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Mark Kerry

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 2
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMark Anthony•Kerry
Used nameMark•Kerry
Born4 August 1959 in Temora, New South Wales (AUS)
Measurements182 cm / 81 kg
NOC Australia


Mark Kerry was born into a sporting family. His mother was a swimming teacher who ran her own aquatics school. Growing up in the seaside city of Wollongong and coached by his mother, Kerry found initial success as a competitive swimmer and lifesaving surfer as a teenager. In lifesaving, Kerry won the Cadet Malibu event at the 1974 Australian Championships, and in 1975 he came second in the surf race at the Australian Open Surfing Championships. As a swimmer, Kerry often trained with 1972 Olympic 400 freestyle champion Brad Cooper, who lived in Wollongong at that time. Kerry débuted at the Australian championships in 1976, surprisingly winning Australian titles in 200 m freestyle, 200 m backstroke, 4x200 m freestyle relay, and the medley relay, thus earning himself a spot on the Australian 1976 Olympic team. At the Olympics, the 16-year-old reached the finals of both the 100 and 200 backstroke, finishing in seventh and fifth place, respectively, and also was a member of the Australian medley relay that finished sixth. In 1977, Kerry successfully defended his 200 back title at the Australian championships and also won 4x100 m freestyle relay, 4x200 m freestyle relay, and medley relay titles.

In January 1978, Kerry moved to the United States to attend Indiana University, studying theatre, drama and telecommunications. Based on the times recorded at Indiana, Kerry was named to the 1978 Australian Commonwealth Games team. However, Kerry and two of his teammates Mark Tonelli and Joe Dixon were expelled from the team due to breaking curfew on American Independence Day while at a training camp in Honolulu, Hawai’i. According to Tonelli, Kerry was out with a girl he had met, while Tonelli and Dixon had been drinking and smoking marijuana, which was not illegal in Hawai’i at the time. In 1979 Kerry transferred to the University of Southern California and competed at the 1979 Universiade, winning gold in the 100 m backstroke.

In 1980, Kerry won both backstroke events and 4x100 freestyle and medley relay titles at the Australian championships to qualify for the Australian 1980 Olympic team. At the Olympics, Kerry was a member of the victorious Australian medley relay team and two days later won bronze in the 200 back. Kerry retired from swimming after the Olympics, but made a comeback in 1982, hoping to qualify for the 1982 Australian Commonwealth Games team. Although he was not chosen, Kerry decided to train until 1984 Olympics. Although he did not win an event at the 1984 Australian championships, Kerry was chosen to compete at his third Olympics in 1984, where he finished fifth in the 100 back and a day later won bronze as a member of the Australian medley relay.

After his third Olympics, Kerry retired from competitive swimming for good and settled to in Los Angeles, working as a model. In the early 1990s, Kerry returned to Australia and with his brother Phil founded a recruitment company, Dunhill Management, which grew to become one of the largest in Australia. The brothers sold their company to the British firm Robert Walters in 2001 and after that Kerry worked as a managing director in a specialist recruitment company in Australia. In 2008, the brothers joined their forces again to establish another recruitment company called K2 Recruitment. Kerry’s son Tannes became a professional basketball player and his daughter Madison was an actress, appearing on the Australian soap opera “Home and Away.”

Personal Bests: 200 m freestyle – 1:54.86 (1976); 100 m backstroke – 57.12 (1984); 200 m backstroke – 2:03.14 (1980).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) AUS Mark Kerry
200 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 16
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia DNS
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 7
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 5
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 6
1980 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) AUS Mark Kerry
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 7
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 9
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 1 Gold
1984 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) AUS Mark Kerry
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia DNS
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 5
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 3 Bronze

Special Notes