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David Wilkie

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameDavid Andrew•Wilkie
Used nameDavid•Wilkie
Born8 March 1954 in Colombo (SRI)
Measurements182 cm / 76 kg
AffiliationsWarrender Baths Club, Edinburgh (GBR)
NOC Great Britain

Biography

David Wilkie, Britain’s most successful international swimmer since the heyday of Henry Taylor some 70 years earlier, first learned to swim in Sri Lanka, where he was born of Scots parents. He returned to Scotland in 1965 to attend Daniel Stewart’s College in Edinburgh and although he had no serious competitive aspirations he joined Warrender Baths SC, where he was fortunate to meet an understanding coach in Frank Thomas. On a modest training schedule, Wilkie won a bronze medal in the 100 metre breaststroke at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal in the 200 metres at the 1972 Olympics. It was these performances which inspired him to raise his sights. In January 1973 he went to the University of Miami to study marine biology and he then had the time, the facilities and the self-motivation to establish him at the best breastbone swimmer in the world. By the summer of 1973 he had, in part, fulfilled his ambition by winning the 200 metre breaststroke at the World Championships with a new world record. His subsequent record at major championships remains unmatched by any other British swimmer. In 1974 he won the 200 metres breaststroke and the 200 metres individual medley at both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships and his winning time in the individual medley at the latter event was a new world record. These outstanding performances earned him an MBE in the Queens’ Birthday Honors list. At the 1975 World Championships he won both individual breastbone events and took a bronze medal in the medley relay. Wilkie opened the 1976 Olympic season by becoming the first Britain ever to win an American Championship title. In fact, he won three – the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke and the 200 metres individual medley. Then at the Montréal Olympics, his greatest ambition was fulfilled. After finishing second to John Hencken of the USA in the 100 metres breaststroke he gained ample revenge by taking the gold medal in the 200 metres. In an event which was measured in hundredths of second Wilkie finished more than two seconds ahead of Hencken, and in beating the world record by more than three seconds he put up what most experts judged to be the finest performances in the Olympic pool at Montréal in 1976.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR David Wilkie
100 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 8
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
200 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) 12
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 7
1976 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR David Wilkie
100 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 4

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1976 Summer Olympics 24 July 1976 Swimming (Aquatics) 200 metres Breaststroke, Men Round One, Heat Four 2:18.29 1
1976 Summer Olympics 24 July 1976 Swimming (Aquatics) 200 metres Breaststroke, Men Final 2:15.11 WR 1

Special Notes