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Fact of the Day

May 25, 1999

John Marshall (1931-1957), was the first of the great Australian post-war swimmers. Although Marshall never won an Olympic gold medal, his performances in the early 1950's were to set the stage for Australia's second great revival in world swimming.

During his great career, John broke 171 records, including 29 world records. At one time, he held every world record from 200 to 1500. For good measure, while swimming for Yale University under the famed Bob Kiphuth, John cracked no fewer than 38 United States records between 1950 and 1951.

At the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, despite a very hard preparation, he was unable to reproduce his phenomenal form. In the 1500, his favourite event, John finished last. And, he didn't make it into the 400 final. His time was 23 seconds outside his best time for the distance.

John was killed in 1957 in a car crash at the age of 26. He was mourned and missed by fans the world over, not only for his brilliant achievements, but also for his fine sportsmanship and cheerful manner, even in the face of adversity.