Mina Wylie’s 130th Birthday : Google paid tribute to Mina Wylie with a Doodle

Google paid tribute to Mina Wylie with a Doodle:

Mina Wylie’s 130th birthday

Today’s 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.


Mina Wylie's 130th birthday

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 achievements began much earlier than most–Wylie joined her father and brothers in successfully swimming with her hands and feet tied at only five years old! She placed second in her first conventional swim meet before turning 10, and continued to train rigorously throughout her youth at Wylie’s Baths, a coastal tidal pool founded in Coogee by her father in 1907.

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The next year, Wylie broke the world record in the 100-yard freestyle event. She set her sights on the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, which was the first to hold a women’s swimming event. But Wylie’s aims were complicated by an outdated rule of the New South Wales Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Association that prohibited women from competing with men. Public uproar ensued until restrictions loosened, allowing Wylie to dive headfirst into Olympic history as a silver-medal 100-meter freestyle champion.

By the time she hung up her competitive swimming cap in 1934, Wylie held 115 state and national titles, complemented by freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke world records. In honor of her lifetime achievements, the International Swimming Hall of Fame inducted Wylie into its ranks in 1975, and today, a sculpture in her likeness inspires swimmers at Wylie’s Baths.

Happy birthday, Mina Wylie, and thank you for inspiring future generations of swimmers to take the plunge!

Early life

Wylie grew up in South Coogee, Sydney, where her father Henry Wylie built Wylie’s Baths in 1907. The Baths are the oldest surviving communal sea baths in Australia

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After competing against each other in the Australian and New South Wales Swimming Championships in the 1910/11 swimming season, Wylie and Durack persuaded officials to let them attend the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden where women’s swimming events were being held for the first time. Durack won a gold medal and Wylie a silver medal. Twenty-seven women contested the 100 metre event, including six from Great Britain and four from Germany. Swimsuits generally reached down to the mid-thigh although some were sleeveless. The pool was built in an inlet of Stockholm Harbour and competitors swam without lane ropes. Durack’s time in the 100 m final was 1:22.2, and Wylie’s was 1:25.4.

Wylie competed in New South Wales and Australian championships from 1906 to 1934, winning 115 titles, including every Australian and New South Wales championship event in 1911, 1922 and 1924 in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975

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