Erich Rademacher

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFritz Albert Erich•Rademacher
Used nameErich•Rademacher
Born9 June 1901 in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt (GER)
Died2 April 1979 in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg (GER)
AffiliationsSC Hellas Magdeburg, Magdeburg (GER)
NOC Germany


Erich Rademacher won a gold medal with the German water polo team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, while in Los Angeles the team came in second and won the silver medal behind Hungary. He also claimed a silver in the 200 breaststroke in Amsterdam. Rademacher took silver and bronze at European Championships in 1931 in Paris and 1926 in Budapest, respectively. Representing SC Hellas Magdeburg, he was European Champion in the 200 m breaststroke in 1926-27. He won multiple German titles as follows: 1918 in the 100 backstroke; 1919-1921 and 1923-1927 in the 100 breaststroke; 1928 in the 200 breaststroke; 1924-1928 in the 4×100 free relay, and 1924-1926, 1928-1931 and 1933 in water polo as well as others in less common disciplines. He set world records in 1920, 1921, 1923, 1925 and 1926 in the 400 metre breaststroke, in 1922 and 1927 in the 200 m breaststroke, in 1924 in the 200 yards breaststroke, and in 1925 in the 100 and 500 metre breaststrokes. By 1925 Rademacher was the owner of all breaststroke world records from 100 to 500 metres. He set 15 national records in Germany and appeared in 42 international water polo matches.

Rademacher toured the USA in 1926 and a year later made a swimming tour of Japan. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1972 and in 2008 into the Hall of Fame of German Sport. He also lent his name to a street and an indoor swimming pool in Magdeburg. Ete was the elder brother of Joachim Rademacher and was the world’s best breaststroke swimmer of the 1920s, but had the misfortune that Germany was not admitted to the Games in 1920 and 1924. His respective best times were far below those of the individual winners at these Olympics. He belonged in the 1920s to the “Golden Sextet” of world elite swimmers alongside Arne Borg (SWE), Johnny Weissmuller, Gertrude Ederle, Duke Kahanamoku (USA) and Andrew Charlton from Australia.

During World War II Rademacher fought in Russia and remained in captivity until 1947. He suffered a face injury and did not like to be photographed afterwards. He worked as an insurance clerk in Braunschweig and later in Stuttgart. His son Ulrich won 11 German Championships between 1954-58 in swimming and set 37 German Records during this time. His second son Peter played for the German water polo team.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GER Erich Rademacher
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Water Polo (Aquatics) GER Erich Rademacher
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Germany 1 Gold
1932 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) GER Erich Rademacher
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Germany 2 Silver

Olympic family relations

Special Notes