On November 8th, 1939, Brazil’s Maria Lenk cemented herself as a local legend when she becamse the first Brazilian to break a World Record. She swam a 2:56.0 in the 200 breaststroke in a Rio de Janiero meet, which cleared the old mark owned by Jopie Waalberg at 2:56.9.
Lenk’s record would stand for only a year-and-a-half before Germany’s Anni Kapell broke it in March of 1941. Lenk’s swimming career was ended before proper international recognition after the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II.
Lenk’s accomplishments in swimming would be later memorialized by the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, which is the focal point of Brazilian swimming.
November 8th Birthdays
- Eric Ress, 1990 – two-time NCAA silver medalist, in the 100 and 200 backstroke, and 2010 French National Champion in the 200 back.
- Austin Clapp, 1910 – 1928 Olympic gold medalist American swimmer in the 800 free relay; former swimmer at Stanford. Clapp is one of the few athletes to win Olympic medals in multiple sports – he also earned a bronze in water polo in 1932.
- Tim Shaw, 1957 – Olympic silver medalist in Montreal in 1967 in the 400 free. Like Clapp, he also earned Olympic silver in water polo in 1984.
- Chris Fydler, 1972 – Member of Australia’s gold-medal winning 400 free relay in 2000, along with Michael Klim, Ian Thorpe, and Ashley Callus.