Fauntz with Hyde Park High School swim team
December 19, 1910|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Died||May 30, 1989
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Event(s)||Breaststroke, 3m springboard|
|Club||Illinois Women's Athletic Club|
Jane Fauntz Manske (December 19, 1910 – May 30, 1989) was a national champion swimmer and diver, and a member of the United States Olympic teams in 1928 (swimming) and 1932 (springboard diving). She was the bronze medalist for springboard diving at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Fauntz was born in New Orleans. Unable to compete in high school swimming competitions in Chicago because of a ban on female interscholastic athletics in Illinois, Fauntz competed as a teenager for the Illinois Women's Athletic Club swimming and diving teams. In March 1928 she established world records for the 100-yard breaststroke (1:20.3) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:29.3) at a dual meet against a Canadian team.
At the AAU swimming indoor national championships in Chicago in 1929, Fauntz won two national titles within the space of one half hour, winning the one-meter springboard and 100 meter breaststroke titles.
An Olympian at the age of 17 in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Fauntz finished in 5th place in the 200-meter breaststroke. Her specialty, however, was diving. Describing Fauntz during the Olympic diving competition, author Paul Gallico wrote in the New York Daily News:
"..Her marvelous body flowed through the dives with the smoothness of running quicksilver."
That "marvelous body" became a source of mild controversy at the Los Angeles games, when a Hungarian diving judge, Dr. Leo Donath, ordered the diving competition halted until the American divers changed their suits; he had objected to the near-backless cut of the team-supplied swimsuit.
Fauntz captured the three-meter springboard bronze medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, finishing just 5 points behind gold medalist Georgia Coleman and a single point behind silver medalist Katherine Rawls, helping the United States team to a sweep of the event. Fauntz led the competition after the compulsory dives, but slipped to third after mistiming the entry on her penultimate optional dive. (Fauntz later said this dive was "the worst one I'd ever done. There went my world; I didn't even want to come up from the pool.")
Fauntz parlayed her Olympic success to a career in marketing, modeling, and professional aquatic exhibitions. She became one of the first female athletes to appear on the Wheaties cereal box; she was also one of many celebrities of the time recruited to endorse cigarettes (in her case, Camels) and beer (Falstaff). Jane also appeared as cover girl for Life and Ladies Home Journal. She worked as a model for Saks Fifth Avenue. As a professional diver, Fauntz appeared in exhibitions at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933, where she met future husband Edgar "Eggs" Manske, an All-American football star at Northwestern University; they married in 1936.
An artist by training (B.A., art education, University of Illinois) and vocation, Fauntz was a painter and sculptor, and taught high school art classes for 20 years in California. Her bronze bust of former University of California football coach Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf is on display at the university's Sports Hall of Fame.
Fauntz died in Los Angeles of leukemia on May 30, 1989.
Jane Fauntz Manske was inducted posthumously into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1991.
- Charleston Daily Mail, Mar 27, 1928, pg 11: Jane Fauntz Sets Two Swim Records
- San Antonio Light, Aug 14, 1932, pg 25: Divers Forced to Cover-Up
- International Swimming Hall of Fame profile
- Ban on girl's interscholastic athletic competition in Illinois affects Jane Fauntz
- Interview for AAFLA Olympic project