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John Konrads

Full name: Jānis "John" Konrads
Gender: Male
Height: 5-10 (179 cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Born: May 21, 1942 in RÄ«ga, RÄ«ga, Latvia
Affiliations: ?, New South Wales, (AUS)
Country: AUS Australia
Sport: Swimming

Related Olympians: Brother of Ilsa Konrads.

Medals: 1 Gold, 2 Bronze (3 Total)

Biography

Born in Latvia, John Konrads’ family left for Germany in August 1944, fleeing from the Soviet troops who reoccupied Latvia after the German occupation of 1941-44. The Konrads family stayed in Germany at a refugee camp until 1949, when they were relocated to Australia after the United States refused their immigration application on account of the family’s large size.

Taught to swim by his father, John Konrads was selected for the Australian 1956 Olympic team as a reserve after winning the national 440 yds freestyle junior title. But his breakthrough year as an international swimmer came in 1958, establishing himself as the best freestyle swimmer in the World in the late 1950s. In January 1958, in the space of eight days, Konrads set freestyle world records in the 200 metres (2:04.8), 220 yards, 400 metres (4:25.9), 440 yards, 800 metres (9:17.7) and 880 yards. He set another eight world records in February and March 1958, and won the 220, 440 and one mile freestyles at the Australian Championships.

At the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Konrads won the 440 yds, one mile and 4x220 yds freestyle relay gold medals. In 1959 he set six world records in the same six events as he did in January the previous year, including 2:02.2 for 200 m, 4:21.8 and 4:19.0 in the 400, and 8:59.6 for 800 m, and was the first person to sweep the freestyle events from 110 yds to 1 mile at the Australian Championships, winning the Helms Award as the best Australian athlete of the year. In 1960, Konrads won the 220, 440, and one mile freestyles at the Australian championships and, after setting world records of 4:15.9 in 400 m, 17:11.0 in 1,500 m freestyle and 8:16.6 in the 4x2 free relay, went to the 1960 Olympics as a heavy favorite in the 400 and 1,500.

At the Olympics, Konrads surprisingly did not win the 400 in his first event at the Olympics, barely taking bronze after a photo finish, but a couple of days later easily won the 1,500, and then added a bronze in the 4x200 free relay. After the Olympics, Konrads enrolled at the University of Southern California, graduating with a marketing degree, but he never reached his levels of 1958-60 and although he tried to defend his 1,500 m Olympic title in 1964, he qualified only for the Australian 4x200 relay team, swimming in the heats at the Olympics.

After retiring from competition, Konrads became a swimming coach, and later worked with L’Oréal, eventually rising to the directorship of the Australasian division, and later established a consultancy and advertising firm. His sister [Ilsa] was also an international level swimmer at the end of the 1950s, who set multiple world records and won silver in the 4x100 m freestyle relay at the 1960 Olympics. John Konrads was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in 1971 and Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986.

Personal Bests: 400 m freestyle – 4:15.9 (1960); 1,500 m freestyle - 17:11.0 (1960).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Australia AUS 3 Bronze
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Australia AUS 1 Gold
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Australia AUS 3 Bronze
1964 Summer 22 Tokyo Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Australia AUS 4

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 1cT 1cR 2cT 2cR 3cT 3cR 100-200m 200-300m 300-400m
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Australia Final 3 4:21.8 1:00.6 3 2:06.8 2 3:14.1 =2 1:06.2 (2) 1:07.3 (4) 1:07.7 (5)
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Australia Round One Heat Two 1 Q 4:24.3 1:01.8 1 2:08.3 1 3:15.7 1 1:06.5 (1) 1:07.4 (1) 1:08.6 (1)

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 100m 200m 300m 400m 500m 600m 700m 800m 900m 1000m 1100m 1200m 1300m 1400y 100-300m 400-500m 6-7m 7-8 900-1000 11-13m 1300-1500y
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Australia Final 1 OR 17:19.6 1:03.1 (2) 2:11.9 (1) 3:21.2 (=1) 4:31.5 (1) 5:42.1 (1) 6:52.8 (1) 8:03.4 (=1) 9:13.7 (=1) 10:24.4 (=1) 11:35.3 (=1) 12:45.0 (1) 13:53.8 (1) 15:03.0 (1) 16:12.4 (1) 1:08.8 (2) / 1:09.3 (2) 1:10.3 (4) / 1:10.6 (=2) 1:10.7 (=2) / 1:10.6 (=2) 1:10.3 (=2) / 1:10.7 (=2) 1:10.9 (=2) / 1:09.7 (1) 1:08.8 (1) / 1:09.2 (2) 1:09.4 (2) / 1:07.2 (1)
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Australia Round One Heat Four 1 Q 17:52.0 1:04.5 (=2) 2:14.6 (2) 3:24.8 (1) 4:36.2 (1) 5:46.8 (1) 6:58.2 (1) 8:10.5 (1) 9:22.4 (1) 10:34.5 (1) 11:47.3 (1) 12:59.8 (1) 14:12.6 (1) 15:25.6 (1) 16:38.7 (1) 1:10.1 (1) / 1:10.2 (1) 1:11.4 (1) / 1:10.6 (1) 1:11.4 (1) / 1:12.3 (1) 1:11.9 (1) / 1:12.1 (1) 1:12.8 (=1) / 1:12.5 (1) 1:12.8 (2) / 1:13.0 (2) 1:13.1 (3) / 1:13.3 (4)

Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T ET ER
1960 Summer 18 Roma Swimming Australia AUS Final 3 2:01.3 8:13.8 3
1964 Summer 22 Tokyo Swimming Australia AUS Round One Heat Two 4 2:02.8 4:06.5 3
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