David Wilkie (swimmer)

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David Wilkie
Personal information
Full name David Andrew Wilkie
Nationality British
Born (1954-03-08) 8 March 1954 (age 60)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 76 kilograms (168 lb)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Medley and breaststroke

David Andrew Wilkie MBE (born 8 March 1954) is a Scottish former swimmer, who was Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion in the 1970s. He is the only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time[1] and was the first British swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal since Anita Lonsborough in 1960.[2] He is a member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, the International Swimming Hall of Fame, has been described as Scotland's greatest swimmer[3][4] and Britain's finest swimmer.[5]

Early days[edit]

David Wilkie's parents came from Aberdeen in Scotland but were stationed in Sri Lanka when Wilkie was born in Colombo on 8 March 1954.[6][7] His family regularly patronised the open air Colombo Swimming Club where Wilkie learned to swim.[8][6]

At 11 years old his parents sent him back to Scotland as a boarding school pupil at Daniel Stewart's College in Edinburgh,[9] and, while a student there, he joined the Warrender Baths Club, one of Scotland's most successful swimming clubs.[6][10] It was there that he began to train intensively and develop his specialist stroke, the breaststroke under one of Britain's leading coaches Frank Thomas,[11][12] whom Wilkie credited with giving him the motivation to become a world class swimmer.[6] In 1969, Wilkie was chosen to join the elite Scottish Training Squad organised by the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association.[11]

National and International Success[edit]

In 1969 Wilkie swam representing Britain for the first time in an international swimming contest swimming against the Russian 200 metre breast stroke world record holder Nikolai Pankin.[6]

Wilkie broke the British record for the 200 metres breastroke in an international match against Denmark in July 1970.[11] He then won a bronze medal in front of his home crowd in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in the 200 metre breaststroke breaking his own British record again.[11][13] He wore a swim cap for that event during the commonwealth games, making him the first elite swimmer to wear one in a major competition.[4][12]

In 1970 the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association awarded Wilkie the Nancy Riach Memorial Medal Award (awarded to the person who has the done the most to enhance or uphold the prestige of Scottish Swimming during the year) and the W.G. Todd Cup and Prize (Junior Swimmer of the Year). This was the first time in the Association’s history that both awards had gone to the same person in the same year. Wilkie continued to hold the Nancy Riach award every year from 1972 to 1976.[13]

At the Scottish national long course championships in 1972, Wilkie won five events.[13] However Wilkie's world breakthrough came when he won silver in the 200 m breaststroke at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in a European record time[13] in spite of being ranked only 25th in the World.[6] He also broke the Scottish record times for the 100 metres breaststroke and the 200 metres individual medley.[10]

In 1973 Wilkie won the World Championship for 200 metres breaststroke in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and broke the world record.[14]

In the 1974 Commonwealth Games, in Christchurch, New Zealand, he won a gold in the 200 metre breaststroke, a further gold in the 200 m individual medley and a silver in the 100 metre breaststroke,.[13] Also in 1974 at the European Championships in Vienna, Austria, he won a gold in the 200 metres individual medley in a world record time. He also won gold for the 200 metres breaststroke and silver as part of the British 4x100 medley relay team.[13][15] From 1972 to 1976 he was unbeaten in 200 metres breaststroke races.[16]

Olympic Gold[edit]

However, it was after several years of further intensive training, while studying with a swimming scholarship at the University of Miami,[1] that Wilkie's finest hour came. He won gold in the 200 metre breaststroke at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, in a world-record time and preventing an American Sweep of the Men's swimming gold medals. He also added a 100 metre silver medal to his collection.[13] His world record was to remain unbroken for eight years.[5]

Wilkie won three AAU National US Championships[17] and three NCAA US College Championships while at Miami, was four times All-American and was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.[18] The head swimming coach there was Bill Diaz[19] and his individual coach was Charlie Hodgson.[6]

He was European Swimmer if the Year three times,[17] British Sports personality of the year in 1975,[20] in 1977 he was appointed MBE,[21] in 1982 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame[17] and in 2002 was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.[22]

Post-Competitive Swimming[edit]

Since his retirement, Wilkie remained active in the world of swimming, involved in swimming aids and technology. He was said to be the first swimmer to wear a head-cap and goggles together in competition to improve the streamline effect within the water[4][12] although he also said he wore the goggles because of an allergy to chlorine in the water and the cap to keep his long hair in.[16]

Wilkie co-founded a healthcare company called Health Perception (UK) Ltd. in 1986. It was sold to William Ransom and Son plc in 2004 for £7.8 million.[23][24] In 1985 he met his Swedish partner Helen Isacson[5][23][25] by whom he had two children, Natasha and Adam who were 23 and 20 in 2013.[26] In 2009 he helped found a company called Pet's Kitchen[27] which supplied pet food to British supermarkets.[28]

Bibliography[edit]

  • David Wilkie by David Wilkie, Pat Besford and Tommy Long, Kemps, 1976; ISBN 978-0905255224
  • Winning with Wilkie : A Guide to Better Swimming by David Wilkie and Athole Still, Stanley Paul, 1977 ISBN 978-0091295516
  • Splash! : Swimming with Wilkie by David Wilkie and Kelvin Juba, Hutchinson, 1982; ISBN 978-0091502805
  • The Handbook of Swimming by David Wilkie and Kelvin Juba, Pelham, 1986; ISBN 978-0720715903

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b (31 July 2012) Coaches; David Wilkie MBE "Coached off the Coach", STV (Scottish Television), Retrieved 27 April 2013
  2. ^ McLean, Euan (5 August 2001) "Swimming Great sporting moments; Scots swimmer David Wilkie takes gold in Montreal Olympics 200m breaststroke" The Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
  3. ^ (June 2008) Scottish Olympic Legends The Winning Zone, Retrieved 21 may 2013
  4. ^ a b c (29 June 2012) Golden Scots: David Wilkie in Montreal, 1976 BBC Sport Scotland, Retrieved 21 May 2013
  5. ^ a b c Campbell, Alastair (10 July 2004) "Wilkie’s strokes of genius secure him place in history - and my talent pool", The Times, also aavilable on the Internat for a subscription at [1], Retrieved 14 September 2013
  6. ^ a b c d e f g (June 2007) Past Masters: David Wilkie, Scotland's Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer In the Winning Zone, Retrieved 20 May 2012
  7. ^ David Wilkie Swimmer Aberdeen About Aberdeen, Retrieved 5 October 2013
  8. ^ (2013) Colombo Swimming Club Official Web Page Retrieved 5 October 2012
  9. ^ Philip, Robert (1 September 2011). "Chapter 50: David Wilkie MBE". Scottish Sporting Legends. Edinburgh, UK: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1845967703. 
  10. ^ a b Gilmour, Jamie (1990). One Hundred years of Warrender baths Club. Macdonald Lindsay Pindar. ISBN 0951678701. 
  11. ^ a b c d Riach, Fraser (26 September 1970) "Poised to join world-class swimmers: Sporting Scots 4 - David Wilkie", The Glasgow Herald, Page 8, A copy is also available on the internet at [2], Retrieved 1 April 2013
  12. ^ a b c (1 February 2003) Coach to Olympic legend dies in pool The Scpotsman, Retrieved 20 May 2013
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Bislborough, Peter (1988). One Hundred Years of Scottish Swimming. Scottish Amateur Swimming Association. ASIN B000QB8VIG. 
  14. ^ A record swim from Wilkie; 1973 ESPN.co.uk, Retrieved 1 April 2013
  15. ^ European Swimming Championships (Men) GBRAthletics, Retrieved 2 April 2013
  16. ^ a b Gallgher, Brendon (24 July 2006) Inspired Wilkie left the world in his wake The Telegraph, Retrieved 2 June 2013
  17. ^ a b c (1982) David Wilkie (GBR) 1982 Honor Swimmer International Swimming Hall of Fame, Retrieved 2 June 2013
  18. ^ (1987) University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Inductee; David Wilkie, Biography Retrieved 22 April 2013
  19. ^ Sharnick, Morton (24 March 1975) Outsider In The Mainstream Sports Illustrated, SIVault, Retrieved 31 May 2013
  20. ^ Anderson, Ron (7 November 1975) Wilkie Sportsman of the year The Glasgow Herald, Retrieved 2 June 2013
  21. ^ (24 July 2012) Olympic heroes, No 25: David Wilkie The Scotsman, Retrrieved 15 April 2014
  22. ^ David Wilkie, MBE Sport Scotland, Retrieved 2 April 2013
  23. ^ a b (16 April 2004) Swimmer Wilkie is now millionaire The Scotsman, Retrieved 2 April 2013
  24. ^ (15 April 2004) Ransom(Wm)& Son. Acquisition FE Investigate, RNS, Retrieved 2 April 2013
  25. ^ Heathfield Interior Design Company web page of Helen Isacson, Retrieved 3 June 2013
  26. ^ Robinson, Peter (20 July 2013) Whatever happened to... Olympic swimmer David Wilkie The Daily Express, Retrieved 14 September 2013
  27. ^ Pet's Kitchen official company web page Retrieved 14 September 2013
  28. ^ (3 February 2013) Olympic legend David Wilkie: Andy Murray became a Brit when he won gold.. he'll be English if he wins Wimbledon The Daily Record, Retrieved 14 September 2013

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Sweden Gunnar Larsson
Men's 200 metre individual medley
world record holder (long course)

24 August 1974 – 23 August 1975
Succeeded by
Canada Graham Smith