Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Tourelles Swimming Pool, Saint-Mandé
Date Started: July 16, 1924
Date Finished: July 18, 1924
The decisive moment of the inaugural Olympic women’s backstroke came after the very first heat when [Marie Baron] of the Netherlands was disqualified for “making an illegal turn”, she was alleged to have touched the wall with only one hand instead of both as required by the rules. Baron had set a time in her heat that was five seconds clear of any of her rivals and, with world record holder [Irene Gilbert] of Britain struggling with illness, would have left her a strong favourite for the victory. With the removal of Baron the mantle of favouritism fell on [Agnes Geraghty] of the USA, Geraghty would lead the final for three-quarters of the race but a burst of speed from the unheralded [Lucy Morton] brought an end to the American monopoly in the pool and a first individual gold in women’s swimming to Great Britain.