Swimming World Presents – Did You Know: About Buster Crabbe? By ISHOF Historian Bruce Wigo

Swimming World June 2021 - Did You Know - About Buster Crabbe
Johhny Weissmuller, Duke Kahanamoku & Buster Crabbe (photo, bottom right) at the opening of International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965.

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Did You Know: About Buster Crabbe?

By Bruce Wigo
Photos by International Swimming Hall of Fame

 

Larry “Buster” Crabbe had won a bronze medal in the 1500 meters at Amsterdam in 1928. At the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, he was the only American man to win a swimming gold medal—in the 400 free.

His success at the Games—and his rugged good looks—led him to be picked as one of 40 Olympic athletes invited to Paramount Pictures for screen tests. When Paramount signed him to a contract, he dropped out of law school at the University of Southern California and went on to star in more than 170 films on screen and television.

He starred in popular Hollywood serials such as “Flash Gordon,” “Buck Rogers” and “Billy the Kid.” He challenged Johnny Weissmuller by starring as “Tarzan” in two films, and on television, he was “Captain Gallant of the French Foreign Legion.” He also was the male lead in the Billy Rose Aquacade and later produced his own Aquacade water shows that performed all over the world.

At the peak of his fame in the early 1950s, Buster Crabbe Comics appeared. “Unlike most actors,” read the promotional materials, “Buster Crabbe is actually every bit the he-man he portrays in his movie roles! His superb physique and extraordinary strength was acquired by living the part, not by acting it!”

The stories were a mix of real life and the characters he played in the movies. In one, for example, he was in Rio de Janeiro, representing the United States at a swimming meet when “he meets tougher competition than he bargained for and finds that the race is ‘The Swim for Life.’”

To read more about Buster Crabbe and swimming history from the ISHOF archives,
Click here to download the full June 2021 Issue of Swimming World Magazine


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

 

Swimming World June 2021 - Nathan Adrian - A Natural Leader - COVER
[PHOTO CREDIT: TAYLOR BRIEN]


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Swimming World June 2021 Issue

FEATURES

12 | U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS PREVIEW
by David Rieder
The fastest swimmers in the United States will be putting their hopes and dreams on the line at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Swimming, June 13-20, in Omaha, Neb. If realized, they’ll have the opportunity to perform next month on the world’s grandest stage: the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

22 | A NATURAL LEADER
by John Lohn
Still producing elite-level performances, Nathan Adrian, now 32 and pursuing his fourth Olympic Games, has the opportunity to further his already lofty reputation. And whenever his days in the sport come to an end, Adrian will be viewed for his excellence in the sport as an athlete, teammate and ambassador.

25 | NJCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: QUALITY & QUANTITY
by Andy Ross
That’s the same winning formula that Indian River’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been using for nearly a half-century at the NJCAA Championships. The Pioneer men now have won 47 straight team titles; the women, 39—and 43 of the past 47.

26 | TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: A FORGOTTEN STAR
by John Lohn
By all measures, Don Schollander is a legend in the sport, a Hall of Fame talent who was unrivaled in his heyday. Yet, his impact has been lost to a combination of unfortunate timing and modern-day fascination.

29 | DOMINANCE AND PARITY ON DISPLAY IN TOKYO
by Dan D’Addona
While the U.S. women have dominated international water polo since 2015—winning their second straight Olympics in 2016 plus three World Championships in 2015-17-19—a different men’s champion has emerged at each of the last three major international competitions—Serbia (2016 Olympics), Croatia (2017 Worlds) and Italy (2019 Worlds).

30 | ISHOF: REMEMBERING THE KALILI BROTHERS—90 YEARS AGO
by Bruce Wigo
As kids who preferred to dive for coins rather than race in a swimming pool, brothers Maiola and Manuella Kalili from Hawaii would eventually become national champions and Olympic silver medalists in 1932.

33 | NUTRITION: HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I EAT?
by Dawn Weatherwax
As long course, Olympics and endurance events get underway, a common question is: “How much do I need to eat?” This is a loaded question—one in which the author will try to simplify.

35 | MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH AMY BILQUIST
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

38 | SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 2)—STROKE CYCLE PHASES
by Rod Havriluk
Swimmers typically decrease non-propulsive time to decrease stroke time, increase stroke rate and swim faster. Research shows that a further decrease in the non-propulsive time is possible and should produce further performance improvement.

40 | A COACHES’ GUIDE TO ENERGY SYSTEMS
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two parts, Swimming World explores the concept of energy systems and how coaches can use them to maximize athlete development and performance.

42 | SPECIAL SETS: KATIE LEDECKY—RUN-UP TO RIO 2016
by Michael J. Stott
With this month’s Olympic Swimming Trials now upon us, Swimming World takes a back-to-the-future approach to revisit some training done by superstar Katie Ledecky prior to the 2016 U.S. team qualifying meet.

44 | Q&A WITH COACH CATHERINE KASE
by Michael J. Stott

45 | HOW THEY TRAIN HALEY ANDERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037 | DRYSIDE TRAINING: TRAINING AMY BILQUIST
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

47 | UP & COMERS: KEELAN COTTER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

08 | A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

11 | DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT BUSTER CRABBE?

48 | GUTTERTALK

49 | PARTING SHOT

 

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