Swimming at the 1920 Summer Olympics

The swimming events were held in a hastily constructed pool in the middle of Antwerp. The water was noted to be very dark and very cold. In addition, the weather throughout the Games was cool and damp and the swimmers scrambled to warm up after every race.

The men were led by a star from Stockholm, Duke Kahanamoku, the famous Hawaiian swimmer who made his international début at the 1912 Olympics, and a star from Paris, Norman Ross, who had won five of six individual gold medals at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games in Paris. Duke won two gold medals and Ross three, leaving only the backstroke and breaststroke events for others to win. Ethelda Bleibtrey led the women by winning gold medals in all three of the freestyle events on the program for women at Antwerp.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
100 metres Freestyle, Men Olympic 22 August – 1 September 1920 31 15
400 metres Freestyle, Men Olympic 26 – 28 August 1920 22 11
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men Olympic 22 – 25 August 1920 24 13
4 x 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men Olympic 25 August – 1 September 1920 29 7
100 metres Backstroke, Men Olympic 22 – 23 August 1920 12 6
200 metres Breaststroke, Men Olympic 26 – 29 August 1920 24 11
400 metres Breaststroke, Men Olympic 22 – 25 August 1920 20 10
100 metres Freestyle, Women Olympic 23 – 25 August 1920 19 9
300 metres Freestyle, Women Olympic 26 – 28 August 1920 16 7
4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women Olympic 29 August 1920 12 3
116 (92/24) 19 (17/9)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres Freestyle, Men Duke KahanamokuUSA Pua Kele KealohaUSA Bill HarrisUSA
400 metres Freestyle, Men Norman RossUSA Ludy LangerUSA George VernotCAN
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men Norman RossUSA George VernotCAN Frank BeaurepaireAUS
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men United StatesUSA AustraliaAUS Great BritainGBR
100 metres Backstroke, Men Warren KealohaUSA Ray KegerisUSA Gérard BlitzBEL
200 metres Breaststroke, Men Håkan MalmrotSWE Thor HenningSWE Arvo AaltonenFIN
400 metres Breaststroke, Men Håkan MalmrotSWE Thor HenningSWE Arvo AaltonenFIN
100 metres Freestyle, Women Ethelda BleibtreyUSA Irene GuestUSA Frances SchrothUSA
300 metres Freestyle, Women Ethelda BleibtreyUSA Margaret WoodbridgeUSA Frances SchrothUSA
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women United StatesUSA Great BritainGBR SwedenSWE

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 8 5 3 16
Sweden SWE 2 2 1 5
Australia AUS 0 1 1 2
Canada CAN 0 1 1 2
Great Britain GBR 0 1 1 2
Finland FIN 0 0 2 2
Belgium BEL 0 0 1 1