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Swimming at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Date Started: August 8, 1936
Date Finished: August 15, 1936
Events: 11

Participants: 248 (154 men and 94 women) from 29 countries
Youngest Participant: DEN Inge Sørensen (12 years, 22 days)
Oldest Participant: PHI Teófilo Yldefonso (33 years, 276 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): NED Rie Mastenbroek (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): JPN Japan (11 medals)


A newly built swimming stadium adjacent to the main Olympic stadium was the venue for an unchanged eleven event schedule. Crowds were usually large although bad weather and other scheduled events occasionally meant the stadium was not always full. Much like 1932 the men’s programme turned into a duel between Japan and the USA although a major shock occurred in the 100m freestyle, with a victory for Hungary. The Dutch team were the dominating force in the women’s events. [Rie Mastenbroek] of the Netherlands was the outstanding swimmer of either sex, winning three golds and a silver.

For the first Olympic Games in which they had competed, no American woman claimed an Olympic title. The breaststroke events saw an innovation with the introduction, by a number of swimmers of the butterfly technique. [Herbert Higgins], [Jochen Balke] and [Maria Lenk] reached finals with this technique though none of them won medals.

Two additional events were held during the Games, unofficial relay events for men and women for teams representing continents. An all-Japanese team represented Asia defeated the USA in the men’s 4x200m freestyle with a composite European team third. A Dutch/German quartet won the women’s 4x100m freestyle for Europe.