Girls Olympic Swim Team 1912
1912 Stockholm Olympics. Mina Wylie (on the left) competed for Australia on the girls Olympic swim team. 115 titles, she won every single Australian and New South Wales championship event in 1911, 1922 and 1924 in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
“After competing against each other in the Australian and New South Wales Swimming Championships in the 1910/11 swimming season, Wylie and Durack persuaded officials to let them attend the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden where women’s swimming events were being held for the first time. Durack won a gold medal and Wylie a silver medal. Twenty-seven women contested the 100 meter event including six from Great Britain and four from Germany. Swimsuits generally reached down to the mid-thigh although some were sleeveless. The pool was built in an inlet of Stockholm Harbor and competitors swam without lane ropes”
Girls Olympic Swim Team
Mina (Wilhelmina) Wylie was born in 1891 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
and won a total of 1 silver medal.
with times of 1:26.8 in round one, 1:27.0 in the semi-finals and 1:25.4 in the finals.
Harry Wylie could swim 120 yards underwater and he kept his daughter Mina holding her breath almost as long while he decided whether to let her go to the Olympics at age 14. He decided by going with her to the Stockholm 1912 Games where Mina finished second to her Australian teammate Fanny Durack in the 100 meters freestyle.
Before and after those Olympics, 20 years in a row Mina Wylie won at least one Australian National Championship. Three times she won every women’s event at the Australian Championships setting world records in trudgeon freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. In 1910 at Rushcutlers Bay Baths, Mina Wylie set a world record, 1 min. 15 and 4/5 seconds, for the 100 yard freestyle. It beat by 1 1/2 seconds the record of English Hall of Famer Jenny Fletcher who had held the record five years.
Mina Wylie beat Fletcher again at the Stockholm Games but the English Women’s Team won the relay “team race” when the Australians had only 2 girls at the Games. “We wanted to swim twice,” says the crusty Australian, “but they wouldn’t let us do it.”
In 1911, 1922 and 1924, Mina won everything in Australia which included the 100 yard breaststroke, 50 yard backstroke, and the 100, 220, 440 and 880 yards freestyle events. Mina, at age 5, became part of her family’s aquatic act with her father and brothers. Little Mina’s part of the act was to swim with her hands and feet tied. “My father kept me out of trouble by tying me up a little earlier each time we performed,” Miss Wylie laughs. Now in her late 70s, Mina Wylie lives with one of her brothers in their old family home in the “dress circle’ of Coogee-Neptune Street. Her view of more than 40 years overlooks Coogee Bay and “Sunset Strip”, formerly “Wylie Baths”, a family business her father built in 1909 just in time to train his swimming daughter the first of her 20 years as a State and National Champion. -ISHOF
Congratulation to the Girls Olympic Swim Teams of the past, today and the future. May your destiny lead you where you want to go. And today we remember the Hero’s of the past so that they will not be forgotten. Here’s to you Mina Wylie , and today’s Australian Girls Swim Team.