RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, April 19. YESTERDAY, Brazilian Swimming Federation President Coaracy Nunes Filho announced that the Brazilian Long Course Spring Championships will be named after Maria Lenk as a memorial to the Brazilian trailblazer.
The meet will take place May 1-6 this year in Rio de Janeiro.
After suffering an aneurism during swim practice, Lenk sustained a fatal heart attack while being prepped for surgery at Copa D'Or Hospital on April 16.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee declared three days of mourning for the woman who did more to advance sports opportunities for Latin American women than any other person.
In 1932, Lenk became South America's first female Olympian. Competing in Los Angeles, she made the semifinals of the 200 breast while also swimming the 100 free and 100 back.
In the 1936 Olympics, she again advanced to the semifinals of the 200 breaststroke in Berlin, before setting world records in the 200 and 400 breaststroke events in 1940. Unfortunately, the Games that year, scheduled for Tokyo, Japan, were canceled due to World War II.
In 1988, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.