| Event type

200 metres Breaststroke, Women

Date7 – 9 August 1932
LocationOlympic Park Swimming Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Participants11 from 7 countries

The one Olympic swimming title that did not go to either Japan or the United States fell to sixteen year old Clare Dennis of Australia. Clare’s older sister Thora had been picked for the 1928 Olympic team but was prevented from competing on the grounds that she was too young to travel overseas. Any possibility that the Australian authorities would reach a similar decision about Clare was removed when she set a world record in early 1932. The young Australian still had the cost of the trip to America to worry about but her journey was eventually financed by colleagues of her late father in the Sydney police. One swimmer who did not make the trip to the USA was Lisa Rocke of Germany who, despite having beaten the Aussie’s world record earlier in the summer, was not selected by Germany. Clare Dennis was ill on arrival in California, suffered a toe injury before the heats and then, after cruising into the semi-final, suffered an anxious wait as officials debated whether to disqualify her from wearing an “inappropriate swimsuit”, the debate centring on how much of the shoulders she was allowed to expose. After being cleared of any misdemeanour, she swam in the final and kept a narrow lead throughout the course of the race. At the end she finished .1 of a second ahead of Hideko Maehata, Japan’s first female swimming medallist, to become Olympic champion. Dennis latter married George Golding, who represented Australia in athletics at these same Olympic Games.

1Clare DennisAUS3:08.2 (1 h1)3:06.3 (1)Gold
2Hideko MaehataJPN3:10.7 (1 h3)3:06.4 (2)Silver
3Else JacobsenDEN3:12.1 (1 h2)3:07.1 (3)Bronze
4Margery HintonGBR3:13.5 (2 h3)3:11.7 (4)
5Peg HoffmanUSA3:14.7 (2 h1)3:11.8 (5)
6Anne GovednikUSA3:15.9 (2 h2)3:16.0 (6)
7Jane CadwellUSA3:20.0 (3 h3)3:18.2 (7)
3 h1 r1/2Dorothy PriorCAN3:33.2 (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/2Cecelia WolstenholmeGBR3:24.5 (3 h2)
4 h2 r1/2Janet SheatherCAN3:46.1 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/2Maria LenkBRA3:26.6 (4 h3)
DNSJenny MaakalRSA– (DNS h1)

Round One (7 August 1932 — 9:30)

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

Heat One

12Clare DennisAUS3:08.2QOR
25Peg HoffmanUSA3:14.7Q
34Dorothy PriorCAN3:33.2
DNS3Jenny MaakalRSA

Heat Two

12Else JacobsenDEN3:12.1Q
25Anne GovednikUSA3:15.9Q
34Cecelia WolstenholmeGBR3:24.5
43Janet SheatherCAN3:46.1

Heat Three

13Hideko MaehataJPN3:10.7Q
22Margery HintonGBR3:13.5Q
35Jane CadwellUSA3:20.0q
44Maria LenkBRA3:26.6

Final (9 August 1932 — 16:00)

1Clare DennisAUS3:06.3OR
2Hideko MaehataJPN3:06.4
3Else JacobsenDEN3:07.1
4Margery HintonGBR3:11.7
5Peg HoffmanUSA3:11.8
6Anne GovednikUSA3:16.0
7Jane CadwellUSA3:18.2