Google Doodle celebrates the 130th birthday of Australian swimmer Wilhelmina “Mina” Wylie, the first Australian woman to win a silver medal in Olympic swimming, on June 27, 2021.
Who was Mina Wylie?
Wilhelmina “Mina” Wylie was born on June 27, 1891, in Sydney, Australia, as the second child of Australasian distance-diving champion Henry Wylie. She was one of Australia’s first two female Olympic swimming delegates, alongside companion Fanny Durack.
Mina Wylie experienced childhood in South Coogee, Sydney, where her dad Henry Wylie assembled Wylie’s Baths in 1907. The Baths are the oldest surviving communal sea baths in Australia.
At 5 years old Wilhelmina Wylie joined together with her dad and two siblings in an aquatic act, in which she swam with her hands and feet tied. She contended in the first New South Wales women’s championships in 1902, coming next in the under-10 27-yards handicap.
In 1907, Wilhelmina Wylie’s dad built Wylie’s Baths in Coogee, where she trained with her close friend and opponent Fanny Durack. She set a world record of 1 minute 15.8 seconds for the 100-yards freestyle event in 1908.
The next year, Mina Wylie was among the first three women in Australia to be respected with the Royal Life Saving Society’s award of merit (silver medallion). Five ft 4 ins (163 cm) tall, she weighed 8 st. 4 lb. (52.6kg).
Mina Wylie and Fanny Durack convinced authorities to allow them to go to the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, where ladies’ swimming events were being held for the first time. Wylie won the silver medal in the 100-meters freestyle. Durack, who had broken the world record in the heats, won the gold medal.
In 1918, Mina Wylie and Fanny Durack traveled to the United States of America be that as it may, as the visit had not been authorized by the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia, they couldn’t contend. After one year, they were again in the USA yet their amateur status was threatened when they demanded the payment of their manager’s costs. In the wake of contending in a few festivals they got back however the visit was not a triumph.
Regardless of being in the shadow of Fanny Durack for much of her career, Mina Wylie was a champion by her own doing. Somewhere in the range of 1906 and 1934 she won 115 State and national titles and held world records including each Australian and New South Wales championship event in 1911, 1922 and 1924 in freestyle, backstroke and breast-stroke.
In certain years Wilhelmina Wylie was outstanding in each event at the Australian championships and in 1922 won the New South Wales 880-yards title by an extraordinary 110 yards.
From 1928 to 1970, Mina Wylie showed swimming at Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Pymble. In 1975 she was selected for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Never married, Mina Wylie lived the majority of her life in the family home at Coogee. She died on 6 July 1984 at Randwick and was buried in the Church of England section of the local cemetery.
A sculpture of her by Eileen Slarke remains at the Coogee pool and Mina Wylie Crescent, Gordon, Canberra, was named to respect her.