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Swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games:

Women's 100 metres Freestyle

Swimming at the 1912 Summer Games: Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Djurgården Bay, Stockholm
Date Started: July 8, 1912
Date Finished: July 12, 1912

Gold: ANZ Fanny Durack
Silver: ANZ Mina Wylie
Bronze: GBR Jennie Fletcher

Summary

Women had never competed internationally in swimming prior to the Stockholm Olympics, so it was difficult to choose favorites. The British ASA title had been won in 1909, 1911, and 1912 by Britain’s Jennie Fletcher. The world record at the beginning of 1912 was held over 110 yards by Daisy Curwen (GBR) with 1:24.6, set in Liverpool on 29 September 1911. In preparation for the Olympics, Curwen herself broke that mark on 10 June 1912, posting 1:20.6 at Birkenhead.

Australia was to be represented by Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie, but not without some effort. Originally the Australian sports authorities did not wish to “waste” money on sending women to the Olympics. Finally, the New South Wales Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Association voted to allow the two to go to the Olympics, providing they paid their own way. A fund was raised which paid Durack’s expenses and Wylie’s family and friends provided her support. Durack’s sister, Mary, served as their chaperone on the long boat trip.

Mina Wylie had been the better of the two swimmers up to a year before the 1912 Olympics, and she had never lost to Durack to that time. But Durack changed to the new crawl stroke, from the Trudgeon, and after that, Wylie never defeated Durack. Prior to the 1912 Olympics, Durack posted world records over 50 yards (27.0), 100 yards (66.0), and 220 yards (2:56.0). In her first round heat at Stockholm, she broke Curwen’s world record for 100 metres with a time of 1:19.8.

The final came down to Durack, Wylie, and Fletcher. Daisy Curwen competed in Stockholm and qualified for the final, but had to withdraw when she was rushed to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. It is unlikely she would have challenged Durack in the final, who won easily in 1:22.2. A few days later, in an exhibition in the Stockholm Swimming Stadium, Durack broke the world record for 300 metres with a time of 4:43.6. She eventually set 11 world records between 1906 and 1921. Although she planned to compete at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, that was derailed when, shortly before the Games, she suffered the same fate as Daisy Curwen, and missed the Olympics recovering from an appendectomy.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Fanny Durack 22 Australasia ANZ Gold
2 Mina Wylie 20 Australasia ANZ Silver
3 Jennie Fletcher 22 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4 Grete Rosenberg 15 Germany GER
5 Annie Speirs 22 Great Britain GBR
2 h1 r2/3 Daisy Curwen 22 Great Britain GBR
4 h1 r2/3 Isabella Moore 17 Great Britain GBR
4 h2 r2/3 Wally Dressel 18 Germany GER
5 h1 r2/3 Mary Langford 17 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r2/3 Louise Otto 15 Germany GER
AC h2 r2/3 Irene Steer 22 Great Britain GBR DQ
3 h1 r1/3 Klara Milch 20 Austria AUT
3 h2 r1/3 Berta Zahourek 16 Austria AUT
3 h3 r1/3 Hermine Stindt 24 Germany GER
3 h5 r1/3 Vera Thulin 18 Sweden SWE
4 h1 r1/3 Greta Johansson 17 Sweden SWE
4 h2 r1/3 Josefa Kellner 21 Austria AUT
4 h3 r1/3 Fini Sticker 17 Austria AUT
4 h4 r1/3 Grete Adler 16 Austria AUT
5 h1 r1/3 Tyyne Järvi 21 Finland FIN
5 h2 r1/3 Karin Lundgren 17 Sweden SWE
5 h3 r1/3 Claire Guttenstein 24 Belgium BEL
5 h4 r1/3 Greta Carlsson 13 Sweden SWE
6 h2 r1/3 Sonja Johnsson 16 Sweden SWE
6 h3 r1/3 Elsa Björklund 17 Sweden SWE
6 h4 r1/3 Regina Kari 19 Finland FIN
AC h1 r1/3 Aagot Norman 19 Norway NOR DNF