| Event type

100 metres Freestyle, Women

Date29 November – 1 December 1956
LocationOlympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants35 from 16 countries

For 20 years the time set in early 1936 by the Dutch swimmer Willy den Ouden remained unchallenged as the world record. Once broken by 18-year-old Australian Dawn Fraser in February 1956 it was broken over and over again in the next eight months by a trio of teenagers. Cocki van Engelsdorp Gastelaars held the record for the Northern hemisphere summer, Fraser regained it before the youngest of three, 17-year-old Lorraine Crapp, set a new mark at the Australian selection trials. The stage was set for the three women to produce an epic race in Melbourne but it would not fully take place as Gastelaars was a victim of the Dutch boycott of the 1956 Games. In the absence of the Dutchwoman the event turned into a bonanza for the host nation of Australia.

As expected, Fraser and Crapp contested the gold medal with the pair forcing each other to go faster than they’d ever gone before in pursuit of the title. Both swam inside the existing world record but it was Fraser who was crowned Olympic champion. Faith Leech, at only 15 years of age, completed an Australian sweep of the medals, which matched what happened in the men’s equivalent race 24 hours earlier. This was the first of a sequence of 3 successive championships in the event for Fraser and the first of her eight Olympic medals.

1Dawn FraserAUS1:02.4 (1 h5)1:03.0 (1 h1)1:02.0 (1)Gold
2Lorraine CrappAUS1:03.4 (1 h1)1:03.1 (1 h2)1:02.3 (2)Silver
3Faith LeechAUS1:04.9 (1 h4)1:05.2 (2 h1)1:05.1 (3)Bronze
4Joan RosazzaUSA1:05.5 (2 h1)1:05.9 (3 h1)1:05.2 (4)
5Virginia GrantCAN1:05.1 (3 h5)1:05.5 (3 h2)1:05.4 (5)
6Shelley MannUSA1:05.4 (4 h5)1:05.5 (4 h2)1:05.6 (6)
7Marrion RoeNZL1:05.9 (1 h3)1:05.3 (2 h2)1:05.6 (7)
8Natalie MyburghRSA1:05.1 (2 h5)1:06.0 (4 h1)1:05.8 (8)
=9Kate JobsonSWE1:07.3 (3 h4)1:06.1 (6 h2)
=9Nancy SimonsUSA1:06.5 (1 h2)1:06.1 (5 h2)
11Valéria GyengeHUN1:06.6 (2 h3)1:06.4 (5 h1)
12Susan RobertsRSA1:07.9 (4 h4)1:06.6 (7 h2)
13Jeanette MyburghRSA1:07.1 (4 h1)1:06.7 (8 h2)
=14Helen StewartCAN1:07.1 (3 h1)1:06.9 (7 h1)
=14Zsuzsa ÖrdögHUN1:06.5 (2 h4)1:06.9 (6 h1)
16Birgit KlompGER1:07.7 (3 h3)1:07.9 (8 h1)
17Katalin SzőkeHUN1:08.0 (2 h2)
18Christel SteffinGER1:08.1 (5 h4)
19Kati JansenGER1:08.3 (3 h2)
=20Frances HogbenGBR1:08.5 (5 h5)
=20Anita HellströmSWE1:08.5 (5 h1)
22Odile VouauxFRA1:08.6 (4 h2)
=23Héda FrostFRA1:08.8 (4 h3)
=23Fearne EwartGBR1:08.8 (5 h2)
=23Hitomi JinnoJPN1:08.8 (6 h4)
26Irène SweydBEL1:08.9 (6 h1)
27Gladys PriestleyCAN1:09.2 (7 h4)
28Blanca BarrónMEX1:09.5 (5 h3)
29Ginette SendralFRA1:09.9 (6 h5)
=30Shoshana RivnerISR1:10.3 (7 h5)
=30Yoshiko SatoJPN1:10.3 (6 h3)
32Winifred GriffinNZL1:10.4 (7 h1)
33Setsuko ShimadaJPN1:11.8 (6 h2)
34Margaret NorthropKEN1:12.8 (8 h1)
35Gertrudes LozadaPHI1:13.7 (7 h3)
DNSAnita AnderssonSWE– (DNS h2)

Round One (29 November 1956 — 19:30)

Fastest 16 advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

14Lorraine CrappAUS1:03.4QOR
25Joan RosazzaUSA1:05.5Q
36Helen StewartCAN1:07.1Q
47Jeanette MyburghRSA1:07.1Q
58Anita HellströmSWE1:08.5
61Irène SweydBEL1:08.9
73Winifred GriffinNZL1:10.4
82Margaret NorthropKEN1:12.8

Heat Two

14Nancy SimonsUSA1:06.5Q
26Katalin SzőkeHUN1:08.0
33Kati JansenGER1:08.3
42Odile VouauxFRA1:08.6
55Fearne EwartGBR1:08.8
61Setsuko ShimadaJPN1:11.8
DNS7Anita AnderssonSWE

Heat Three

16Marrion RoeNZL1:05.9Q
24Valéria GyengeHUN1:06.6Q
35Birgit KlompGER1:07.7Q
43Héda FrostFRA1:08.8
57Blanca BarrónMEX1:09.5
61Yoshiko SatoJPN1:10.3
72Gertrudes LozadaPHI1:13.7

Heat Four

14Faith LeechAUS1:04.9Q
25Zsuzsa ÖrdögHUN1:06.5Q
33Kate JobsonSWE1:07.3Q
47Susan RobertsRSA1:07.9Q
56Christel SteffinGER1:08.1
62Hitomi JinnoJPN1:08.8
71Gladys PriestleyCAN1:09.2

Heat Five

16Dawn FraserAUS1:02.4QOR
25Natalie MyburghRSA1:05.1Q
33Virginia GrantCAN1:05.1Q
44Shelley MannUSA1:05.4Q
57Frances HogbenGBR1:08.5
62Ginette SendralFRA1:09.9
71Shoshana RivnerISR1:10.3

Semi-Finals (30 November 1956 — 19:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Dawn FraserAUS1:03.0Q
25Faith LeechAUS1:05.2Q
36Joan RosazzaUSA1:05.9Q
43Natalie MyburghRSA1:06.0Q
57Valéria GyengeHUN1:06.4
62Zsuzsa ÖrdögHUN1:06.9
71Helen StewartCAN1:06.9
88Birgit KlompGER1:07.9

Heat Two

14Lorraine CrappAUS1:03.1Q
26Marrion RoeNZL1:05.3Q
35Virginia GrantCAN1:05.5Q
43Shelley MannUSA1:05.5Q
52Nancy SimonsUSA1:06.1
61Kate JobsonSWE1:06.1
78Susan RobertsRSA1:06.6
87Jeanette MyburghRSA1:06.7

Final (1 December 1956 — 20:35)

14Dawn FraserAUS1:02.0WR
25Lorraine CrappAUS1:02.3
33Faith LeechAUS1:05.1
41Joan RosazzaUSA1:05.2
52Virginia GrantCAN1:05.4
67Shelley MannUSA1:05.6
76Marrion RoeNZL1:05.6
88Natalie MyburghRSA1:05.8