Stephen Holland

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For the American artist, see Stephen Holland (artist).
For other people named Steve Holland, see Steve Holland (disambiguation).
Stephen Holland
Medal record
Men’s swimming
Competitor for  Australia
Olympic Games
Bronze 1976 Montreal 1500 m freestyle
World Championships (LC)
Gold 1973 Belgrade 1500 m freestyle

Stephen Roy Holland OAM (born 31 May 1958) is an Australian former freestyle swimmer of the 1970s who won a bronze medal in the 1500 m freestyle at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. In a brief and spectacular career, he broke 12 world records and was known as the Super Fish after his coach Laurie Lawrence likened his two-beat kick to the tail of a fish. He was educated at the Anglican Church Grammar School.[1]

Holland made his first headlines as a 15 year old, when he broke the 1500 m freestyle world record at the Australian Championships. In the process, his 800 m split also broke the 800 m freestyle world record. This qualified him to make his international debut at the 1973 World Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he again broke both world records en route to the 1500 m freestyle gold medal, setting a time of 15 m 31.85s. Actually, both he and the 2nd classified swimmer (American Rick DeMont) did not stop at the 1500 and continued for 100 m further. He was awarded the ABC Sportsman of the Year award.

In 1974, Holland won a gold medal in the 1500 m freestyle at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games, leaving the silver medallist from New Zealand, Mark Treffers more than 25 seconds in arrears. Although the time was not a world record, his 800 m split of 8 m 15.88s bettered his previous 800 m record.

On arrival in Montreal for the 1976 Summer Olympics, Holland had set 12 world records, and was expected by the Australian public to win. However, he departed from his usual strategy of fast-starting, attacking swimming and decided to swim conservatively and outstay his main rivals, the United States duo of Bobby Hackett and Brian Goodell. Holland made his move at the 800 m mark, but then found that he was fading in the final 200 m, when Goodell and Hackett overtook him. Although Holland had bettered his previous world record, Goodell surpassed it to take the gold.

Holland later swam the 400 m, finishing fifth behind Goodell, who again set a world record. After the Games, weighed down by the burden of public disappointment, Holland decided at the age of 18 that he was "washed up" and decided to retire from competitive swimming.

On 10 June 1985, Holland was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to sport of swimming.[2] On 23 June 2000, Holland was awarded the Australian Sports Medal.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mason, James (2011). Churchie: The Centenary Register. Brisbane, Australia: The Anglican Church Grammar School. ISBN 978-0-646-55807-3. 
  2. ^ "Stephen Holland OAM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Stephen Holland". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  • Andrews, Malcolm (2000). Australia at the Olympic Games. Sydney, New South Wales: ABC Books. pp. 212–213. ISBN 0-7333-0884-8. 

External links[edit]


Records
Preceded by
United States Mike Burton
Men's 1500 metres Freestyle
World Record Holder (Long Course)

5 August 1973 – 25 August 1974
Succeeded by
United States Tim Shaw
Preceded by
United States Tim Shaw
Men's 1500 metres Freestyle
World Record Holder (Long Course)

25 January 1975 – 21 June 1975
Succeeded by
United States Tim Shaw
Preceded by
United States Tim Shaw
Men's 1500 metres Freestyle
World Record Holder (Long Course)

27 February 1976 – 21 June 1976
Succeeded by
United States Brian Goodell