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Swimming at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Date Started: November 29, 1956
Date Finished: December 7, 1956
Events: 13

Participants: 235 (136 men and 99 women) from 33 countries
Youngest Participant: ITA Elena Zennaro (14 years, 64 days)
Oldest Participant: HUN István Szivós, Sr. (36 years, 103 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 4 athletes with 3 medals
Most Medals (Country): AUS Australia (14 medals)


Swimming was contested in 1956 at the Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium in Melbourne. The venue was an indoor facility built specifically for the 1956 Olympics. It remained a swim stadium until 1983 when the pool was covered and it has since been a basketball arena, but also used for entertainment and concert events, and is now called (as of 2014) the WestPac Stadium.

The swimming program was changed for the first time since the 1924 Olympics. Men competed in seven events, with the addition of the 200 metre butterfly, while women competed in six events, adding the 100 butterfly.

Australia led both medal lists, winning 8 golds and 14 medals, followed by the United States, who won 11 medals, but only two golds. Australia’s men led with 5 golds and 8 medals, followed by Japan and the USA, with 5 medals, and one gold each. The Australian women won 6 medals, as did the US women, but Australia won 3 female golds to 1 each for Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.

Australia’s [Murray Rose] was the swimming star of the Games, with three gold medals. On the distaff side, [Dawn Fraser] and [Lorraine Crapp] both won two gold medals and three medals. American [George Breen] won three medals, with a silver and two bronzes.