Who’s Who Of Australian Swimming Championships: A Century Of Celebration

REFLECTIONS OF A GREAT CAREER: Dual Olympic Gold Medallist Susie O'Neill, the winner of 54 Australian Open Swimming Championships - 35 of them individual. Photo Courtesy TLA Worldwide.

WHO is Australia’s youngest and oldest gold medallists at an Australian Open Swimming Championships and who has amassed the most gold medals…and how many sets of siblings have won Australian titles and who has won the most in a distinguished line up in the family ties?

Renown Australian author, journalist and researcher David Clark has spent years compiling all the answers….and today he shares them with Swimming World readers.

Clark has substantial experience in major events television coverage, specialising in Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Swimming Championships

He has written and contributed to over a dozen books including the Great Aussie Sports Quiz Book, Australia Through Time, Australian Sport Through Time, One-Day International Cricket Lists, Test Rugby Lists and Big Things: Australia’s Amazing Roadside Attractions.

But this week he has put a call out to all Australian swimming fans to celebrate the Australian Swimming Championships which were due to be held in Perth this month.

David is sharing facts, figures dynasties and family connections about the event’s history since 1896 as he puts the finishing touches to his next project on Australian swimming and its extraordinary history and culture that has shaped the sport world wide.

It’s also a shout-out to the many past and present Australian Dolphins and the broader swimming community to celebrate so many great champions and performances.

David has kindly allowed Swimming World to share some of his findings and great recollections from his most recent labour of love…..so enjoy this trip down memory lanes…with these fascinating facts that have emerged from over 100 years of Australian Swimming Championship history…….

Susie O'Neill Courtesy Darrin Braybrook (Swimming Australia)

ON THE FLY: Susie O’Neill has won 54 Australian titles, 35 individual. Photo Courtesy: Darrin Braybrook (Sport The Library/Swimming Australia)

THE MOST AUSTRALIAN TITLES: Australia’s own “Madam Butterfly” Susie O’Neill won 54 Australian titles (35 individual, 19 relays) between 1989 and 2000, the most by any swimmer. Frank Beaurepaire’s 33 titles (1908-24), all in individual events, remains the most among the men.

PIECES OF EIGHT: The 8 titles won by Paul Moorfoot (’81) and Mitch Larkin (’19) are the most by any swimmer at one championships. Most by a female is 7: Shane Gould (’73), Susie O’Neill (’97).

 SEVEN UP: The 7 titles won by Percy Oliver (1940) and Shane Gould (1973) are the most individual titles at one Championships


CAN HACKETT: When it comes to the 1500m freestyle, Grant Hackett tops the pops. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

OCEANS 11: The 11 wins by Grant Hackett (1500m freestyle), Leisel Jones (100m breaststroke) and Emily Seebohm (100m backstroke) are the most by any swimmer in a single event.

DYNAMIC DUO; Nicole Livingstone (100m backstroke) and Susie O’Neill (100m butterfly) both won a record 10 consecutive titles in the same event.

LANES OF GOULD: Shane Gould is the only swimmer to win three individual titles on one day (11 February 1973: 200m free, 1500m free, 200m individual medley)


BEST ALL-ROUNDER: Graham Windeatt schoolboy (left) and dual Olympian. Photo Courtesy: Swimming NSW.

ALL-ROUNDER: Graham Windeatt won titles in 10 different events (7 individual, 3 relay), the most of any swimmer. (Editor’s note: In 1971 at North Sydney Olympic Pool, Windeatt set a new WR for the 800m freestyle at the Combined High Schools carnival.

PINE GAP: Adam Pine’s 13-year gap between men’s 100m butterfly titles in 1993 (a tie with William Kirby) and 2006 is the longest drought between individual titles

FRANK’S WIN-SPAN: Frank Beaurepaire’s 33 titles came over a 16-year span (1908-24) despite not competing for 10 years when first he was banned and then the championships were cancelled due to World War I. Aged 32 years, 384 days when he won his last title in 1924, he remains the second oldest swimmer to win an individual  title.

Fanny Durack, Mina Wylie and Jennie Fletcher

HISTORY MAKERS: First female Olympic swimming podium, Stockholm 1912 in the 100m freestyle. Gold, Fanny Durack (AUS) left, silver Mina Wylie (AUS) centre and bronze to Jennie Fletcher (GBR).  Photo Courtesy: Swimming NSW.

MAJOR WINS FOR MINA: Mina Wylie won her 33 titles (18 individual, 15 relay) across 15 consecutive years – the last in 1923 when she was 31 – and remains the oldest woman to win an Australian title. Wylie taught swimming at PLC Pymble for almost 40 years and died in 1984, aged 93. (Editor’s note: Coogee’s famous Wylie’s Baths is named after her father).

YOUNGEST AUSTRALIAN CHAMPION. Jenni Burke, who was 12 years, 46 days when she was part of Queensland’s 4x200m freestyle winning team in Brisbane in 1984.

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YOUNGEST EVER: Dimity Douglas just 12 when she won her first Australian title. Photo Courtesy:Swimming NSW. She had represented Australia at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

YOUNGEST INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION was Dimity Douglas who was 12 years, 233 days when she won the women’s 100m breaststroke in Hobart in 1983.

YOUNGEST MALE WINNER was Jim Findlay, who was 14 years, 246 days when he won the 200m individual medley in 1969 in Perth. The following day he won the 400m individual medley.


OLDEST AUSTRALIAN CHAMPION was Grant Hackett when he was part of Miami’s 4x200m freestyle in 2015 in Sydney, aged 34 years, 330 days

OLDEST INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION was Jim Johnson, who was 34 years, 205 days when he won the men’s 220 yards breaststroke in Melbourne in 1946. Johnson was the only swimmer to win Australian titles before and after World War II.

OLDEST FEMALE CHAMPION was Mina Wylie, who was 31 when she won her last four titles in Sydney in 1923. WA’s Holly Barratt, who turns 33 on January 1, 2021, can break that record if she wins another Australian title.


BROTHERS IN ARMS: Sydney boys Neil and Greg Rogers and Neil (in action), swam together in Munich ’72 after Greg debuted in Mexico in ’68. Photo Courtesy: Swimming NSW.

16 SETS OF BROTHERS have won Australian titles, the most successful being Greg and Neil Rogers who won a combined 35, including three as part of the same relay.

 NINE SETS OF SISTERS have won Australian titles. Cate and Bronte Campbell are the most successful with 16 between them. On 12 of those 16 occasions, they have finished 1-2.

FAMILY TIES at AUSTRALIAN TITLES have also been won by six sets of brothers and sisters, four sets of father-sons, four sets of mother-daughters and seven sets of father-daughters. There has never been an instance of both mother and son winning Australian titles but keep an eye on rising star Kai Taylor who is the son of Hayley Lewis. (Kai (who is training under Dean Boxall at SPW) was a standout at last year’s Queensland State Titles.

  • Follow David Clark on Twitter @djpclark or @AllSportResea1.

More instalments to follow.

Hayley 1990 Auckland

GOLDEN GIRLS: Hayley Lewis (centre) with Julie McDonald and Janelle Elford at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. Photo Courtesy: Gold Coast Bulletin.

Kai Taylor 1

HAYLEY’S LITTLE COMET: Kai Taylor following in Mum Hayley’s footsteps. Photo Courtesy: Phoenix Wilson (Hot Shotz).










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4 years ago

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4 years ago

Work from your house for two to six hrs every day, and start getting averaging 1000-3000 bucks at the end of every week. Read more information here>… ic­ash68.c­­o­­­­M

4 years ago

Love Swimmin’ History!!

Dimity Douglas
Dimity Douglas
4 years ago

Regarding the youngest individual champion, I was 12 yrs and 56 days (not 12 yrs and 233 days) when I won the 1982 open national 100m breaststroke championship, in Brisbane, which put me onto the 1982 Commonwealth Games team, creating history to become the youngest ever to compete for Australia at any Games.

Dimity Douglas
Dimity Douglas
4 years ago

Edit for my last comment: the championships were held at Warringah Aquatic Centre in Sydney

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