By Phillip Whitten
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, November 8. DUTCH Olympic champion Hendrika (Rie) Mastenbroek died Thursday at the age of 84.
Mastenbroek, who won three gold medals and one silver at the 1936 Berlin Games, passed away in a hospital in her hometown of Rotterdam, the Royal Dutch Swimming Association said. She died of heart failure after a long illness and a recent stroke.
At 17, Mastenbroek was the outstanding female swimmer at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where she won gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle (Olympic record 1:05.9), the 400m freestyle (Olympic record 5:26.4) and the 4 x 100m freestyle relay (Olympic record 4:36.0). In the 100m backstroke, she was touched out for a fourth gold medal by teammate Dina Senff, 1:18.9 to 1:19.2.
Mastenbroek's Olympic record in the 100m free lasted for 20 years, when it finally was broken by Australia's Dawn Fraser.
In 1934, at the age of 15, Mastenbroek presaged her Olympic medal haul by also capturing three golds and one silver at the European Championships.
During her career, she set nine world records, six in freestyle and three in backstroke. In 1968 she was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame and in 1997 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded her its highest honor, the Olympic Order.