Allan Wood

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For those of a similar name, see Alan Wood (disambiguation).
Allan Wood
Personal information
Full name Allan Frederick Wood
Nationality  Australia
Born (1943-05-16) 16 May 1943 (age 71)
Sydney, New South Wales
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 68 kg (150 lb)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle

Allan Frederick Wood (born 16 May 1943) is an Australian former freestyle swimmer of the 1960s, who won two bronze medals in the 400 m and 1500 m freestyle events at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He spent his entire career in the shadow of fellow Australian distance freestyle swimmers Murray Rose and Bob Windle who won Olympic gold medals.

Coming from Wollongong, Wood made his debut at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, where he was a member of the 4x200 m freestyle relay team, swimming in the heats. Although the team of John Devitt, John Konrads, David Dickson, Rose proceeded to claim bronze in the final, Wood was not awarded a medal, as heat swimmers were not entitled to one until 1984.

Wood had been expected to do well at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, as he was the Australian 880yd freestyle champion. However, a last minute public appeal brought Rose back from the United States, where he was studying and competing in the US collegiate system. Wood was relegated to silver in the 440yd freestyle behind Rose and bronze in the 1650yd freestyle, behind Rose and Windle. Wood won a gold medal in the 4x220yd freestyle relay, alongside Windle, Rose and Anthony Strahan, setting a world record in the process.

Prior to the Tokyo Olympics, Wood's coach, Don Talbot, strove to change Wood's technique, slowing down the stroke rate, but increasing the deepness of the strokes. This paid dividends at the Olympics when Wood, who had never swum faster than 4 m 20 in the 400 m freestyle, dropped his personal best to 4 m 15.1s, to claim bronze behind the United States' Don Schollander and East Germany's Frank Wiegand. In the 1500 m Wood posted a time of 17 m 07.7s, a 20s drop in his personal best, in a race won by Windle in Olympic record time. Among the swimmers which Wood defeated was Roy Saari, the world record holder in the event. Wood narrowly missed a third medal when he, Windle, Dickson and Peter Doak finished fourth in the 4x200 m freestyle relay. He retired after the Games and became a swimming coach.