| Event type

100 metres Butterfly, Women

Date3 – 5 December 1956
LocationOlympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants12 from 8 countries

The butterfly stroke had débuted at the Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin as a new variant of breaststroke and by the Helsinki Games had proved to be so superior as to render the original technique worthless. The decision was then made to tighten the breaststroke rules and split butterfly into a new discipline.

The withdrawal of the Dutch team robbed the games of two of the outstanding swimmers in the event. Mary Kok was a previous world record holder whilst the most recent of Atie Voorbij’s five records was set just 10 days before the Games began – a week after the announcement of the Dutch boycott in protest against the Soviet invasion of Hungary Without the Dutch challenge the race became a procession for the Americans. Shelley Mann proved unbeatable and was followed home by teammates Nancy Ramey and Mary Sears for a US clean sweep. After a wait of 32 years between medal sweeps in women’s swimming events, this was the 2nd in 4 days.

1Shelley MannUSA1:11.2 (1 h1)1:11.0 (1)Gold
2Nancy RameyUSA1:13.4 (2 h1)1:11.9 (2)Silver
3Mary SearsUSA1:15.1 (2 h2)1:14.4 (3)Bronze
4Mária LittomeritzkyHUN1:15.2 (3 h2)1:14.9 (4)
5Beverly BainbridgeAUS1:14.4 (1 h2)1:15.2 (5)
6Jutta LangenauGER1:17.4 (5 h2)1:17.4 (6)
7Beth WhittallCAN1:16.9 (4 h2)1:17.9 (7)
8Sara BarberCAN1:16.2 (3 h1)1:18.4 (8)
=9Marta SkupilováTCH1:17.7 (4 h1)
=9Anne MortonGBR1:17.7 (6 h2)
11Maureen GilesAUS1:19.4 (5 h1)
12Odette LusienFRA1:19.8 (7 h2)
DNSGertrudes LozadaPHI– (DNS h1)
DNSMoira AbernethyRSA– (DNS h1)

Round One (3 December 1956 — 19:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Shelley MannUSA1:11.2QOR
25Nancy RameyUSA1:13.4Q
36Sara BarberCAN1:16.2Q
41Marta SkupilováTCH1:17.7
52Maureen GilesAUS1:19.4
DNS7Gertrudes LozadaPHI
DNS3Moira AbernethyRSA

Heat Two

11Beverly BainbridgeAUS1:14.4Q
23Mary SearsUSA1:15.1Q
36Mária LittomeritzkyHUN1:15.2Q
42Beth WhittallCAN1:16.9Q
55Jutta LangenauGER1:17.4Q
64Anne MortonGBR1:17.7
77Odette LusienFRA1:19.8

Final (5 December 1956 — 21:15)

14Shelley MannUSA1:11.0OR
25Nancy RameyUSA1:11.9
36Mary SearsUSA1:14.4
42Mária LittomeritzkyHUN1:14.9
53Beverly BainbridgeAUS1:15.2
68Jutta LangenauGER1:17.4
71Beth WhittallCAN1:17.9
87Sara BarberCAN1:18.4