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Fact of the Day

Oct 12, 1998

At the 1956 Melbourne Oympics, Australian men and women took first three places in both the men and women's 100 metres freestyle championship.

On November 30th, 1956, Jon Henricks and John Devitt, with Gary Chapman in close attendance, fought it out right down to the line. Devitt took the lead at the turn, but Henricks came back in the last 25 metres to finish a touch ahead in a new Olympic record of 55.7 seconds. Devitt, second in 55.8 seconds, followed closely by Chapman (55.7) were also also under the Olympic mark. The three Americans, Reid Patterson, Dick Hanley and Bill Woolsey, finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.

The next day, December 1st, saw the Australian women emulate the men's feat when the redoubtable Dawn Fraser (19) won the women's 100 metres freestyle after a close fight with team mate, Lorraine Crapp (18). Dawn touched first to set a new world and Olympic record of 1:02 seconds, with Lorraine second in 1:02.3, also under the world record she had previously shared with Dawn. In a close tussle for third place, Faith Leech of Australia (1:05.1) made it an Aussie hat-trick when she barely beat out the American, Jean Ann Rosazza (1:05.2).