Karl Otto Thaning (born May 9, 1977 in Cape Town) is a retired South African swimmer, who specialized in freestyle events.
Thaning represented his country in two sports, playing water polo for South Africa at the Heliopolis Tournament in Cairo, Egypt in 2003, and later for swimming at numerous tournaments.
He is a single-time Olympian (2004), and has claimed numerous short-course South African titles in sprint freestyle (both 50 and 100).
Thaning qualified for the men's 4×100 m medley relay, as a member of the South African team, at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens., teaming with Gerhardus Zandberg, Terence Parkin, and Eugene Botes in heat two, Thaning anchored a freestyle leg to finish the race with a split of 49.25, with the team finishing thirteenth overall in a final time of 3:43.94.
He captained the National Aquatic Team to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, during which he finished 9th in the 50 meter freestyle and anchored the freestyle leg of the men’s 4 x 100 m medley relay to a 6th place finish.
Since he graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California with a degree in theatre and film, Thaning returned home to Cape Town in 2002, and has since been seen in numerous local sitcoms and television shows. He played as "Captain Phillip Brooks" in a seven-part miniseries Feast of the Uninvited directed by Katinka Heyns, and gained acclaim in a U.S. television show, where he portrayed an adrenaline obsessed millionaire. In 2010, Thaning also acted in international films, such as Winnie, which starred Oscar actress and former American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson. Thaning has also starred as Judge Chan opposite Karl Urban in the film adaptation of the comic strip, Dredd. Other characters portrayed by Thaning include O'Malley in Black Sails and Jared Taylor in SAF3.