Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Faliron Bay, Peiraias
Date Started: April 24, 1906
Date Finished: April 24, 1906
Format: Final only.
The 1-mile freestyle was held on the morning of 24 April [11 April]. The favorite was certainly [John Jarvis] of Great Britain, who was one of that country's greatest distance swimmers ever, having won 24 ASA titles over distances from 440 yards to "long distance" between 1898 and 1906. Jarvis had also won two gold medals at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, over 1,000 and 4,000 metres. However, he finished only second, being soundly defeated by almost two minutes by his countryman, [Henry Taylor]. The world record in 1906 was held by Barney Kieran with 23:16.8.
[Ian Buchanan], the British Olympic historian, has noted, "Taylor was the surprise of the Games and won two gold medals, although he had yet to win an ASA title. On his return home he set about remedying this omission and by the end of the season he was the British champion of 440-yards, 500-yards, 880-yards and 1-mile. His winning time of 11:25.4 for the 880-yards was recognized as the inaugural world record and he claimed further world records at the 1908 Olympics in the 800-meters and 1500-meters. Overall, Taylor won 15 ASA titles, the last being the long distance event in 1920 when he was 35 years old and still playing water polo for England." In all, Taylor had a tremendous Olympic career. He won eight medals and four gold medals overall. His Olympic career began in 1906 where, in addition to his gold in the 1-mile freestyle, he added a silver in the 400 metre freestyle and a bronze in the relay. In 1908 he won gold medals in the 400 metre freestyle, 1,500 metres freestyle and the 4Ã200 metre relay. He added bronze medals in 1912 and 1920 in the 4Ã200 relay.
At the half-way mark, the swimmers in this race were placed as follows: 1) Taylor 12:20, 2) Jarvis 12:38, 3) [Otto Scheff] 12:54, 4) [Max Pape] 13:40, 5) [Oscar Schiele] 13:50, and 6) [Ernst Bahnmeyer], 13:51. The top German hope, [Emil Rausch], was a sidestroke swimmer, and was hindered by swimming in the bay and the high waves which impeded his progress.