You Are Here > SR/Olympics > Athletes > Walter Spence

Walter Spence

Full name: Walter Percy Spence
Gender: Male
Born: March 3, 1901 in Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana
Died: October 16, 1958 in White Plains, New York, United States
Affiliations: Brooklyn Central YMCA, New York (USA) / Penn AC, Philadelphia (USA) / Rutgers Scarlet Knights, New Brunswick (USA) / NYAC, New York (USA)
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Swimming

Related Olympians: Brother of Leonard Spence.

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)

Biography

Born in British Guiana (now Guyana) to a Scottish father and Indian mother, Walter Spence learned to swim in the Demerara River, along with his brother, where they survived many piranha bites. He quickly began the top swimmer in his native land but moved to Trinidad and later to Canada, for whom he competed in the 1928 Olympics, and later to the United States. In 1930, Spence enrolled at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was NCAA champion in the 100 free in 1932-34, the first swimmer to ever win three consecutive collegiate championships in the same event. He also represented Brooklyn Central YMCA and Penn AC in 1926-29 in winning multiple AAU titles. Later in his career he competed for the New York AC, where he was joined by his brother Wally and Leonard, who had also emigrated to the United States. In 1935, with Peter Fick, they won the AAU 4x100 freestyle relay title. After retiring from swimming, Walter Spence worked as an insurance salesman for Security Mutual Life Insurance. He died tragically while trying to board a train at the North White Plains station. Almost missing the train, he ran to catch it, but slipped and fell on the tracks, dying a few hours later from his injuries. Walter Spence and his two brothers were inducted together into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Men's 100 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 6
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Canada CAN 3 Bronze
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Men's 200 metres Breaststroke Canada CAN 6
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Men's 100 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 4 h2 r2/3
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 5 h2 r2/3
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Canada CAN 4
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Men's 200 metres Breaststroke Canada CAN 4 h2 r2/3

Men's 100 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Final 6 1:01.4
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat One 3 QC 1:01.4
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Round One Heat Three 2 QU 1:00.6
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat Two 4 59.6
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Round One Heat Two 1 QU 59.3

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat Two 5 5:15.6
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Round One Heat Three 3 QC 5:10.0

Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada CAN Final 3 9:47.8
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada CAN Round One Heat Two 1 QU 9:55.0
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada CAN Final Standings 4 9:36.3

Men's 200 metres Breaststroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Final 6 2:57.2
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat One 2 QU 2:53.0
1928 Summer 27 Amsterdam Swimming Canada Round One Heat One 1 QU 2:56.6
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat Two 4 2:52.7
1932 Summer 31 Los Angeles Swimming Canada Round One Heat Three 2 QU 2:56.5