A top favourite for the 100 m backstroke title in Helsinki, Geertje Wielema battled it out with Joan Harrison in the final metres. In a desperately close finish, she was beaten by the South African teenager, although the judges needed several minutes before they announced their verdict. Two years earlier, Wielema had first come to prominence when she beat the World Record in the 200 m. She also set new WRs in two imperial backstroke events, as well as twice with the Dutch medley relay team. A 12-time Dutch champion, Wielema’s best year came in 1954. She won the European title in the 100 m back, adding medals in the 100 freestyle (bronze) and 4x100 freestyle (silver). These performances earned her the title of Dutch Athlete of the Year, the first woman to win this award. Being denied Olympic revenge due to a Dutch boycott of the Melbourne Games, Wielema continued swimming on a national level until the late 1950s. She remained involved in the sport as a referee.