Mobile Site You Are Here >  >  >  >  > Women's 200 metres Breaststroke

Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Breaststroke

Swimming at the 1948 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: July 30, 1948
Date Finished: August 3, 1948

Gold: NED Nel van Vliet
Silver: AUS Nancy Lyons
Bronze: HUN Éva Gérard-Novák

Summary

While American contestants had vied for and, more often than not, won medals in the other events in the programmes, the women’s breaststroke uniquely saw nobody from the US team reach even the semi-final. The favourite for the gold was the 22 year old Dutchwoman, Nel van Vliet, who had not even learned to swim until the age of sixteen. Although she was the world record holder, her path to the represent the Netherlands in international competition was not smooth. Her father had not registered her birth and a passport could not be obtained until he appeared in court and paid a fine. Van Vliet broke the Olympic record in her heat but the two Hungarian Évas, Székely and Novák, were also in fine form as was the Australian schoolgirl Nancy Lyons. Éva Székely set the pace in the final but her butterfly technique soon faltered and the duo of Van Vliet and Novák moved away from the rest of the field. The race developed into a duel between the two and it was not until the final length that van Vliet moved clear of her rival. In third place at the start of the final 50m was Lyons. She had already moved through from fifth to fourth to third and now she would make an last desperate to catch the leaders. Moving past a tiring Novák she surged onwards and at the end of the race was only a half second behind the winner Van Vliet. Shortly after returning home, Van Vliet’s medal was stolen from her parent's home. It was only in 2004 that she was awarded a replacement medal by Dutch IOC member Erica Terpstra, herself an Olympic swimmer.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Nel van Vliet 22 Netherlands NED Gold
2 Nancy Lyons 18 Australia AUS Silver
3 Éva Gérard-Novák 18 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Éva Székely 21 Hungary HUN
5 Janny de Groot 18 Netherlands NED
6 Elizabeth Church 18 Great Britain GBR
7 Tonnie Hom 15 Netherlands NED
8 Jytte Hansen 16 Denmark DEN
4 h1 r2/3 Yvonne Vandekerckhove 27 Belgium BEL
5 h1 r2/3 Jacqueline Bertrand France FRA
6 h1 r2/3 Jean Caplin Great Britain GBR
6 h2 r2/3 Margit Leskinen 33 Finland FIN
7 h1 r2/3 Dorotea Turnbull Argentina ARG
7 h2 r2/3 Lilo Kobi 18 Switzerland SUI
8 h1 r2/3 Irene Strong 19 Canada CAN
8 h2 r2/3 Elenor Gordon-McKay 15 Great Britain GBR
6 h2 r1/3 Helga Diederichsen 17 Mexico MEX
6 h3 r1/3 Clara LaMore 22 United States USA
7 h1 r1/3 Jeanne Wilson 22 United States USA
7 h2 r1/3 Penny Pence 19 United States USA
7 h3 r1/3 Þórdís Árnadóttir 14 Iceland ISL
8 h1 r1/3 Anna Ólafsdóttir 15 Iceland ISL