Monday, 30 April 2012


My obituary of Australian swimmer Murray Rose is in today's Indy, you can link to it here. While I was researching it, it occured to me that the Australian swimmers had been eclipsed by the Eastern Europeans, and their special training techniques, but that, helped by a home Olympics, they'd pushed themselves back into the spotlight. It will be interesting to see if the home pool advantage (and attention in training) helps Britain this summer.

You can see why Hollywood might have been interested in Rose--it would be hard to imagine him looking any more Californian, and the precedent with swimmers was already established. Of course, had he examined the careers of Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe more closely, he might have spared himself the trouble!

Rose's movie career was short-lived, but I do remember him as an engaging swimming commentator, back in the days when it was still a big draw on Wide World of Sports.

Although I'm not really old enough to remember Rose's performance in Melbourne, I do recall the college swimming battles between USC, with their Aussie imports, and Yale's Don Schollander and Steve Clark, both recruited from the Santa Clara Swim Club, almost in USC's backyard. Schollander, of course, was the star of the 64 Tokyo games, which the Aussie blazerati stopped Rose from attending. Clark won three relay gold medals there, setting a world record in the opening leg of the 4x100; he couldn't swim in the individual events because he'd swum with a hurt shoulder at the US Olympic trials. Growing up in New Haven, we followed things like Yale swimming.

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