Steve was born in Liverpool and swam for Liverpool Penguins and City of Liverpool. He was European Junior Champion in 1994.
As a junior swimmer Steve never won gold at the National Age Group championships. He won a total of 20 silver medals, often behind Stockport Metro swimmer James Hickman.
Steve represented Great Britain at the World Student Games in Japan in 1995 but failed to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games, a disappointment that provided him with enormous drive and motivation.
Steve is only the third Briton ever to have won the American college championships. He studied Marketing and Finance at Florida State University and won the 200m Butterfly in 1997. He joined Stockport Metro on his return from the USA in 1998.
Steve broke the Commonwealth Record for the 200m Butterfly when he won the US National Championships as a visitor in Seattle in 2000 (beating a very young Michael Phelps in the process)
In the 2004 Games in Athens, Steve won Britain’s first Olympic swimming medal in eight years. He finished third behind Michael Phelps and Takashi Yamamoto. Steve beat Michael Phelps in the semi-final. He and Michael Rock, also from Stockport Metro, are the only swimmers to have beaten Phelps in his best event, the 200m Butterfly, since 2003.
Steve represented England and Great Britain at every major competition – European Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Olympic Games, and won medals at European long and short course championships and Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
After retiring, Steve set up (with his former SM training partner Adrian Turner) Total Swimming, a company that promotes swimming. He also hosted his own show on BBC Radio Merseyside and is a key part of the BBC sport team that covers swimming at international events.