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Adolph Kiefer

Full name: Adolph Gustav Kiefer
Nickname(s): Sonny Boy
Gender: Male
Born: June 27, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 5, 2017 in Wadsworth, Illinois, United States
Affiliations: Lake Shore AC, Chicago (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


Adolph Kiefer of the Lake Shore AC in Chicago was the first man to swim the 100y backstroke in under one minute. He set 17 world records between 1935 and 1944 and none of his backstroke records were broken until 1950, four years after he had retired from competitive swimming. Indoors and outdoors he won a total of 18 AAU titles in the backstroke, the freestyle, and the IM, but the backstroke was clearly his forté.

Kiefer attended the University of Texas prior to the World War II. During the War, Kiefer conducted a survey of shipwrecks and documented the toll of GI deaths from drowning. As a result, Lieutenant Kiefer was put in charge of swimming instruction for the entire US Navy. While in the Navy he studied the various lifesaving devices, including life jackets and buoys, which later led to him forming his own company with various subsidiaries, Adolph Kiefer & Associates, all involved in the manufacture of swimming pool accessories and swim-related items. His company was often a supplier for the US Olympic team and at the Olympic Games. At his death in May 2017, Adolph Kiefer was the second oldest living USA Olympian, behind only kayaker [John Lysak].


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1936 Summer 18 Berlin Swimming Men's 100 metres Backstroke United States USA 1 Gold

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1936 Summer 18 Berlin Swimming United States Final 1 OR 1:05.9
1936 Summer 18 Berlin Swimming United States Semi-Finals Heat One 1 Q/OR 1:06.8
1936 Summer 18 Berlin Swimming United States Round One Heat One 1 Q/OR 1:06.9
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