This is the revival of an old series we used to run at The Swimmers’ Circle that on a daily, or nearly-daily, basis will look at a historic moment in history that happened on this day, as well as celebrate a few birthdays.
What better way to restart Today in Swimming History than with the 25 year anniversary of Janet Evans’ very first ever Olympic gold medal.
When I mentioned this to my partner Mel Stewart, who was at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he asked whether it was the 400 or the 800 free. This is probably a question that many people would ask.
Neither, though, would be the answer. The swimmer, famous for her distance exploits, won her first Olympic gold medal in the 400 IM with a time of 4:37.76 on September 19th, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, topping Romania’s Noemi Lung and East Germany’s Daniela Hunger by almost two seconds.
She would go on to add golds in the 40o and 800 freestyles later in the meet, and in total finished her career with five Olympic medals.
- Happy, very special, 35th birthday to Eric “the Eel” Moussambani. Moussambani is the man who famously received a Universality bid to swim the 100 free at the 2000 Olympics, and after the disqualification of his two opponents for false starts, actually won a heat at the Olympic Games. He swam a 1:52.72 – more than twice as slow of a time as was swum by Pieter van den Hoogenband’s 47.84 to take gold. Moussambani, by the time he retired, got his time down under a respectable 57 seconds by the time the 2004 Games came around, though a visa error prevented him from entering them. He is now the national swimming coach of his native Equatorial Guinea.
- Happy 29th birthday to Argentine marathon swimmer Pilar Geijo, the winner of the 2010 and 2011 FINA Grand Prix series.
- Happy 29th birthday to former Canadian Olympian Jenna Gresdal, who was a 6-time All-American at Arizona and swam at the 2000 Olympics at just 15 years old.
- Happy 64th birthday to Ukrainian Tatyana Devyatova, who swam at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, winning a bronze in ’64 in the 400 medley relay.
- Happy 44th birthday to former Arizona State and Florida swimmer Troy Dalbey. He won gold medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics in the 400 and 800 free relays: both of which were World Records. He was infamously ejected from the U.S. Olympic Team after vandalizing a bar in post-gold celebrations in Korea.
- Happy 21st birthday to Providence junior Justin Tse
- Happy 25th birthday to former Cal swimmer Daniel Smith
There’s surely plenty of other swimmer birthdays to celebrate today. Leave them in the comments below, and we’ll celebrate them together.