The present Doodle, illustrated by guest artist Alice Lindstrom, celebrates the 130th birthday of Australian athlete Wilhelmina Wylie, the first Australian woman to win a silver medal in Olympic swimming.
On this day in 1891, Wilhelmina “Mina” Wylie was born in Sydney, Australia, as the second child of Australasian distance-diving champion Henry Wylie. Her swimming accomplishments started significantly sooner than most–Wylie joined her dad and siblings in effectively swimming with her hands and feet bound at just five years of age! She set second in her first customary swim meet prior to turning 10, and kept on preparing thoroughly all through her childhood at Wylie’s Baths, a coastal tidal pool founded in Coogee by her dad in 1907.
The following year, Wylie broke the world record in the 100-yard freestyle event. She put her focus on the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, which was quick to hold a ladies’ swimming event. Yet, Wylie’s points were confounded by an obsolete standard of the New South Wales Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Association that prohibited women from contending with men. Public ruckus resulted until restrictions loosened, permitting Wylie to plunge recklessly into Olympic history as a silver-decoration 100-meter freestyle champion.
When she hung up her competitive swimming cap in 1934, Wylie held 115 state and national titles, supplemented by freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke world records. To pay tribute to her lifetime achievements, the International Swimming Hall of Fame drafted Wylie into its positions in 1975, and today, a model in her similarity moves swimmers at Wylie’s Baths.
Happy birthday, Mina Wylie, and thank you for moving people in the future of swimmers to dive in!