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Swimming at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Women's 100 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 11, 1936
Date Finished: August 13, 1936

Gold: NED Nida Senff
Silver: NED Rie Mastenbroek
Bronze: USA Alice Bridges

Summary

The first sensation of this event happened before one of the potential medallists had even set foot in Germany. Eleanor Holm, the glamorous American who had won this event in Los Angeles, was removed from the US team because of her behaviour on the boat bringing her from America. She was accused, amongst other charges, of being blind drunk following a party. Holm was still present in the Olympic swimming stadium but only covering the Games for a press agency.

Even if Holm had participated the favourite would still have been the Netherlands’ Rie Mastenbreok, who held the world record. As the competition progressed it was Mastenbroek’s sixteen year old team-mate Nida Senff who proved to be the star performer, she set the fastest times in both heats and semi-finals as Mastenbroek’s more extensive schedule perhaps weighed against her. The final seemed to have been decided when Senff built up an apparently unassailable lead at halfway but she made what appeared to be a disastrous error and failed to touch the wall. Rather than risk disqualification she turned round and went back but dropped from first to sixth. Mastenbroek moved ahead of the pack but she clipped the lane dividers and lost enough time for Senff to close back on her. With twenty metres left Senff edged into the lead and held on to win the championship.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Nida Senff 16 Netherlands NED Gold
2 Rie Mastenbroek 17 Netherlands NED Silver
3 Alice Bridges 20 United States USA Bronze
4 Edith Motridge 23 United States USA
5 Tove Brunnstrøm Madsen 15 Denmark DEN
6 Lorna Frampton 16 Great Britain GBR
7 Phyllis Harding 28 Great Britain GBR
4 h2 r2/3 Truus Kerkmeester 14 Netherlands NED
5 h1 r2/3 Anni Stolte 21 Germany GER
5 h2 r2/3 Audrey Hancock 17 Great Britain GBR
6 h1 r2/3 Pat Norton 17 Australia AUS
6 h2 r2/3 Tove Nielsen 19 Denmark DEN
5 h1 r1/3 Kitty Mackay 21 Australia AUS
5 h2 r1/3 Christel Rupke 17 Germany GER
5 h3 r1/3 Mary McConkey 19 Canada CAN
6 h1 r1/3 Irén Győrffy 16 Hungary HUN
6 h2 r1/3 Thérèse Blondeau 22 France FRA
6 h3 r1/3 Yeung Sauking 17 China CHN
7 h1 r1/3 Noel Oxenbury 17 Canada CAN
7 h2 r1/3 Roma Wagner 24 Austria AUT
8 h1 r1/3 Sieglinda Zigler 17 Brazil BRA