| Event type

100 metres Freestyle, Women

Date8 – 12 July 1912
LocationSimstadion, Djurgårdsbrunnsviken, Stockholm
Participants27 from 8 countries

Women had never competed internationally in swimming prior to the Stockholm Olympics, so it was difficult to choose favorites. The British ASA title had been won in 1909, 1911, and 1912 by Britain’s Jennie Fletcher. The world record at the beginning of 1912 was held over 110 yards by Daisy Curwen (GBR) with 1:24.6, set in Liverpool on 29 September 1911. In preparation for the Olympics, Curwen herself broke that mark on 10 June 1912, posting 1:20.6 at Birkenhead.

Australia was to be represented by Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie, but not without some effort. Originally the Australian sports authorities did not wish to “waste” money on sending women to the Olympics. Finally, the New South Wales Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Association voted to allow the two to go to the Olympics, providing they paid their own way. A fund was raised which paid Durack’s expenses and Wylie’s family and friends provided her support. Durack’s sister, Mary, served as their chaperone on the long boat trip.

Mina Wylie had been the better of the two swimmers up to a year before the 1912 Olympics, and she had never lost to Durack to that time. But Durack changed to the new crawl stroke, from the Trudgeon, and after that, Wylie never defeated Durack. Prior to the 1912 Olympics, Durack posted world records over 50 yards (27.0), 100 yards (66.0), and 220 yards (2:56.0). In her first round heat at Stockholm, she broke Curwen’s world record for 100 metres with a time of 1:19.8.

The final came down to Durack, Wylie, and Fletcher. Daisy Curwen competed in Stockholm and qualified for the final, but had to withdraw when she was rushed to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. It is unlikely she would have challenged Durack in the final, who won easily in 1:22.2. A few days later, in an exhibition in the Stockholm Swimming Stadium, Durack broke the world record for 300 metres with a time of 4:43.6. She eventually set 11 world records between 1906 and 1921. Although she planned to compete at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, that was derailed when, shortly before the Games, she suffered the same fate as Daisy Curwen, and missed the Olympics recovering from an appendectomy.

1Fanny DurackANZ1:19.8 (1 h4)1:20.2 (1 h1)1:22.2 (1)Gold
2Mina WylieANZ1:26.8 (1 h3)1:27.0 (1 h2)1:25.4 (2)Silver
3Jennie FletcherGBR1:26.2 (2 h2)1:27.2 (2 h2)1:27.0 (3)Bronze
4Grete RosenbergGER1:25.0 (1 h5)1:29.2 (3 h2)1:27.2 (4)
5Annie SpeirsGBR1:25.6 (2 h5)1:27.0 (3 h1)1:27.4 (5)
2 h1 r2/3Daisy CurwenGBR1:23.6 (1 h2)1:26.8 (2 h1)– (DNS)
4 h1 r2/3Isabella MooreGBR1:29.8 (1 h1)1:27.4 (4 h1)
4 h2 r2/3Wally DresselGER1:28.6 (3 h4)1:33.4 (4 h2)
5 h1 r2/3Ada LangfordGBR1:28.0 (2 h3)1:29.2 (5 h1)
6 h1 r2/3Louise OttoGER1:34.4 (2 h1)1:32.0 (6 h1)
AC h2 r2/3Irene SteerGBR1:27.2 (2 h4)[1:29.0] (DQ h2)DQ
3 h1 r1/3Klara MilchAUT1:37.2 (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/3Berta ZahourekAUT1:38.6 (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/3Hermine StindtGER1:29.2 (3 h3)
3 h5 r1/3Vera ThulinSWE1:44.0 (3 h5)
4 h1 r1/3Greta JohanssonSWE1:41.4 (4 h1)
4 h2 r1/3Josefa KellnerAUT1:41.2 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/3Fini StickerAUT1:31.8 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/3Grete AdlerAUT1:34.4 (4 h4)
5 h1 r1/3Tyyne JärviFIN1:42.4 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/3Karin LundgrenSWE1:44.8 (5 h2)
5 h3 r1/3Claire GuttensteinBEL– (5 h3)
5 h4 r1/3Greta CarlssonSWE– (5 h4)
6 h2 r1/3Sonja JohnssonSWE– (6 h2)
6 h3 r1/3Elsa BjörklundSWE– (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/3Regina KariFIN– (6 h4)
AC h1 r1/3Aagot NormanNOR– (DNF h1)DNF

Round One (8 – 9 July 1912)

Top two in each heat and the fastest third-place advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One (8 July 1912 — 19:30)

1Isabella MooreGBR1:29.8QOR
2Louise OttoGER1:34.4Q
3Klara MilchAUT1:37.2
4Greta JohanssonSWE1:41.4
5Tyyne JärviFIN1:42.4
DNFAagot NormanNOR

Heat Two (8 July 1912 — 19:35)

1Daisy CurwenGBR1:23.6QOR
2Jennie FletcherGBR1:26.2Q
3Berta ZahourekAUT1:38.6
4Josefa KellnerAUT1:41.2
5Karin LundgrenSWE1:44.8
6Sonja JohnssonSWE

Heat Three (9 July 1912 — 12:00)

1Mina WylieANZ1:26.8Q
2Ada LangfordGBR1:28.0Q
3Hermine StindtGER1:29.2
4Fini StickerAUT1:31.8
5Claire GuttensteinBEL
6Elsa BjörklundSWE

Heat Four (9 July 1912 — 12:05)

1Fanny DurackANZ1:19.8QWR
2Irene SteerGBR1:27.2Q
3Wally DresselGER1:28.6q
4Grete AdlerAUT1:34.4
5Greta CarlssonSWE
6Regina KariFIN

Heat Five (9 July 1912 — 12:10)

1Grete RosenbergGER1:25.0Q
2Annie SpeirsGBR1:25.6Q
3Vera ThulinSWE1:44.0

Semi-Finals (11 July 1912 — 12:00)

Top two in each heat and the fastest third-place advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Fanny DurackANZ1:20.2Q
2Daisy CurwenGBR1:26.8Q
3Annie SpeirsGBR1:27.0q
4Isabella MooreGBR1:27.4
5Ada LangfordGBR1:29.2
6Louise OttoGER1:32.0

Heat Two

1Mina WylieANZ1:27.0Q
2Jennie FletcherGBR1:27.2Q
3Grete RosenbergGER1:29.2q
4Wally DresselGER1:33.4
DQIrene SteerGBR[1:29.0]

Final (12 July 1912 — 19:00)

1Fanny DurackANZ1:22.2
2Mina WylieANZ1:25.4
3Jennie FletcherGBR1:27.0
4Grete RosenbergGER1:27.2
5Annie SpeirsGBR1:27.4
DNSDaisy CurwenGBR1