Host City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Amsterdam
Date Started: August 9, 1928
Date Finished: August 11, 1928
The customary strong American presence was countered in this event by a pair of British swimmers and 17 year old [Zus Braun], considered as the host nationâs best chance of an Olympic championship in the swimming pool. Braun had been the silver medallist behind her compatriot Willy den Turk at the previous yearâs European Championships but had been steadily improving since then. Den Turk fell ill in the run-up to the Olympics and was advised to miss the Games for medical reasons. If Dutch hopes were dampened by the sight of the Scottish swimmer, [Ellen King], breaking the world record in the first heat, these worries soon passed when Braun replied by swimming four tenths of a second inside this new time. The final saw Braun, roared on by the home crowd, survive a poor finish to hold off the challenge of King and her fellow Briton, [Joyce Cooper], to become the first Dutchwoman to win an individual Olympic event. Braun, whose mother was the coach to the Dutch team, attempted to defend her Olympic title four years later in Los Angeles but an apparent insect bite developed into a serious case of blood poisoning that kept her out of the final. After spending weeks in a Los Angeles hospital, Braun returned home to Rotterdam and gave a press conference where she alleged her illness was not caused by an insect but was the result of a deliberate attempt to injure her. Speculation involved a possible link to illegal betting. Another finalist in 1928 was the fourteen year old [Eleanor Holm] who began an international career that would veer between brilliance and controversy over the next decade.