John Davies (swimmer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Griffith Davies
John Davies swimmer.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
In office
June 9, 1986 – July 18, 1998
Appointed byRonald Reagan
Preceded byCynthia Holcomb Hall
Succeeded byJohn F. Walter
Personal details
Born
John Griffith Davies

(1929-05-17) 17 May 1929 (age 90)
Willoughby, New South Wales, Australia[1]
EducationUniversity of Michigan (B.A.)
UCLA School of Law (LL.B.)
John Davies
Personal information
National team Australia
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight193 lb (88 kg)
Sport
SportSwimming
StrokesBreaststroke
College teamUniversity of Michigan

John Griffith Davies[4] (born 17 May 1929) is an Australian breaststroke swimmer of the 1940s and 1950s who won a gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and set a world record in the 200 yard breaststroke (short course)[5] and tied the world record in the 200 m breaststroke (long course). After retiring from competition swimming, he became a lawyer in California and, after becoming a naturalized American, he was appointed a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and presided over the trial of the Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with assaulting Rodney King.

Swimming career[edit]

Davies entered and won both breaststroke events at the 1946 New South Wales Championships held at Manly. He began to train under Forbes Carlile in 1947 and won the 220yd breaststroke at the Australian Championships, as well as helping New South Wales to win the 3x110yd medley relay. He repeated these victories at the 1948 Australian Championships, earning selection for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London at the age of 19. In the lead up to the Games, he won two races in London. Davies came second in his heat and fourth in his semifinal with an Australian record 2m 44.8s to qualify for the final of the 200m breaststroke. Davies set a new Australian record in the final, recording a time of 2m 43.7s. Although his time was recorded by the timekeepers to be 0.2s faster than the bronze medallist Bob Sohl of the United States, the judges believed that Sohl had touched first and awarded him the bronze.[6]

After the Games, Davies enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he trained under the guidance of coach Matt Mann and became a two time All American.[7] Without scholarship support available for swimmers in that era, he pursued a political science degree, while supporting himself by washing dishes and working at the International Student Centre. Mann also altered Davies's style, changing from the even-paced racing of Carlile to an early-attack oriented style of swimming. Davies managed a second placing at the 200yd breaststroke at the NCAA Championships in 1948, but failed to place in 1949 and 1950. In 1951 he won the 200m breaststroke at the AAU National Outdoor Championships and in 1952 won the 200yd breaststroke short course at the NCAA Championships setting a new world record of 2:21.9[8] and the 200m Breaststroke AAU National Indoor Championship. The Australian Olympic Federation granted him an exemption from the Australian Championships and selected him for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He trained with fellow team member John Marshall at Yale University under coach Robert Kiphuth while the rest of the Australian team trained in Townsville.

Davies arrived in Helsinki as the favourite after setting the 200 yard breaststroke (short course)world record[9] earlier in the year, but after a poor time trial a week before the Games, he was forced to restrict his training to under a kilometre per day and sleep for 20 hours daily. Davies was not the fastest qualifier in the heats, but broke the Olympic record set by Jerry Holan in the prelims. Swimming in his even paced style, Davies trailed by more than 2 seconds at the 100m mark, but overhauled his rivals, pipping the United States' Bowen Stassforth by 0.3s to reset his new Olympic record and tie the existing world record (long course) time of 2m 34.4s set by Herbert Klein of Germany who was third.[10][11] Davies, Stassforth, and Klein were the only three swimmers to better 2:35 in history in the 200 m breaststroke (long course) prior to the bifurcation of the stroke in 1953.

Legal career[edit]

Davies retired from swimming and returned to the University of Michigan to study law for two years before doing an exchange year at the University of Sydney and then transferring to the University of California Los Angeles, where he completed his degree in 1959. He married and settled in Pasadena, California, taking United States citizenship and passing the bar examinations to become an attorney.[12] From 1960 to 1971 Davies was associated with, and then became a partner of Hagenbaugh, Murphy & Davies where he specialized in litigation and tried many cases in the areas of personal injury, products liability, medical malpractice, construction and insurance coverage. Davies joined the Beverly Hills, California firm of Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman in 1971, becoming a partner in 1972, practicing litigation. He represented major motion picture studios and entertainment companies.

On 22 April 1986, Davies was nominated by U.S. president Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California vacated by Cynthia Holcomb Hall. Davies was confirmed by the United States Senate on 6 June 1986, and received his commission on 9 June 1986.[12] Davies presided over the trial of a group of Los Angeles Police Department officers charged in relation to the Rodney King incident in 1992. In 1993 he was named District Judge of The Year by the Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and he received the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for Exemplary Performance. He also received the Daniel O'Connell Award from the Irish American Bar Association. He retired from the bench on 18 July 1998.

Honours[edit]

Davies was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984,[13] and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1992. He received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000.[4][14]

See also[edit]

Record Notes[edit]

The world record for the 200 meter breaststroke prior to the bifurcation of the butterfly breaststroke into separate strokes in 1953 could be accomplished in either short or long course pools. FINA recognized only one world record for the 200 meter breaststroke. The 1952 US Olympic Book lists the 200 meter breaststroke world record as belonging to Herbert Klein with a time of 2:27.3 who swam it in a short course pool. If records were measured as they are today in long and short course pools, Davies tied Herbert Klein's long course world record of 2:34.4 for the 200 meter breaststroke set on August 13, 1950 in Göppingen, Germany at their 1952 Olympic final.

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Davies. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ New York Times 8 April 1951 Page 159
  3. ^ New York Times 8 April 1951 Page 159
  4. ^ a b "Davies, John Griffith: Australian Sports Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  5. ^ Cedar Rapids Gazette 29 March 1952 Page 4
  6. ^ Page 124 1948 US Olympic Book-Report of the US Olympic Committee
  7. ^ Page 11 University of Michigan Swimming & Diving Record Book
  8. ^ Cedar Rapids Gazette 29 March 1952 Page 4
  9. ^ Cedar Rapids Gazette 29 March 1952 Page 4
  10. ^ Es fehlt noch die Goldmedaille in Spiegel Online
  11. ^ Page 129 1952 US Olympic Book-Report of the US Olympic Committee
  12. ^ a b "Davies, John G. – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  13. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, John Davies (AUS). Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  14. ^ "John Davies". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 14 September 2013.

Sources[edit]

  • Andrews, Malcolm (2000). Australia at the Olympic Games. Sydney, New South Wales: ABC Books. pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7333-0884-8.
  • Howell, Max (1986). Aussie Gold. Albion, Queensland: Brooks Waterloo. pp. 66–68. ISBN 0-86440-680-0.
  • Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Swimming (Men): 200-Meter Breaststroke". In The Complete Book of the Olympics – 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 929.

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by

Joe Verdeur
Men's 200-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

August 1, 1952 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued

Record shared with Herbert Klein

Records
Preceded by

Robert Brawner
Men's 200-yard breaststroke
World record-holder (short course)

March 29, 1952 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued
Records
Preceded by

Jerry Holan
Men's 200 m breaststroke
Olympic record-holder

August 1, 1952 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued
Records
Preceded by

Robert Brawner
Men's 220 y breaststroke(Short Course)
American (AAU) record-holder

April 4, 1952 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued
Records
Preceded by

Joe Verdeur
Men's 200 m breaststroke(Short Course)
American (AAU) record-holder

April 4, 1952 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued
Records
Preceded by

Joe Verdeur
Men's 100 m breaststroke(Short Course)
American (AAU) record-holder

April 4, 1951 – 1953
Succeeded by

Stroke Discontinued
Legal offices
Preceded by
Cynthia Holcomb Hall
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
1986–1998
Succeeded by
John F. Walter