The Book, In Search of Mina Wylie, Examines Life and Career of Early Aussie Female Star

Mina Wylie
Legendary Indiana coach Doc Counsilman presents Australian Mina Wylie with her plaque at the 1975 ISHOF induction ceremony.

The Book, In Search of Mina Wylie, Examines Life and Career of Early Aussie Female Star

Her name might not be as well known as some other female pioneers in the sport, but Mina Wylie had a considerable impact on the sport. The Australian established herself as a legend in the early 20th century, and she was the silver medalist in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1912 Olympic Games. With Women’s History Month now underway, it seemed like a good time to honor Wylie’s career, and link to a book about her achievements and life.

In Search of Mina Wylie, which can be purchased at this link, is written by Grace Barnes and explores the life of Wylie, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis of the book. Also at the link, readers can enjoy an excerpt from the text.

In 1912, against a backdrop of growing feminist and national movements, the Australian public united behind a fundraising campaign to send two female swimmers to Stockholm to compete, for the first time, at an Olympic Games. Coogee resident, Mina Wylie, was one of those women, and after winning silver at the 1912 Olympics, she went on to become one of the greatest swimmers Australia ever produced. Her career coincided with a growing view of beach culture and swimming as essential to a unique Australian way of life, and Mina became a role model for the vigorous and healthy ‘Australian Girl’.

As one of the first female sporting celebrities, she typified the new modern woman as she travelled to Europe and the USA, maintained an independent lifestyle and disregarded societal conventions. In 1975, Mina was selected as an Honoree to the Florida based International Swimming Hall of Fame. When her request to the Federal Government for expenses to attend the induction ceremony was denied, a nationwide fundraising campaign launched Mina back into the spotlight. Sixty years after the Australian public had sent Mina to the Stockholm Olympics, the populace re-embraced the forgotten champion and sent her to Florida to take her place amongst the Greats of international swimming. The book rediscovers Mina Wylie, a woman who twice inspired a nation, sixty years apart. And a woman who was determined not be written out of Australian sporting history.


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