Swimming World Presents “Tragedy & Triumph at U.S. Trials… 60 Years Ago”

Swimming World May June 2020 - Tragedy and Triumh at US Trials 60 Years Ago - Jeff Farrell

Tragedy & Triumph at U.S. Trial… 60 Years Ago

By Bruce Wigo

Every U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, since they were first held in 1904, has always seen favorites fail and underdogs rise to the occasion.

The big story of the 1960 Olympic Trials in Detroit, Mich., was Jeff Farrell’s “miracle.” For those who don’t know the story, Farrell, the American record holder in the 100 meter free, won the gold medal in that event at the 1959 Pan American Games. He also was the national champion in the 100 and 200 free for long course as well as short course yards in 1959 and 1960.

He was America’s great hope for taking back the 100 freestyle title from the Australians, who had swept all of the medals at the previous Olympiad in Melbourne (Jon Henricks, John Devitt and Gary Chapman).

But six days before he was to swim in Detroit, Jeff was struck with appendicitis. In those days, an appendectomy was major surgery, and no one expected him to be able to swim at the Trials—but he did! And although there wasn’t any individual 200 freestyle event at the Olympic Games, he courageously qualified for the 4 x 200 relay team.

To complete his triumph over tragedy, Jeff won a swim-off in Rome and anchored both the 400 medley and 800 freestyle relays in the finals to two gold medals in Rome.

Like Jeff Farrell (before his appendectomy), Becky Collins approached the Olympic Trials as a heavy favorite to win the gold medal in the 100 meter butterfly in Rome…and with good reason: she was the 1959 Pan American Games champion in her event, the 100 and 200 meter butterfly national champion in both 1959 and 1960, and she was the world record holder in the latter event.

As the Olympic Trials approached, both Collins and Ramey faced significant challenges. Becky had been featured on the cover of the July 13, 1959 issue of Sports Illustrated as a “15-year old Olympic Hopeful.” This made her something of a national celebrity, and great things were expected of her. She became local chair for the March of Dimes, raising funds for polio victims, and although she was only three years older than 12-year-old Donna de Varona, “Becky Collins was my hero,” Donna recently told me.

At 20 years of age, Ramey was one of the oldest females participating in the U.S. Trials. This was pre-Title IX when there were no collegiate programs for women. Nancy was a junior at the University of Washington, where her club coach, Ray Daughters, also coached the men’s team and allowed her to train somewhat irregularly with them, especially after the men’s NCAA season had ended. Daughters was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame primarily for developing two great stars of the 1930s, Helene Madison and Jack Medica.
At the Trials, Ramey qualified second for the 100 fly finals, and Collins tied for fifth. But it was not their night: Becky finished fifth, with Nancy dropping to eighth!

After realizing their Olympic dreams had ended in disappointment, both drifted off the wall and met on the lane line, where they consoled each other and were able to crack smiles before they swam back to the wall. In speaking with Becky and Nancy’s sister recently, neither woman made any excuse, even though they might have had several. Both were physically slight—5 feet 3 inches and 115 pounds—and the finals were held in a cold, unheated pool.

Then, their coaches, Ray Daughters and John Galvich, were “old school” and had not embraced new training methods such as interval training. At least in Becky’s case, the weather in Indianapolis between the nationals and Trials was so miserable that it limited practices in Indy’s unheated, long course pools. Lastly, for Becky, she might have been affected by the famous SI jinx.

To read more stories of tragedy and triumph from the 1960 U.S. Trials, 
Check out the May/June 2020 issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

Swimming World May June 2020 Issue - Gretchen and Alex Walsh - Cover

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FEATURES

020 TOSSED INTO TURMOIL
by Dan D’Addona
The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a far-reaching impact not only on everyday life, but also on the sport of swimming across the globe.

022 COVID-19 AFTERMATH: UNCERTAIN TIMES
by Dan D’Addona
While the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to sports around the world, the full financial impact of the pandemic will not be known for some time—especially in college sports, which could lead to uncertain and even a fearful future for the sport of swimming.

024 TIMING IS EVERYTHING
by David Rieder
Everyone knows how important timing is—races can be won or lost by hundredths of a second. For swimmers competing at the NAIA and NJCAA Championships, the most important timing was measured in days. Both associations were able to complete their championship meets just before other major sports championships were being canceled due to the threat of coronavirus.

026 SILVER LINING COULD TURN TO GOLD
by Michael Randazzo
The Olympic postponement was hardly perceived as a positive, but it could lead to hope and opportunity for any men’s or women’s water polo team that aspires to Olympic competition—including the United States’ national teams.

028 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH ASHLEY TWICHELL
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

030 IMPACTING LIVES THROUGH COACHING
by David Rieder
Dave Durden, University of California and U.S. national team coach, simply refers to himself as a swim coach. But he’s also a leader, an expert at maximizing performance, removing doubt, instilling confidence and navigating young men through demanding situations.

034 CHASING THE ULTIMATE DREAM… TOGETHER
by David Rieder
Alex and Gretchen Walsh have worked their way up the pecking order of American swimming, and in 2021, the talented sisters from the Nashville Aquatic Club and two-time national champion Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn., will get their shot at their greatest goal: the Olympics!

038 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: T ‘N’ T—A FRIENDLY RIVALRY FOR A DYNAMITE DUO
by John Lohn
During the Olympic campaign of 2000, Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres—complete opposites out of the pool, but with few differences as competitors—were engaged in a friendly, but not-so-easy rivalry—one that brought out the best in both swimmers.

042 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO:MISTY’S MAGICAL MOMENT
by John Lohn
The United States’ Misty Hyman turned in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic swimming history, beating Australia’s Susie O’Neill—the defending Olympic champion, world record holder and the host country’s favorite—in the women’s 200 fly at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

046 ISHOF: A DUKE, A MERMAID, A WAR AND THE FLU
by Bruce Wigo
COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic disease to have brought the world of competitive swimming to a halt, and the 2020 Olympic Games are not the first to be postponed or canceled. This is the story of the years between 1914 and 1918, when the world was suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down by events not so different from what our sport is experiencing today.

048 ISHOF: TRAGEDY & TRIUMPH AT U.S. TRIALS…60 YEARS AGO
by Bruce Wigo
Every U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, since they were first held in 1904, has always seen favorites fail and underdogs rise to the occasion.

COACHING

016 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS: PART II—BACKSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
Synchronized video and hand force data is an essential tool for optimizing technique. A coach can use the force data to pinpoint limitations, refer to the corresponding video images to explain changes and monitor a swimmer’s progress in improving technique.

018 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS:  PART III—BREASTSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
The two previous articles in this series (Part I—Butterfly and Part II—Backstroke) presented information about the value of using hand force analysis to identify specific technique elements that limit performance, and in many cases, substantially. This month’s article includes more general information about force analysis with a breaststroke example.

052 MOTIVATING SWIMMERS TO NEW HEIGHTS
by Michael J. Stott
Memorable are the sporting events where an athlete or team is “on fire.” Swimming World checks in with two high school and two age group coaches for insight into how that happens. Spoiler alert: the common denominator is “buy-in” from athletes who connect with a coach.

056 AEROBIC OVERLOAD: VOLUME REVISITED
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two parts, Swimming World Magazine re-examines the role of volume in  swim training.

058 SPECIAL SETS: CHANGE-OF-PACE FUN
by Michael J. Stott
USA Swimming master coach consultant Bob Steele provides some favorite change-of-pace exercises that are designed to insert spice and fun into in-season training.

060 SPECIAL SETS: STARTING OVER
by Michael J. Stott
Bruce Gemmell, head coach at Nation’s Capital Swim Club (Georgetown Prep site in North Bethesda, Md.) provides some sample sets—and some guidelines—for when it’s time to return to the water for training.

066 Q&A WITH COACH DOUG FONDER
by Michael J. Stott

067 HOW THEY TRAIN OLIVIA BRAY
by Michael J. Stott

069 Q&A WITH COACH RON & DON HEIDARY
by Michael J. Stott

070 HOW THEY TRAIN MADDIE SMITH AND EMILIA BARCK
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

012 DRYSIDE TRAINING: STROKE STRENGTH SERIES—FREESTYLE
by J.R. Rosania

015 DRYSIDE TRAINING: DRYLAND EXERCISES TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T SWIM
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

063 GOLDMINDS: THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN SWIMMING
by Wayne Goldsmith
The greatest power that swimmers can possess is the power of choice. With that one power, all swimmers—regardless of age, experience or level of swimming capability—can accelerate their improvement and realize the full extent of their potential.

072 UP & COMERS: FINN CONLEY
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

010 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

051 DID YOU KNOW? 1920 U.S. WOMEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM

073 GUTTERTALK

074 PARTING SHOT

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