Thursday, 21 August 2008

Australian Olympic swimmers Part Two: Between World War One and World War Two

1920 Antwerp 20 April - 12 September
(29 nations; 2626 athletes - 65 women)

World War I postponed the 1916 Games that had been scheduled to be held in Berlin. The 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp, in part to honour the suffering that had been inflicted on the Belgian people during the war. The Games were built on the themes of peace and harmony. The Opening Ceremony was notable for the introduction of the Olympic flag (designed in 1913) and the Olympic Oath (or Athletes’ Oath).

Below: The swimming pool at Antwerp. Duke Kahanamoku won his second 100m freestyle gold. He is starting in Lane 5.

Frank Beaurepaire swam at his second Olympics, and his sister, Lily Beaurepaire, also swam here, the sole woman participant for Australia, racing in both the 100m and 400m freestyle event, and taking part in the High Diving..

Australian medallists
1 silver:
Frank Beaurepaire, Henry Hay, William Herald, and Ivan Stedman — Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay
1 bronze: Frank Beaurepaire — Men's 1500m Freestyle

Henry Hay later enjoyed success as a swimming coach, guiding Boy Charlton to Olympic gold.
William Herald faded into anonymity after 1920.
Ivan Stedman: On 13 June 1916 Stedman enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He joined the 5th Field Artillery Brigade on the Western Front in August 1917, but was wounded at Passchendaele, Belgium, two months later when a shell burst in his gun-pit. Following a convalescence in England, he rejoined his unit in France in May 1918. For diving into the dark waters of the Hallue River on 23 June and rescuing a British soldier, he received an award from the Royal Humane Society, London. In September Stedman learned that his hero, Healy, had been killed at Mont St Quentin.
Keith Kirkland was also part of the team and had swum in the heats of the relay, but was replaced by Beaurepaire for the final. He did not receive a medal, but would if competing today.

Swimming events, winners, winning and Australian times:
100m freestyle:
G: Duke Kahanamoku USA 1:01.4 S: Pea Kealoha USA B: William Harris USA . 4th - William Herald 1:03.8
400m freestyle: G: Norman Ross USA 5:26.8 S: Ludy Langer USA B: George Vernot CAN
1500m freestyle: G: Norman Ross USA 22.23.2 S: George Vernot CAN B: Frank Beaurepaire AUS 23:04.0
100m backstroke: G: Warren Kealoha USA 1:15.2 S: Raymond Kegeris USA B: Gérard Blitz BEL
200m breastsroke: G: Kakan Malmroth SWE 3:04.4 S: Thor Henning SWE B: Arvo Aaltonen FIN
400m breaststroke: G: Hakan Malmroth SWE 6:31.8 S: Thor Henning SWE B: Arvo Aaltonen FIN
4x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 10:04.4 S: Australia 10:25.4 B: Great Britain

100m freestyle:
G: Ethelda Bleibtrey USA 1:13.6 S: Irene Guest USA B: Frances Schroth USA
300m freestyle: G: Ethelda Bleibtrey USA 4:34.0 S: Margaret Woodbridge USA B: Frances Schroth USA
4x 100 m freestyle relay: G: USA 5:11.6 S: Great Britain B: Sweden

1924 Paris 4 May - 27 July
( 44 nations; 3089 athletes - 135 women)

The Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”) was introduced, athletes stayed in a “village” of wooden cabins (a forerunner of the Olympic Village), and the Closing Ceremony ritual of raising three flags, the Olympic flag, the Host Nation’s flag, and the next Host Nation’s flag, was introduced.

Paris 1924 marked the arrival of the Olympic Games as a major international event. Competitors came from 44 nations, the main stadium could accommodate a crowd of 60,000, a swimming pool was especially built for competition, and 625,000 spectators and 1000 journalists attended.
Johnny Weissmuller, who later became the movie Tarzan was the star swimmer, winning three gold medals, plus a bronze medal in water polo.

Below: The pool at Tourelles in the 20th arrondissement built for the Games. Here a water polo match is in progress

Below: Medal ceremony for 400m freestyle L to R Andrew "Boy" Charlton, Australia (Bronze), Johnny Weissmuller, USA (Gold), Arne Borg, Sweden (Silver)

No women represented Australia in any sport.

Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton, who became the first Australian to win the 1500m freestyle was the Australian swimming star. He beat Swede Arne Borg after Borg had set a new world record in the heats. That mark didn’t last long: in the final, Charlton slashed more than a minute off Borg’s world record to win in 20 minutes, 6.06 seconds.

Charlton also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle and a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay, teaming with Frank Beaurepaire, Maurice 'Moss' Christie and Ernest Henry. Due to his busy schedule Charlton only swam the final with Ivan Stedman swimming the heat and semifinal.

The other bronze medal was won by Beaurepaire in the 1500m freestyle. It was his third 1500m bronze, having also placed third in the race in 1908 and 1920. (The only other Australian to win three medals in the 1500m freestyle is Kieren Perkins.) Beaurepaire also was the first Australian to win medals at three different Olympics.

Australian swimming medallists:
1 gold
: Andrew (Boy) Charlton - Men's 1500 m Freestyle
1 silver: Frank Beaurepaire, Boy Charlton, Maurice Christie and Ernest Henry — Men's 4x200 m Freestyle Relay
2 bronze: Boy Charlton - Men's 400 m Freestyle; Frank Beaurepaire — Swimming, Men's 1500 m Freestyle

Also in the team was Ivan Stedman

Swimming events, winners, winning and Australian times:
100m freestyle: G: Johnny Weissmuller USA 59:0 S: Duke Kahanamoku USA B: Sam Kahanamoku USA
400m freestyle: G: Johnny Weissmuller USA 5:04.2 S: Arne Borg SWE B: Andrew Charlton AUS 5:06.6
1500m freestyle: G: Andrew Charlton AUS 20:06.6 S: Arne Borg SWE B: Frank Beaurepaire AUS 21:48.8
100m backstroke: G: Warren Poa Kealoha USA 1:13.2 S: Paul Wyatt USA B: Károly Bartha HUN
200m breaststroke: G: Robert Skelton USA 2:56.6 S: Joseph de Combe BEL B: William Kirschbaum USA
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 9:53.4 S: Australia 10:02.2 B: Sweden p';

100m freestyle: G: Ethel LAckie USA 1:12.4 S: Mariechen Wehselau USA B: Gertrude Ederle USA
400m freestyle: G: Martha Norelius USA 6:02.2 S: Helen Wainwright USA B: Gertrude Ederle USA
100m backstroke: G: Sybil BAuer USA 1:23.2 S: Phyllis HArding GBR B: Aileen Riggin USA
200m breaststroke: G: Lucy Morton GBR 3:33.2 S: Agnes Geraghty USA B: Gladys Carson GBR
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: USA 4:58.8 S: Great Britain B: Sweden

1928 Amsterdam 17 May - 12 August
(14 nations; 2883 athletes - 277 women)

These were the first Games in which an Olympic flame burned over the host city for the duration of the competition. It was lit beforehand by an employee of the gasworks company. At the Opening Ceremony, the team from Greece led the Parade of Nations and the host Dutch team marched in last. Greece first, hosts last would become a permanent part of the Olympic protocol.

It was also the first Olympics in which women competed in gymnastics and athletics. Edith Robinson was Australia's first female athletics competitor.

Due to economic difficulties, Australia could only afford to send ten athletes to the Games, as the estimated cost of funding was A$720 per athlete. However, other athletes were allowed to compete on the condition that they secure private or community funding. Eight athletes were funded in this way, including Dunc Gray, who won a bronze medal in cycling.

The Australian swimming team were Tom Boast, Andrew 'Boy' Charlton, Edna Davey, Bonnie Mealing (aka Philomena Johnston - later married name: more here) and Doris Thompson.

Below: Edna Davey with Fanny Durack

Australian medals
Boy Charlton
won 2 silver medals in the 400 and 1500m freestyle events.

Below: The pool at Amsterdam
Events, medallists, winning times and Australian times
100m freestyle:
G: Johnny Weissmuller USA 58.6 S: István Bárány HUN B: Katsuo Takaishi JPN
400m freestyle: G: Alberto Zorilla ARG 5:01.6 S: Andrew Charlton AUS 5:03.6 B: Arne Borg SWE
1500m freestyle: G: Arne Borg SWE 19:51.8 S: Andrew Charlton AUS 20:02.6 B: Clarence Crabbe USA
100m backstroke: G: George Kojac USA 1:08.2 S: Walter Laufer USA B: Paul Wyatt USA
200m breaststroke: G: Yoshiyuki Tsurita JPN 2:48.8 S: Erich Rademacher GER B: Teofilo Yldefonzo PHI
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 9:36.2 S: Japan B: Canada

100m freestyle:
G: Albina Osipowich USA 1:11.0 S: Eleonor Garatti USA B: Joyce Cooper GBR
400m freestyle: G: Martha Norelious USA 5:42.8 S: Maria-Johanna Braun HOL B: Josephine McKim USA
100m backstroke: G: Maria-Johanna Braun HOL 1:22.0 S: Ellen king GBR B: Joyce Cooper GBR
200m breaststroke: G: Hilde Schrader GER 3:12.6 S: Mietje Baron HOL B: Lotte Mühe GER 4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: USA 4:47.6 S: Great Britain B: South Africa

1932 Los Angeles 30 July - 14 August
(37 nations; 1332 athletes - 126 women)

The Great Depression affected the number of nations and athletes taking part. The event was in jeopardy until Los Angeles stepped forward to offer to host it. The USA was the dominant medal winner, but in the pool it was Japan which led the way. An 'Olympic Village' was built to house athletes, and China made its Olympic debut with 1 competitor.

"On opening day, July 30, 1932, a 300-piece band marched into the Coliseum and struck up “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” There were cheers from the assembled 105,000 spectators, and thousands of doves circled overhead as they tried to reach the arena’s rim. The nation’s vice president, Charles Curtis, was delegated to open the Games. A 10-shot cannon salute was followed by the bleat of half a dozen trumpets. With that, the Games began. "(Los Angeles Times)

Below: The Australian 1932 Olympic team in the stadium. I love the baggy caps on the men (like the 'baggy green' cricket cap) and the jaunty hats and loose ties of the women. Cool elegance. I wonder if they attracted criticism as every uniform these days seems to.

Below: A swimming event ticket

Clare Dennis was the youngest woman to win a gold medal in Los Angeles. Aged 16, she won the 200m breaststroke to become an instant celebrity because of her age and ability. She would later be one of the first women to compete for Australia at the Empire Games, now known as the Commonwealth Games. Bonnie Mealing won a silver.

Andrew Charlton was Australia's flag bearer.

The Australian swimming team comprised Andrew Charlton, Clare Dennis, Philomena (Bonnie) Mealing, Noel Ryan and Frances Vorrath.

Below: Mrs Baker (chaperone), Bonnie Mealing, Clare Dennis, Frances Bult (Vorrath) at back. Front Eileen Wearne, Thelma Kench (athletics)

Below: Noel Ryan, 3rd from left at Woolloomooloo Municipal Baths, unknown date

1 gold - Clare Dennis 200m breastroke
1 silver - Bonnie Mealing 100m backstroke

In the heats Clare Dennis (left) was almost disqualified for showing 'too much shoulder blade' in her regulation silk Speedo swim-suit. Following protracted official negotiations the charge was dismissed and Dennis went on—with a new Olympic and world record time of 3 minutes 6.3 seconds for the 200 metres breast-stroke—to become the first Australian woman, since Fanny Durack in 1912, to bring home an Olympic gold medal.

Below: Andrew Charlton (right) with Clarence (Buster) Crabbe, who became another movie Tarzan.

Medallists, winning and Australian times
100m freestyle:
G: Yasuji Miyazaki JPN 58.2 S: Tatsugo Kawaishi JPN B: Albert Schwartz USA
400m freestyle: G: Clarence Crabbe USA 4:48.4 S: Jean Taris FRA B: Tsutomu Oyokota JPN 6th - Andrew Charlton AUS 4:58.6
1500m freestyle: G: Kusuo Kitamura JPN 19:12.4 S: Shozo Makino JPN B: James Cristy USA 4th - Noel Ryan AUS 19:45.1
200m breaststroke: G: Yoshiyuki Tsuruta JPN 2:45.4 S: Reizo Koike JPN B: Teofilo Yldefonzo PHI
100m backstroke: G: Masaji Kiyokawa JPN 1:08.6 S: Toshio Irie JPN B: Kentaro Kawatsu 1:10.0
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: Japan 8:58.4 S: USA B: Hungary

100m freestyle:
G: Helene Madison USA 1:06.8 S: Willie den Ouden HOL B:Eleonor Garatti USA 5th - Frances Bult AUS 1:09.9
400m freestyle: G: Helene Madison USA 5:28.5 S: Lenore Kight USA B: Jennie Makaal SAF
200m breaststroke: G: Clare Dennis AUS 3:06.3 S: Hideko Maehata JPN B: Else Jacobsen DEN
100m backstroke: G: Eleanor Holm USA S: Philomena Mealing AUS 1:21.3 B: Elizabeth Davies GBR
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: USA 4:38.0 S: Netherlands B: Great Britain

Below: The Coliseum - Olympic Stadium - and swimming stadium
Renovation of Los Angeles Swimming Stadium in Exposition Park

1936 Berlin 1 - 16 August
(49 nations; 3963 athletes - 331 women)

Forever remembered for Jesse Owens, the mighty African American athlete who won four gold medals in athletics, and Adolf Hitler, who was determined to use the Games politically to asert the superiority of te 'German race'..

The Torch Relay was introduced at these games as a triumphalist statement. The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, and travelled through seven countries in less than a fortnight before reaching Berlin for the Opening Ceremony.

Below: The Olympic stadium and swimming stadium

Australia sent a team of 33, including 4 women, and won no medals. Cyclist Dunc Gray carried the flag for Australia. Also making the journey was a live koala - presented to the Commandant of the Olympic Village. Goodness knows whatever happened to it.

The Australian swimming team comprised Patricia Down, William Kendall, Ethel Mackay, Percy Oliver and Evelyn Whillier. Only Oliver made a final, to finish seventh.

Percy Oliver (left, in August 2008) - article WA Today Aug 14 2008. Oliver says: "I was really nervous, I was turning over … and so by the time I went out I felt I was finished," Oliver said.

"My attitude to participate in an event like that was a way away. When I got at the end to make the turn, put my arm back and the wall was not there.

"I must have lost two seconds at least."

Below: The Berlin swimming stadium

Below: The stadium immediately after World War Two, 1945

Below: The stadium in more recent times

Events, medallists and winning and Australian times.

100m freestyle:
G: Ferenc Csik HUN 57.6 S: Masanori YUsa JPN B: Shiego Arai JPN
400m freestyle: G: Jack Medica USA 4:44.5 S: Shumpei Uto JPN B: Shozo Makino JPN
1500m freestyle: G: Noburo Terada JPN 19:13.7 S: Jack Medica USA B: Shumpei Uto JPN
100m backstroke: G: Adolf Kiefer USA 1:05.9 S: Albert van de Weghe USA B: Masaji Kiyokawa JPN 7th - Percy Oliver AUS 1:10.7
200m breaststroke: G: Tetsuo Hamuro JPN 2:42.5 S: Erwin Sietas GER B: Reizo Koike JPN
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: Japan 8:51.5 S: USA B: Hungary

100m freestyle: G: Hendrika Mastenbroek HOL 1:05.9 S: Jeanette Campbell ARG B: Gisela Arendt GER
400m freestyle: G: Hendrika Mastenbroek HOL 5:26.4 S: Ragnhild Hveger DEN B: Lenore Wingard-Knight USA
200m breaststroke: G: Hideko Maehata JPN 3:03.6 S: Martha Genenger GER B: Inge Sörensen DEN
100m backstroke: G: Dina W Senff HOL 1:18.9 S: Hendrika Mastenbroek HOL B: Alice bridges USA
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: Netherlands 4:36.0 S: Germany B: USA


Helen said...

Sally, you should be given an award for all the work you've put into this amazing site. Well done!

Keith Myerscough said...

Just joined your site as a 'follower' - your efforts in telling the story of the history of swimming through a blog are worthy of praise! Just getting into blogging myself; hope I can present my bits and pieces as well as you do eventually. Keith