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
National team  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
Sport Swimming
Strokes 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-metre and 1500-metre 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-metre freestyle relay team, swimming in the heats. Although the team of John Devitt, John Konrads, David Dickson, and 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, Western Australia, as he was the Australian 880-yard 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 440-yard freestyle behind Rose, and bronze in the 1650-yard freestyle, behind Rose and Windle. Wood won a gold medal in the 4x220-yard 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-metre freestyle, 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-metre freestyle relay. He retired after the Games and became a swimming coach.

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