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Swimming at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Breaststroke

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Swimming Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 26, 1952
Date Finished: July 29, 1952

Gold: HUN Éva Székely
Silver: HUN Éva Gérard-Novák
Bronze: GBR Elenor Gordon-McKay


World record holder [Éva Novák] headed a trio of Hungarians who would contend for Olympic glory. Novák and [Éva Székely] had been third and fourth respectively in London but were favoured to improve their finishing positions in Helsinki. All three Hungarians record times under the existing Olympic record in the preliminaries as did the Scottish swimmer, [Elenor Gordon] but the reigning European champion, [Raymonda Vergauwen] of Belguim, missed a place in the final. The final was a battle of contrasting styles; Székely was a butterfly swimmer whilst Novák favoured the orthodox breaststroke. It was the butterfly technique that won out, as Székely finished well ahead of Novák with a Hungarian sweep of the medals only thwarted by the finishing effort of Elenor Gordon, Gordon spotted her finish better than [Klára Killermann]. In sixth place was the Ukrainian [Mariya Havrysh], the only Soviet swimming finalist of the 1952 Games.

Éva Székely later married triple gold medal winning water polo player [Dezső Gyarmati]. Their daughter [Andrea Gyarmati] herself won a brace of swimming medals at the 1972 Olympics and married [Mihály Hesz], an Olympic canoeing champion.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Éva Székely 25 Hungary HUN Gold OR
2 Éva Gérard-Novák 22 Hungary HUN Silver
3 Elenor Gordon-McKay 19 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4 Klára Killermann-Bartos 23 Hungary HUN
5 Jytte Hansen 19 Denmark DEN
6 Mariya Havrysh 21 Soviet Union URS
7 Ulla-Britt Eklund 17 Sweden SWE
8 Nel Garritsen 19 Netherlands NED
5 h1 r2/3 Lies Bonnier 27 Netherlands NED
5 h2 r2/3 Raymonda Vergauwen 24 Belgium BEL
6 h1 r2/3 Rika Bruins 18 Netherlands NED
6 h2 r2/3 Jean Wrigley 16 Great Britain GBR
7 h1 r2/3 Kazuko Sakamoto 16 Japan JPN
7 h2 r2/3 Ursula Happe 25 Germany GER
8 h1 r2/3 Nancy Lyons 22 Australia AUS
8 h2 r2/3 Kaija Mäkelä 21 Finland FIN
3 h2 r1/3 Valerie Harris 16 Great Britain GBR
4 h1 r1/3 Vera Kostina Soviet Union URS
4 h2 r1/3 Roza Zenziveyeva 21 Soviet Union URS
4 h3 r1/3 Odette Lusien 24 France FRA
5 h1 r1/3 Ilse Albert 23 Austria AUT
5 h2 r1/3 Julia Cornell 19 United States USA
5 h3 r1/3 Eileen Ward Petersen 14 Denmark DEN
5 h4 r1/3 Kirsten Hedegaard Jensen 17 Denmark DEN
5 h5 r1/3 Masayo Aoki 16 Japan JPN
6 h1 r1/3 Gail Peters 23 United States USA
6 h2 r1/3 Irene Kwok 18 Hong Kong HKG
6 h3 r1/3 Arati Saha India IND
6 h4 r1/3 Irene Strong 23 Canada CAN
6 h5 r1/3 Della Sehorn 25 United States USA
7 h1 r1/3 Margrit Knabenhans 17 Switzerland SUI
7 h4 r1/3 Dolly Nazir India IND
7 h5 r1/3 Lilo Kobi 22 Switzerland SUI
AC h2 r1/3 Aleksandra Mróz 17 Poland POL DQ