John Marshall (swimmer)

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John Marshall
Personal information
Full name John Birnie Marshall
Nationality  Australia
Born (1930-03-29)29 March 1930
Bondi, New South Wales
Died 31 January 1957(1957-01-31) (aged 26)
Melbourne, Victoria
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle, butterfly
College team Yale University

John Birnie Marshall (29 March 1930 – 31 January 1957) was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1940s and 1950s who won a silver and bronze medal in the 1500 m and 400 m freestyle respectively at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Despite his Olympic results suggesting that he only had a moderate international career, he broke 28 world records.

Born in Bondi, New South Wales, Marshall made his first headlines as a 16 year old, when he won every event from the 220yd to the 1650yd freestyle at the 1947 Australian Championships. The following year, he was selected for the London Olympics, where he claimed bronze in the 400 m freestyle behind the United States duo of Bill Smith and Jimmy McLane. He claimed a silver medal in the 1500 m freestyle, behind McLane. In Marshall's era, the 200 m freestyle was not part of the Olympics.

McLane's coach, Bob Kiphuth was so impressed by Marshall's performance that he arranged for Marshall to study and swim under him at Yale University. Under Kiphuth's rigorous guidance, Marshall set 19 world records, 15 of them in just one month.

However, Marshall peaked too soon between Olympics, and was burnt out by the time of the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He failed to qualify for the final of the 400 m, and finished an ignominious last in the 1500 m freestyle, more than 41 seconds behind the second-last finisher.

Marshall made a third attempt at Olympic glory at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. At the age of 26, he had given up freestyle, and placed his efforts in the newly created butterfly stroke. Although he reached the finals of the 200 m butterfly, he finished fifth behind American William Yorzyk. A few weeks later, Marshall was killed in a car accident.

See also[edit]

Yale Bulldogs swimming and diving