Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 8, 1936
Date Finished: August 10, 1936
Female American swimmers were not selected for the 1912 Games but since then had dominated the 100 metres freestyle. US women had won ten of a possible twelve medals and all the gold medallists had been American. [Willy den Ouden] was the silver medallist in Los Angeles whilst still only fourteen and the intervening years had seen her lower the world record on four occasions and by a total of two seconds. The time of 1:04.6 she set early in 1936 would stand until broken at the Melbourne Olympics twenty years later. Although den Ouden did not swim her very best in qualifying, she easily reached the final as [Jeannette Campbell] of Argentina and another young Dutchwoman, [Rie Mastenbroek], were winners of the semi-finals. Den Ouden faltered at the start and lost ground as Campbell and [Gisela Arendt] forged ahead. Rie Mastenbroek swam a patient race and although only fifth at the turn, she swam past tiring rivals and produced a sprint finish that propelled her past her opponents to touch the wall first. Campbell became the first South American woman to win an Olympic medal whilst Arendt, by then the mother of a six year old son, reappeared in Olympic competition in the 1952 Helsinki Games.