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Phyllis Harding

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full namePhyllis May•Harding (-Turner)
Used namePhyllis•Harding
Born15 December 1907 in Wandsworth, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died16 November 1992 in Rugby, Warwickshire, England (GBR)
Measurements163 cm
AffiliationsCroydon Ladies Swimming Club, Croydon (GBR)
NOC Great Britain

Biography

Phyllis Harding set the Southern Counties breaststroke record in 1921 when aged 13, and in 1924 knocked four seconds off the British backstroke record. The following year she obtained her first national podium finish when she finished third in the ASA backstroke at the age of 17. She won a silver in 1931 before eventually winning the title in 1935, and retained it the following year.

The year prior to her first ASA medal, Harding appeared in the 1924 Paris Olympics and won the silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke, only a few months after taking up the stroke seriously. She went on to compete in four Olympics, and reached the backstroke final again in 1932 and 1936, with a fourth place finish at Los Angeles being the nearest she came to a second medal.

Harding won a European Championship backstroke bronze medal at Bologna in 1927, and another at Paris in 1931, when she also won a silver medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Harding’s only major international triumphs were at the British Empire Games when she won gold in the 4x100 yards freestyle relay in 1930 and individual backstroke gold in 1934. She also won the backstroke bronze in 1930 and silver in the 3x110 yards medley relay in 1934.

In 1932, and both times at the Guinea Gap Baths, Seacombe, near Wallasey, she set world records in the 100 and 200 metres backstroke of 1:18.6 and 2:50.4 respectively. The 100 record was also a European record that stood for more than two years. Harding retired after the 1936 Olympics and announced that she would be from then on, known as Mrs. Turner. She had married Coventry solicitor James Turner in 1934 but continued swimming under her maiden name. Harding was inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1924 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Phyllis Harding
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1928 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Phyllis Harding
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 3 h2 r1/2
1932 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Phyllis Harding
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 4
1936 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Phyllis Harding
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 7

Special Notes