IWD: Setting the Pace: 5 Women Who Changed the Sport of Swimming
Today, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. As a tribute to the women who have contributed to, grown and defined excellence in the sport, Swimming World will run several features throughout the day which celebrate some of the great women and achievements in swimming history.
While we now watch many females compete at the club, high school, college, and professional levels, women have not always had those opportunities. It is important for us to remember and celebrate the many women who have made swimming what it is today.
Here are five women who changed the sport of swimming:
1. Women’s Swimsuits: Annette Kellerman (1887-1975)
Annette Kellerman, an Australian woman during the early 20th century, made significant gains for women interested in swimming. In 1905, Kellerman became the first woman to attempt the English Channel. Although she failed in her attempts, she became a pioneer for women’s long-distance swimming. Kellerman also entered multiple international swimming races that had previously only involved men.
Additionally, Kellerman was a leading voice in advocating for a one-piece swimsuit, without bloomers or skirts, for women. In fact, in Boston in 1907, she was arrested for “indecency” for wearing a one-piece swimsuit. In a fateful ruling, a judge granted validity to Kellerman’s arguments that one-piece swimsuits…