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Fact of the Day

Oct 13, 1998

On October 25th, 1968, Pokey Watson (18), a UCLA freshman, swept home the winner in the women's Olympic 200 metres backstroke final in Mexico City. The previous summer, bored with swimming freestyle, Pokey Watson had suddenly decided to switch to the upside-down stroke.

The first three laps of the pool saw Pokey Watson and Canada's Elaine Tanner, alias "The Mighty Mouse", match each other stroke for stroke. But Watson pulled away steadily over the last 50 metres to win in the Olympic record time of 2:24.8, with Tanner second in 2:27.4. Third was Kaye Hall (2:28.9) of Tacoma, Washington, who had won the backstroke 100 metres title in an unexpected world record time of 1:06.2, two days previously.