Swimming World August 2021 Presents – Donna De Varona and the Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Swimming

Swimming World August 2021 - Donna De Varona and the Past, Present, and Future of Women's Swimming
Donna De Varona presenting Olympic qualification medals to Katie Grimes and Katie Ledecky [PHOTO BY MIKE LEWIS/OLAVISTA PHOTOGRAPHY/USA SWIMMING]

The latest issue of Swimming World Magazine
is now available for download in the Swimming World Vault!

Non-Subscribers Can Download This Issue Here

 

The Swimming World August 2021 Issue Presents

Donna De Varona and the Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Swimming

By Bruce Wigo

As usual, the USA Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha provided stories of triumph and tragedy that will forever be preserved for future generations in the International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum. But there was one moment that linked the past with the present and future of swimming like no other. It came when Donna de Varona presented Olympic qualification medals to Katie Grimes, the youngest member of the 2021 Olympic swimming team, and three-time Olympian Katie Ledecky.

When Donna de Varona was 13 years old, she had been the youngest member of the 1960 Olympic team. After the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, she was regarded by many as the Greatest of All Time of women’s swimming because of her versatility. But it is what Donna has done after her competitive career ended that has helped make it possible for the two Katies to achieve their Olympic dreams in 2021.

Within the current ISHOF building, there is a small exhibit that includes a magazine cover photo that omnisciently predicted that Don Schollander and Donna de Varona would be the stars of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games months before the Games were held. In the new ISHOF, this little-remembered Saturday Evening Post cover will have a much more prominent position—for if every picture tells a story, this one has had more impact on the history of women’s and Olympic swimming than any other—with the possible exception of a photo of Annette Kellerman wearing a one-piece bathing suit in 1907!

In this photo, the two California teenagers could be mistaken for fraternal twins. They both swam for the Santa Clara Swim Club and trained under the legendary George Haines. They both attended Santa Clara High School, where Haines was also the coach of the boys’ team, but where there was no team for the girls. While Schollander continued his legendary swimming career after the Games at Yale, there were no scholarships or NCAA swimming programs at the time for Donna to pursue. So like most young female swimmers of her era, she retired with an unbelievable résumé for a girl of 17.

She had won 37 individual national championship medals and three AAU national high-point awards. She had set American or world records or recorded the world’s fastest times in three of the four individual strokes (backstroke, butterfly and freestyle) and had broken the world record in her specialty, the 400 meter IM, six times—the first coming in 1960 when the IM was not an event on the Olympic program.

She was the world’s best all-round swimmer of her day. “Her day” was a five-year period that extended from the Rome Olympics, when she qualified as a member of the 4×100 free relay as a 13-year-old, until her retirement after the Tokyo Games, where she won two gold medals—when there were only six individual events for women.

Her biggest award year was 1964 when she was voted America’s Outstanding Woman Athlete, Outstanding American Female Swimmer and San Francisco’s Outstanding Woman of the Year…and she also received the Mademoiselle Award, National Academy of Sports Award and many others in many languages. During her reign, she was arguably the most photographed woman athlete in the world, appearing on the covers of Life, The Saturday Evening Post, twice on Sports Illustrated and on dozens of swimming publications.

GREATEST OF ALL TIME
The internet is loaded with forums and sites debating the question of who is the GOAT—or Greatest of All Time—in every realm of human endeavor from athletes to zoologists. And every field has historians, journalists and social influencers who have established criteria, statistics and, more recently, artificial intelligence algorithms to back up their selection.

In the realm of competitive swimming, where times and length of dominance are the established determiners, Michael Phelps is unquestionably the GOAT of men’s competitive swimming, while the GOAT of the women, depending upon her performances in Tokyo, is arguably Katie Ledecky.

But what if other factors were considered? For example, what if amateur rules had not cut short the careers of Johnny Weissmuller, Eleanor Holm, Adolph Kiefer, Donna de Varona and Mark Spitz? Or, what if we used a criteria established by the ancient Greeks, who saw the role of athletic participation as a means and not an end in itself?

To read more about Donna De Varona and her imprint on swimming history,
Click here to download the full issue of Swimming World August 2021 now!

 

Bruce Wigo, historian and consultant at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, served as president/CEO of ISHOF from 2005-17.

 

Swimming World August 2021 - Torri Huske - Female High School Swimmer of the Year - COVER[PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK]

 


Get Swimming World Magazine and Swimming World Biweekly FREE When You

Become A Member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame

New! 30 Day Membership to ISHOF AND Digital Swimming World Subscription for just $10 a month!

Want more? Get a 1 Year ISHOF Family Membership With Swimming World Print AND Digital Subscription Order Now!

Non-Subscribers can click here to download this issue for only $5.94

 

SWIMMING WORLD AUGUST 2021 FEATURES

012 | READY FOR A NEW CHALLENGE
by David Rieder
Torri Huske finished her high school career by setting national high school records in the 100 yard fly and 200 IM and by being named Swimming World’s Female High School Swimmer of the Year for the second time (2019, 2021). The 18-year-old senior from Yorktown High School (Arlington, Va.) will be moving on to Stanford in the fall, but first, she set an American record in the 100 meter fly at U.S. Trials that earned her a trip to Tokyo to compete in her first Olympics.

014 | TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
by Dan D’Addona
Everything appears to be OK for Norman North (Okla.) High School senior Aiden Hayes. He set two national high school records (100 fly and 50 free) this past season. He competed and gained experience at the U.S. Olympic Trials as the fastest 18-year-old in the country in butterfly. And he was named Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year.

016 | CREAM OF THE CROP
by David Rieder and Andy Ross
There were some mighty fast swimmers who finished the 2020-21 high school season right behind Swimming World’s Female and Male High School Swimmers of the Year, Torri Huske and Aiden Hayes. Of the four runners-up, two of them are underclassmen and will be returning for more fast swimming in 2021-22.

018 | TOP HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITS
by Chandler Brandes
Swimming World takes a look at the swimmers it considers to be the 10 best high school recruits—both male and female—from the Class of 2021 and where they’ll be attending college in the fall.

021 | NUTRITION: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE THE “BIG RACE”
by Dawn Weatherwax
To reach your swimming goals, it is important to know what to eat—at what times and in what amounts. It is different for everyone, but very important to master.

022 | ISHOF: THE U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS—DONNA DeVARONA AND THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF WOMEN’S SWIMMING
by Bruce Wigo
At the recent U.S. Olympic Trials, there was one moment that linked the past with the present and future of swimming like no other. It came when Donna de Varona presented Olympic qualification medals to Katie Grimes, the youngest member of the 2021 Olympic swimming team, and three-time Olympian Katie Ledecky.

025 | ONE OF THE GREATEST SPRINTERS OF ALL TIME
by John Lohn
The 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney are widely remembered for the home-nation success of Australia, which was spearheaded by teenage sensation Ian Thorpe. But the Games Down Under also served as a redemptive locale for the Netherlands’ Inge de Bruijn, who used the stage to define herself as one of the sport’s legends.

028 | MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH KATE DOUGLASS
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

030 | SPECIAL SETS: TRAINING KAYLA WILSON
by Michael J. Stott
Coach Richard Hunter of TIDE Swimming in Virginia Beach, Va. discusses goals and workouts for one of his top swimmers, Kayla Wilson, a rising senior at Norfolk Academy who recently committed to Stanford for fall 2022.

034 | SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 4)—MINIMIZING THE ARM ENTRY PHASE TIME IN BACKSTROKE AND BREASTSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
To minimize the arm entry phase time in backstroke, a swimmer must quickly move the hand downward directly behind and below the shoulder. Minimizing the arm entry phase (glide phase) in breaststroke requires precise control of the timing between the finish of the kick and the beginning of the pull. A decrease in the non-propulsive entry phase decreases the time for a stroke cycle, increases stroke rate and increases swimming velocity.

038 | SPECIAL SETS: ENERGY SYSTEM TRAINING
by Michael J. Stott
George Heidinger, former USA Swimming National Team High Performance Consultant and owner of Pikes Peak Athletics (Colo.), specializes in long-term athlete development. As such, he is well-schooled in the science of energy systems and shares some sample sets he has given to rising high school senior Quintin McCarty and his PPA senior teammates.

040 | A COACHES’ GUIDE TO ENERGY SYSTEMS (Part 3): WHILE THEY’RE YOUNG
by Michael J. Stott
In Part 3 of our series on energy systems, two age group coaches—one from Clovis, Calif. and one from Richmond, Va.—share how they inform and guide their younger athletes through energy system training.

043 | Q&A WITH COACH NICHOLAS ASKEW
by Michael J. Stott

044 | HOW THEY TRAIN: MILES SIMON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

033 | DRYSIDE TRAINING: GOLD MEDAL WORKOUT
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

036 | GOLDMINDS: 10 GREAT REASONS TO GET BACK IN THE POOL
by Wayne Goldsmith

47 | UP & COMERS: BRIAN HAMILTON
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 | A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

011 | DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT ETHELDA BLEIBTREY?

046 | HASTY HIGH POINTERS

048 | GUTTERTALK

049 | PARTING SHOT

 

 

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.