Friday, 22 August 2008

Australian Olympic swimmers Part One: Before World War One

The Olympic Games are over, the anthems played, medals awarded.

This and subsequent posts are a small tribute to Australia's Olympic swimmers over the past century.

I've been trying to remember when I first became conscious of the Olympic Games. I have no recollection of Rome (1960). I vaguely remember the controversy surrounding Dawn Fraser at Tokyo in 1964, which must have filtered in by radio, as I don't think we had a TV then.

The earliest clear recollection of an Olympic Games is of Mexico in 1968. I collected a scrapbook of cuttings from various magazines, and remember the altitude presenting a challenge. Michael Wenden from Australia won gold medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle, and collapsed and sank after the 200m due to breathing difficulties. He had to be pulled from the pool. Wenden also won silver in the 800m free, and bronze in the 4 x 100m relay, with team mates.

1896 Athens 6 April - 15 April (14 nations; 241 male athletes)

No Australian swimmers Edwin "Teddy" Flack was the only competitor from an Australian colony. He entered five events, winning medals in three - two athletics and one tennis.





Swimming events and winners with winning times. (No women's events)

100m freestyle: G: Alfred Hajós, HUN 1:22.2 S: Efstathios Chorophas, GRE B: Otto Herschmann, AUT
500m freestyle: G: Paul Neumann, AUT 8:12.6 S: Antonios Pepanos, GRE B: Efstathios Chorophas, GRE
1200m freestyle: G: Alfred Hajós, HUN 18:22.2 S: Jean Andreou, GRE B: Efstathios Chorophas, GRE
100m freestyle (sailors): G: Ioannis Malokinis, GRE 2:20.4 S: S. Chapasis, GRE B: Dimitrios Drivas, GRE

1900 Paris 14 May - 28 October (24 nations; 997 athletes - 22 being women)

The Paris Olympics had seven men's swimming events, including a 200 meter obstacle swim and underwater swimming. For the obstacle swim, the swimmers had to climb over or under poles and boats. The underwater swim gave one point for each second underwater and two points for each meter swam while underwater.




The swimming events were held in the Asnières basin of the River Seine.
Below: Georges Seurat: Bathing at Asnières 1883-4

Below: The start of one of the races.





Australian winner:
2 gold Frederick Lane (pictured left) was the only Australian swimmer at the Games. He won gold in 200m freestyle and 200m obstacle race! Lane was the first man to swim 100 yards in less than a minute. He did not receive gold medals, but instead received bronze sculptures of a horse and peasant girl respectively. He was also the favourite for the 100 metre freestyle, but this event was cancelled.












Swimming events, winners and winning times:

200m freestyle:
G: Frederick Lane, AUS 2:25.2 S: Zoltan Halmay, HUN B: Karl Ruberl, AUT
1000m freestyle: G: John Jarvis, GBR 13:40.2 S: Otto Wahle, AUT B: Zoltan Halmay, HUN
4000m freestyle: G: John Jarvis, GBR 58:24.0 S: Zoltan Halmay, HUN B: Louis Martin, FRA
200m backstroke: G: Ernst Hoppenberg, GER S: Karl Ruberl, AUT B: Johannes Drost, HOL
200m Team Swimming: G: GER 32 S:FRA B: FRA
200m Obstacle Event: G: Frederick Lane, AUS 2:38.4 S: Otto Wahle, AUT B: Peter Kemp, GBR
Underwater Swimming: G: Charles de vendeville, FRA 188.4 S: P Alexandre Six, FRA B: Peder Lykkeberg, DEN

St Louis 1904 1 July - 23 November (12 nations; 651 athletes, 6 being women)

St Louis nearly ended the Olympic Movement. No women competed. Demeaning events for indigenous athletes from around the world were held. The status of the Olympics fell further. It took the unofficial 1906 Games in Athens, known as the Intercalated Games, to revive interest and faith in the Olympic Movement. The 1906 Games were arranged to mark the 10th anniversary of the first Modern Olympics.

It was previously thought that no Australian swimmers took part. Recently it came to light that Frank Gailey, an Australian, had erroneously been recorded as American. (He later did become a US citizen). When he won 3 silver and 1 bronze medal in St Louis he was Australian. See link to separate post about this here.

The St. Louis Olympics had 9 swimming events for men. This was the first and only time that the Olympic swimmers raced in yards. This was also the first time a USA swimmer earned Olympic swimming medals.

Swimming events, winners and winning times:

50 yards freestyle: G: Zoltan Halmay, HUN 28.0 S: Scott Leary, USA B: Charles Daniels, USA 100 yards freestyle: G: Zoltan Halmay HUN 1:02.8 S: Charles Daniels B: Scott Leary USA
220 yards freestyle: G: Charles Daniels USA 2:44.2 S: Francis Gailey AUS B: Emil Rausch GER
440 yards freestly: G: Charles Daniels USA 6:16.2 S: Francis Gailey AUS B: Otto Wahle AUT 880 yards freestyle: G: Emil Rausch GER 13:11.4 S: Francis Gailey AUS B: Geza Kiss HUN
1 mile freestyle: G: Emil Rausch GER 27;18.2 S: Geza Kiss HUN B: Francis Gailey AUS
100 yards backstroke: G: Walter Brack GER 1:16.8 S: Georg Hoffmann GER B: Georg Zacharias GER
440 yards breastroke: G: Georg Zacharias GER 7:23.6 S: Walter Brack GER B: Jamison Handy USA
4 x 50 yards relay: G: USA 2:04.6 S: USA B: USA
Plunge for Distance: G: W.E. Dickey USA 19:05 S: Edgar Adams USA B: Leo Goodwin USA

1908 London 27 April - 31 October (22 nations; 2008 athletes, 37 being women)

Australia competed with New Zealand under the title Australasia.The 1908 Olympics were originally awarded to Rome, as the IOC President, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, had wished. But in April, 1906, Mount Vesuvius erupted again, leaving a cash-strapped Italy to abruptly cancel its plans to stage the Games.





Athletes marched as teams behind the flags of their nations for the first time. This momentous occasion turned into a political squabble when American flag-bearer Martin Sheridan refused to dip the US flag to King Edward because organisers had failed to fly the Stars and Stripes beside the flags of other competing nations in the main stadium. The Finnish athletes, upset at being under Russian rule, marched without a flag. The Irish also boycotted in protest of Great Britain failing to grant them independence.

Australian swimming medallist:
1 silver and 1 bronze: Frank Beaurepaire in 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle respectively. He was aged 17.

Other members of the Australian team were Theodore Tartakover, Edward Cook, Sydney Springfield, Reginald (Snowy) Baker. Snowy Baker represented Australia in 26 different sports and excelled at them all!

Frank's Beaurepaire's Olympic story is incredible by today's swimmers' relatively pampered existence! On arrival in London with his trainer, Tommy Horlock, no arrangements had been made to pick them up, so they were forced to live with 16 pounds between them for a month before officials became aware of their plight. Beaurepaire trained in London for three months before the Games. Unable to afford admission to swimming pools, He was forced to train at Highgate Ponds, at temperatures of 10°C. After a 15-mile (24 km) event in the River Thames prior to the Olympics he was numbed by the cold to such an extent that he collapsed and needed to be pulled from the water to avoid drowning. Arriving at the Olympics, the competitors were confronted with a pool dug into the athletics track, with no filtration or chlorination, effectively being a muddy pond.





Right: Frank Beaurepaire

Swimming events, winners and winning times. (No women's events)

100m freestyle: G: Charles Daniels USA 1:05.6 S: Zoltan Halmay HUN B: Harald Julin SWE
400m freestyle: G: Henry Taylor GBR 5;36.8 S: Frank Beaurepaire, AUS B: Otto Scheff AUT 1500m freestyle: G: Henry Taylor GBR S: Sydney Battersby GBR B: Frank Beaurepaire AUS 100m backstroke: G: Arno Bieberstein GER 1:24.6 S: Ludwig Dam DEN B: Herbert Haresnape GBR
200m breastroke: G: Frederick Holman GBR 3:09.2 S: William Robinson GBR B: Pontus Hansson SWE
4 x 200m freestyle: G: Great Britain 10:55.6 S: Hungary B: USA

1912 Stockholm 5 May - 22 July (28 nations; 2407 athletes, 48 being women)

The Swedes ensured the Games were a stand-alone event (not attached to a fair like in Paris and St Louis) and the schedule was shortened to two months. A 22,000-seat stadium and a new swimming pool were built, and accommodation provided for visiting athletes. These games introduced the use of unofficial electronic timing devices (capable of registering to the tenth of a second) for track and swimming events.

Once again Australia and New Zealand competed as Australasia, though this was the last time. New Zealand swimmer Malcolm Champion carried the flag in the Opening Ceremony.

The Stockholm Olympics had 7 swimming events for men and, for the first time, two events for women. The women swam a 100 meter freestyle and a 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay. Sarah ‘Fanny’ Durack became the first female swimmer to win Olympic gold. She set a new world record in each round of her event.




Australian swimming team: Les Boardman, Malcolm Champion, Sarah 'Fanny' Durack, Harold Hardwick, Cecil Healy, William Longworth, Frank Schryver, Theodore Tartakover, Wilhelmina Wylie.

Above: Harold Hardwick, William Longworth at the Stockholm Olympics, showing the swimming area.



2 gold : Fanny Durack - 100m freestyle; Leslie Boardman, Malcolm Champion (a New Zealander - Australia and NZ competed as 'Australasia'), Cecil Healy and Harold Hardwick - 4 × 200 metre freestyle relay, won in the unofficial record time of 10 minutes 11.6 seconds.
2 silver: Cecil Healy - 100 metre freestyle; Wilhelmina (Mina) Wylie - 100 metre freestyle.
2 bronze
: Harold Hardwick - 400m and 1500m freestyle.

Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie were initially refused permission to compete in the Olympics. The New South Wales Ladies Swimming Association later allowed them to go provided they bore their own expenses. Durack set a new world record in the heats of the 100 m freestyle. In the late 1910s, she held every women's swimming world record from 100 m to a mile.

Mina's father, H. A. Wylie created and operated Wylies Baths at Coogee and he and her brothers gave exhibitions of 'trick and fancy swimming' at Sydney swimming carnivals.

Photo collage below: Top left: Fanny Durack (l) and Mina Wylie (r). Top right: Mina Wylie. Bottom left: Fanny Durack. Bottom right: Fanny Durack (l) and Mina Wylie (r) in Stockholm

Leslie Boardman: Not much known about him. It is hypothesized that he was chosen because he was a team-mate at the Sydney Swimming Club of Harold Hardwick and Cecil Healy.

Below: Left Cecil Healy. Right Harold Hardwick

Cecil Healy was killed in the First World War at Mont St Quentin, in an attack on a German trench. In Stockholm, Healy entered the 100m event with fellow Australian Bill Longworth and American Duke Kahanamoku. All three qualified for the semi-final, with Kahanamoku clearly the quickest. Healy and Longworth then qualified from the first semifinal, but the three Americans, who were scheduled to qualify in the second semi-final did not, due an error by their team management. However, Healy intervened and assisted in an appeal to allow the Americans to swim another special race in order to qualify for the final. Despite protestation from other delegations, the Americans were allowed a separate race, with Kahanamoku qualifying for the final. In the final, Kahanamoku won easily, by 1.2s, over a bodylength, with Healy in second place. Healy's sportsmanship effectively cost him the gold medal. Healy was a Manly lifesaver and was awarded the Royal Humane Society silver medal for saving numerous lives.

Harold Hardwick became a professional boxer. Swimming, boxing, gymnastics, water-polo and lifesaving were Hardwick's main interests (he was a foundation member of the Manly Surf Club), but he also played Rugby Union for New South Wales against a visiting American universities team (1910) and was a member of the Eastern Suburbs premiership team (1913). In 1914 he won the State amateur heavyweight boxing championship. He became the the Department of Education as supervisor of swimming and was responsible for organizing holiday swimming schools throughout the State. In 1938 he directed the schoolchildren's display at Australia's 150th Anniversary Celebrations. He retired as deputy-director of physical education in February 1953. The Harold Hardwick memorial trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the New South Wales 100-metres schoolboys' title. It bears the inscription: 'In memory of a great sportsman, soldier and gentleman'.

Swimming events, winners and winning times

Men
100m freestyle:
G: Duke Kahanamoku USA 1:03.4 S: Cecil Healey AUS B: Kenneth Huszagh USA
400m freestyle: G: George Hodgson CAN 5:24.4 S: John Hatfield GBR B: Harold Hardwick AUS
1500m freestyle: G: George Hodgson CAN 22:00.0 S: John Hatfield GBR B: Harold Hardwick AUS
100m backstroke: G: Harry Hebner USA 1:21.2 S: Otto Fahr GER B: Paul Kellner GER
200m breastroke: G: Walter Bathe GER 3:01.8 S: Wilhelm Lützow GER B: Kurt Malisch GER
400m breastroke: G: Walter bathe GER 6:29.6 S: Thor Henning SWE B: Percy Courtman GBR
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: Australia 10.11.6 S: USA B: Great Britain

Women
100m freestyle:
G: Fanny Durack AUS 1.22.2 S: Wilhelmina Wylie AUS B: Jeannie Fletcher GBR
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: Great Britain 5:52.8 S: Germany B: Austria

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:
Men
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

Women
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';

Women
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
Men
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

Women
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
Men
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

Women
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.

Men
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

Women
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

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Australian Olympic swimmers Part Three: Towards Melbourne: London and Helsinki

1948 London 29 July - 14 August
59 nations; 4104 athletes, 390 women

After a hiatus of 12 years due to World War II, the London games saw the emergence of a number of outstanding athletes, such as Dutch track athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen and Czech Emil Zatopek.









Below: The Empire Pool at Wembley

Australian swimming team: Garrick Agnew, Bruce Bourke, Warren Boyd, Peter Breukel, John Davies, Judy Joy Davies, Kevin Hallett, Denise Henderson, John Marshall, Marjorie McQuade, Beatrice Lyons.

2 silver
2 bronze
Bruce Bourke (left, on his way to the Olympics and right, in the pool): There is a lengthy and very interesting interview with Bruce Bourke, recounting his early years in swimming and the London Games here.

John Marshall broke 28 world records during his career. Tragically he was killed in a car accident at age 27, leaving behind his wife and 7 month old child.

Events, Winners, Winning and Australian times.
Men
100m freestyle:
G: Walter Ris USA 57.3 S: Alan Ford USA B: Geza Kadas HUN
400m freestyle: G: William Smith USA 4:41.0 S: James McLane USA B: John Marshall AUS 4:47.7
1500m freestyle: G: James McLane USA 19:18.5 S: John Marshall AUS 19:31.3 B: Gyorgy Mitro HUN
100m backstroke: G: Allen Stack USA 1:06.4 S: Robert Cowell USA B: Georges Vallerey FRA
200m breaststroke: G: Joseph Verdeur USA 2:9.3 S: Keith Carter USA B: Robert Sohl USA 4th - John Davies AUS 2:43.7
4x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 8:46.0 S: Hungary B: France

Women
100m freestyle:
G: Greta Andersen DEN 1:06.3 S: Ann Curtis USA B: Narie-Louise Vaessen HOL
400m freestyle: G: Ann Curtis USA 5.17.8 S: Karen-Margrete Harup DEN B: Catherine Gibson GBR
100m backstroke: G: Karen-Margrete Harup DEN 1:14.4 S: Suzanne Zimmermann USA B: Judy-Joy Davies AUS 1:16.7
200m breaststroke: G: Petronella van Vliet HOL 2:57.2 S: Beatrice Lyons AUS 2:57.7 B: Eva Novak HUN
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: USA 4:29.2 S: Denmark B: Netherlands

1952 Helsinki 19 July - 3 August
69 nations; 4925 athletes - women 518

PPusa has a terrific blog about the Helsinki Games called "Helsinki Games Today". It includes a picture here of the swimming pool as it exists today. Here's another blogger's pics of the pool as it is used today.

These games were the first "Cold War" Games, held during the Korean War.

The star of the Games was Czech runner Emil Zatopek. He completed a treble that is unlikely ever to be repeated at an Olympics, winning the 5000m, 10,000m and marathon. As well, his wife Dana won a gold medal in the javelin, cementing their standing as their nation’s golden couple. Amongst Australia's athletes, Marjorie Jackson, known as ‘the Lithgow Flash’, stole some of the athletics spotlight with her sensational sprint double, winning the 100m and 200m. It was the beginning of the Golden Era of Australian athletics, with Shirley Strickland also competing.
Right: Shirley Stickland (left) getting bronze, and Marjorie Jackson (centre) gold in 100 m

Below: The Helsinki pool


Australian swimming team: Garrick Agnew, Rex Aubrey, John Davies, Judy Joy Davies, David Hawkins, John Marshall, Marjorie McQuade, Francis O'Neill, Denise Wangel, Beatrice Lyons

1 gold - John Davies 200m breaststroke. Davies is pictured left at the Games. Breaststroke and Butterfly were not yet separate strokes.












Events, medallists, winning and Australian times
Men
100m freestyle:
G: Clarke Scholes USA 57.4 S: Hiroshi Suzuki JPN B: Goran Larsson SWE 6th- Rex Aubrey AUS 58.7
400m freestyle: G: Jean Boiteaux FRA 4:30.7 S: Ford Konno USA B: Per-Olof Ostrand SWE
1500m freestyle: G: Ford Konno USA 18:30.3 S: Shiro Hashizune JPN B: Tetsuo Okamoto BRA 8th - John Marshall AUS 19:53.4
100m backstroke: G: Yoshinobu Ouyakawa JPN 1:05.4 S: Gilbert Bozon FRA B: Jack Taylor USA
200m breaststroke: G: John Davies AUS 2:34.4 S: Bowen Stassforth USA B: Herbert Klein GER
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 8:31.1 S: Japan B: France

Women
100m freestyle: G: Katalin Szoke HUN 1:06.8 S: Johanna TErmeulen HOL B: Judit Temes HUN
400m freestyle: G: Valeria Gyenge HUN 5:12.1 S: Eva Novak HUN B: Evelyn Kawamoto USA
100m backstroke: G: Joan HArrison SAF 1:14.3 S: Geertje Wielema HOL B: Jean Stewart NZL
200m breaststroke: G: Eva Szekely HUN 2:51.7 S: Eva Novak HUN B: Helen Gordon GBR
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: Hungary 4:24.4 S: Netherlands B: USA

Friday, 8 August 2008

Art: Julian Beever

Taking The Plunge

Girl In A Swimming Pool

Julian Beever is a UK pavement artist working in chalk. Amazing, huh! He also paints murals with acrylic paints and replicas of the works of masters and oil paintings, and creates collages. He works as a freelance performance artist and creates murals for companies.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Art: Herbert Badham

Bathing Sydney Harbour
1949
Watercolour and Pencil
National Gallery of Australia




The Swimming Enclosure


1941
Oil on board 45 x 55 cm
State Library of NSW - view by appointment

Herbert Badham (1899-1961), studied at the Sydney Art School (1921-26) and later taught at East Sydney Technical School (1938-1961). He wrote an important historical survey of Australian art which was published in 1949.