Since 1896 swimming has become an important part of the Olympic Games. Even though the first swimmers had to prove themselves in the cold waters of a Greek bay, they have come a long way since then. Nowadays the swimmers compete in heated pools while their performance is being broadcasted all over the world.
Over that time, swimming has recorded many breathtaking moments that will be remembered by many generations to come.
Alfred Hajos Wins Gold Medal in 1896
When it comes to swimming, the first modern Olympic Games had four events that offered professional swimmers an opportunity to test their skills – the 100, 500, and 1200-meter freestyle, as well as the sailors’ 100 freestyle.
Another important difference is the fact that back in the day the swimmers competed in the chilly waters of the Bay of Zea.
Alfred Hajos from Hungar was the winner of the first 100 meters freestyle event. For the 1200-meter freestyle, the swimmers were taken out in the open sea and they had to swim back to the shore.
The First Women’s Races in 1912
During the games in Athens, only male competitors were allowed to swim. However, everything changed with the Stockholm Olympics in 1912. Anny Durack from Australia was the first woman to win a gold medal for individual swimming.
Only one other event was available for women at the time, and that was the 400-meter freestyle.
The First Tie in 1984
The Los Angeles Olympics ended with two gold medals for women’s 100-meter freestyle. Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer were friends from the US team who touched the wall at exactly the same time 55.92 seconds. 16 years later there was another tie when American Garry Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin finished the 50-meter freestyle at the same time.
Dawn Fraser Wins 3 Consecutive Medals in 1964
The first woman who broke the one minute record in 100 freestyle and set 27 individual world records is remembered as one of Australia’s greatest athletes. Her last record from 1964 was only broke 8 years after her retirement.
But 1964 is not only remembered as the year when this outstanding athlete retired. It was also the year that she won her third consecutive gold medal in 100 freestyle. Dawn Fraser was decorated in 1988 as Australia’s greatest female athlete, and they also named a daffodil, a rose, and an orchid after her.
Dara Torres Wins Medals At Her Fifth Olympics in 1984
The first Olympics for Dara Torres was in 1984 when she was just 17 years old. But her last one was the 2008 Bejing Olympics when she won 3 silver medals for 50-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, and 400 medley relay. Torres also won medals in 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona, and 2000 in Sydney.
She became the oldest swimmer in the U.S. team to win a medal, but also the only American who competed in 5 Olympics during her sports career.