raised Roman Catholic.
However, in February 2006, the swimmer made it clear that he had reversed his decision and that he will continue to compete for his country of birth, Croatia.