| Event type

100 metres Backstroke, Women

Date9 – 11 August 1928
LocationZwemstadion, Amsterdam
Participants12 from 7 countries

The customary strong American presence was countered in this event by a pair of British swimmers and 17 year old Zus Braun, considered as the host nation’s best chance of an Olympic championship in the swimming pool. Braun had been the silver medallist behind her compatriot Willy den Turk at the previous year’s European Championships but had been steadily improving since then. Den Turk fell ill in the run-up to the Olympics and was advised to miss the Games for medical reasons. If Dutch hopes were dampened by the sight of the Scottish swimmer, Ellen King, breaking the world record in the first heat, these worries soon passed when Braun replied by swimming four tenths of a second inside this new time. The final saw Braun, roared on by the home crowd, survive a poor finish to hold off the challenge of King and her fellow Briton, Joyce Cooper, to become the first Dutchwoman to win an individual Olympic event. Braun, whose mother was the coach to the Dutch team, attempted to defend her Olympic title four years later in Los Angeles but an apparent insect bite developed into a serious case of blood poisoning that kept her out of the final. After spending weeks in a Los Angeles hospital, Braun returned home to Rotterdam and gave a press conference where she alleged her illness was not caused by an insect but was the result of a deliberate attempt to injure her. Speculation involved a possible link to illegal betting. Another finalist in 1928 was the fourteen year old Eleanor Holm who began an international career that would veer between brilliance and controversy over the next decade.

1Zus BraunNED1:21.6 (1 h2)1:22.0 (1)Gold
2Ellen KingGBR1:22.0 (1 h1)1:22.2 (2)Silver
3Joyce CooperGBR1:24.2 (2 h3)1:22.8 (3)Bronze
4Marian GilmanUSA1:24.0 (2 h1)1:24.2 (4)
=5Eleanor HolmUSA1:23.6 (1 h3)1:24.4 (=5)
=5Lisa LindstromUSA1:23.0 (2 h2)1:24.4 (=5)
7Ena StockleyNZL1:25.4 (3 h1)1:25.8 (7)
3 h2 r1/2Phyllis HardingGBR1:27.8 (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/2Jeanne GrendelNED1:26.2 (3 h3)
4 h2 r1/2Bonnie MealingAUS– (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/2Else JacobsenDEN1:31.5 (4 h3)
5 h3 r1/2Marie-Jeanne BernardLUX– (5 h3)
DNSWilly den TurkNED– (DNS h1)
DNSAgnete OlsenDEN– (DNS h1)
DNSIdy KohnAUT– (DNS h1)
DNSAnni RehbornGER– (DNS h2)

Round One (9 August 1928)

Top two in each heat and the next fastest advanced to the final.

Heat One

12Ellen KingGBR1:22.0Q=WR
21Marian GilmanUSA1:24.0Q
35Ena StockleyNZL1:25.4q
DNS3Willy den TurkNED
DNS4Agnete OlsenDEN

Heat Two

11Zus BraunNED1:21.6QWR
23Lisa LindstromUSA1:23.0Q
32Phyllis HardingGBR1:27.8
45Bonnie MealingAUS
DNS4Anni RehbornGER

Heat Three

15Eleanor HolmUSA1:23.6Q
22Joyce CooperGBR1:24.2Q
34Jeanne GrendelNED1:26.2
41Else JacobsenDEN1:31.5
53Marie-Jeanne BernardLUX

Final (11 August 1928)

1Zus BraunNED1:22.0
2Ellen KingGBR1:22.2
3Joyce CooperGBR1:22.8
4Marian GilmanUSA1:24.2
=5Eleanor HolmUSA1:24.4
=5Lisa LindstromUSA1:24.4
7Ena StockleyNZL1:25.8