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Thread: Olympic Swimming History Question

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    Olympic Swimming History Question

    My friend just announced that her grandfather swam in the Olympics, when the swimming competion was done in the Hudson River. She is 40.

    What does she mean by this? I don't think any Olympics were in NY, but could they have trained there? Or is she fibbing?

    Just curious...SmartSwimmeroftheDay award to the person who knows!

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    sǝssɐןb ɹǝʇʇǝq ʇǝb That Guy's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    The winter Olympics have been in Lake Placid twice... and as everyone knows, the polar bear swim has been part of every winter Olympics since 1783...

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by swimsb View Post
    Or is she fibbing?
    Sounds like at the very least she doesn't have her facts straight.

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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Summer Olympics:

    1896, Athens
    1900, Paris
    1904, St. Louis
    1908, London
    1912, Stockholm
    1916, Berlin, Germany cancelled due to World War I
    1920, Antwerp, Belgium
    1924, Paris, France
    1928, Amsterdam
    1932, Los Angeles
    1936, Berlin
    1940, Tokyo, Japan → Helsinki, Finland cancelled due to World War II
    1944, London cancelled due to World War II
    1948, London
    1952, Helsinki
    1956, Melbourne
    1960, Rome
    1964, Tokyo
    1968, Mexico City
    1972, Munich

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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Could she (or her grandfather) have been referring to the Olympic Trials? I believe they've been held in New York at least once (1964?).

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Boy, you've come to the right place for this type of inquiry. If your friend is 40 her grandfather is probably pretty old, at least 80 probably,or roughly 25 years younger than our resident hisortian, geochuck. That would most likely put him in the LA, Amsterdam, London, Berlin era. Seems fishy to me. Maybe there was something in the Hudson but doesn't seem probable it was the Olympics or the Trials. He could have been in the Olympics and they did some sort of publicity thing in the Hudson, you never know.

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    Very Active Member Leonard Jansen's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Obviously, if you get his full name, it would be easy to find out if he ever was on the OG.

    That aside, keep in mind that grandparents sometimes tell kids things in jest that the kids take seriously. My maternal grandfather used to tell me that my grandmother used to hunt buffalo with Buffalo Bill. Keep in mind that she never lived more than 15 miles from NYC. I told some of my friends this and a minor kid-urban-legend flourished in Morris Plains, NJ for awhile in the 1960's.

    -LBJ
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    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    There is a major issue of people not really knowing the difference between the Olympic Games and any other athletic competition. Just because your apartment building advertises an "olympic" sized pool does not make it so. I swam in the senior olympics back when they were still called that. Does that make me an olympian? No, and I do not present myself as one.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Out of curiosity, I had to look this up. I grew up on the banks of the Hudson after we relocated from California. The water back in the 1960's and 70's was badly polluted with PCB's, so swimming was always off limits. But it appears that back in the earlier part of last century, they did in fact hold swimming competitions.

    August 19, 1928, Sunday
    Hudson River Swim Captured By Nolan
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...83D85F4C8285F9

    July 14, 1912, Sunday
    Brooklyn Boy Wins Hudson River Swim
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...619C946396D6CF

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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    Out of curiosity, I had to look this up. I grew up on the banks of the Hudson after we relocated from California. The water back in the 1960's and 70's was badly polluted with PCB's, so swimming was always off limits. But it appears that back in the earlier part of last century, they did in fact hold swimming competitions.

    August 19, 1928, Sunday
    Hudson River Swim Captured By Nolan
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...83D85F4C8285F9

    July 14, 1912, Sunday
    Brooklyn Boy Wins Hudson River Swim
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...619C946396D6CF
    Umm -- they hold competitions in the Hudson now. There was one yesterday (the Lady Liberty Swim) and of course the Manhattan Island Marathon (not that I've ever been in any).

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Haven't been to the city in a very long while. But yes they have many OW events there.
    I'm not sure I'd want to venture into it. No matter how clean they say it is these days.

    Here's a trivia question...where did the name for the "Red Tide" Masters Swim Team come from?

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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    Haven't been to the city in a very long while. But yes they have many OW events there.
    I'm not sure I'd want to venture into it. No matter how clean they say it is these days.

    Here's a trivia question...where did the name for the "Red Tide" Masters Swim Team come from?
    Ohhh, I know! I know! But it's a secret. Actually, Foster de Jesus, the coach who started the team around 1983, told me that it's a play on naming teams after predatory fish (sharks, barracuda) -- since red tides (the algae overgrowth) were in the news at the time, he thought it would be cool to name it after "predatory" algae. There are some other versions around, though.

    By the way, I don't do the Hudson swims either, but mostly because they're all longer than 100 meters. I'm told by people who have done them that the water's really OK.
    Last edited by nyswimmer; May 25th, 2008 at 01:08 PM.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Thanks. Red tide is kind of ominous looking. I figured the name had something to do with the rivers.
    And speaking of ominous, so is their swim club (The Red Tide), there must be a couple of hundred or more.


    Not sure if it turns this red in the Hudson River, but swimming in murky water doesn't hold too much appeal.
    Thank goodness for pools.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:L...d-Tide.780.jpg

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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Thanks to those who responded so far.

    Maybe since he is from NY, he trained there and did some Hudson River competitions. But from my research, and your input, it is clear that in the history of the Olympic swimming events, all were held in POOLS, right?

    If she brings it up again, I'll ask what year he was on the Olympic team. I don't have his full name for verification purposes . The conversation occured because she was bragging about her 4yo daughter who is such an "amazing swimmer" that it "must be in the genes" because her grandfather was in the Olympics blah blah.

  15. #15
    Bill Volckening
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by swimsb View Post
    ...in the history of the Olympic swimming events, all were held in POOLS, right?
    Depends on how you define the word pool.

    ...some notes from the Five Fast Facts column in the May/June SWIMMER:

    At the 1900 Olympics in Paris, events took place in the Seine and ran with the current.

    At the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, swimming took place in waters held within a man-made structure originally created as a network of boating lagoons for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

    The 1908 London Olympics featured a 100-meter pool inside a huge stadium used for other sports such as rugby and track and field.

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    Very Active Member Leonard Jansen's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    Haven't been to the city in a very long while. But yes they have many OW events there.
    I'm not sure I'd want to venture into it. No matter how clean they say it is these days.
    I've done some of these and I must say that I was surprised at how clean the water was. I'd much rather swim in the Hudson or East River than in the Chesapeake Bay. Now, the Harlem River is a slightly different story...

    -LBJ
    "Excitable boy" they all said.

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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    I did a considerable amount of research on NYC swimming history when putting together a bid to operate a pool in Queens. In the early 1900's many swimmers did train in the Hudson and other bodies of water in the area, though not exclusively they also swam in pools--namely Olympians Charlie Daniels, David Bratton, and David Hesser.

    One of the more vexing items that I've seen re-printed many times is the stat that Gertrude Ederle broke 7 World Records in one afternoon in 1922 at Brighton Beach in one 500 meter swim. I have never found any back up to this and having been out there many times with my swimmers we are confounded on just what she did--swim buoy to buoy? It certainly isn't pier to pier that's a half mile. And what 7 records were broken during the same swim? 100, 200, 220, 400? Which leads to the assumption that they counted record swims in the open water (actually ocean).

    This may be something for Geochuck and Frank Thompson to decipher.
    Last edited by patrick; May 28th, 2008 at 09:15 PM.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    George may crossed paths with her...in the Channel.
    http://www.answers.com/topic/gertrude-ederle

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    I have come accross lots of stuff on her, there may be some items in an old book that I have at home. I have seen her named in this book. Her name is mentioned in Wind Waves and Sunburn also but it is not complete. I will check with Patty Thompson my coach's daughter also. Jimmy Thompson had books and articles about everyone and she has these books. He had records on Corky Kellam the first guy o swim the Mississippi and no one even knows about Corky.

    If you search out Easter Williams there may be something their as well.

    Sorry I am not at home and have no access to a bunch of stuff that I have.

    There may also be some stuff on the Solo Swim site.

    I did meet her at the Canadian National Exhibition they had her and Earnest Verkotter there.
    Last edited by geochuck; May 28th, 2008 at 08:30 PM.
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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: Olympic Swimming History Question

    Quote Originally Posted by patrick View Post
    One of the more vexing items that I've seen re-printed many times is the stat that Gertrude Ederle broke 7 World Records in one afternoon in 1922 at Brighton Beach in one 500 meter swim. I have never found any back up to this and having been out there many times with my swimmers we are confounded on just what she did--swim buoy to buoy? It certainly isn't pier to pier that's a half mile. And what 4 records were broken during the same swim? 100, 200, 220, 400? Which leads to the assumption that they counted record swims in the open water (actually ocean).
    Write to the ISHOF and ask them. www.ishof.org

    They've got an extensive library of old newspaper clippings and other swimming-related publications.

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