Mary Wayte

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Mary Wayte
Wayte in 1984
Personal information
Full nameMary Alice Wayte
National teamUnited States
Born (1965-03-25) March 25, 1965 (age 58)
Mercer Island, Washington
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight128 lb (58 kg)
StrokesFreestyle, individual medley
ClubChinook Aquatic Club
College teamUniversity of Florida

Mary Alice Bradburne (née Wayte; March 25, 1965) is an American former competition swimmer, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and television sports commentator. During her international swimming career, Wayte won eight medals in major international championships, including four golds.

Early years[edit]

Wayte was born and raised on Mercer Island, Washington,[1] where she swam for the Chinook Aquatic Club[2] As a 16-year-old high school sophomore, Wayte won three gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle, the 200-meter backstroke and the 800-meter freestyle relay at the National Sport Festival.[3] She won eight Washington state high school swimming titles in five different events while attending Mercer Island High School.[4]

College swimming career[edit]

Wayte accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where she swam for coach Randy Reese's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1983 to 1987.[5] As a Gator swimmer, she won two individual NCAA national titles in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley in 1985.[5][6] With Gator teammates Laureeen Welting, Kathy Treible, Tracy Caulkins, Dara Torres and Paige Zemina, she was a member of the Gators' NCAA championship relay teams in the 400-yard and 800-yard freestyle relays for three consecutive years (1984, 1985, 1986), anchoring five of the six relays.[5] In total, she won eight NCAA championships in those three years.[5] She also won eleven individual Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships and was a member of ten SEC championship relay teams.[5] Wayte was the SEC Swimmer of the Year in 1985, and received a total of twenty-six All-American honors in her four years as a collegiate swimmer.[5]

International swimming career[edit]

Wayte at the 1984 Olympics

From 1981 to 1988, Wayte was a member of the U.S. national swim team, competing in major international championships in Japan (1981, 1985), France (1982), the Netherlands (1982), Venezuela (1983), Monaco (1985), Spain (1986) and South Korea (1988).[7] At the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, she won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team, and the silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle event.[7]

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Wayte won her first Olympic gold medal in the women's 200-meter freestyle event by defeating her American rival and former world record-holder Cynthia Woodhead.[8][9] Her winning 200-meter time of 1:59.23 was her career best to date, overcoming Woodhead's early lead in the final 50 meters.[10][11] She earned her second Olympic gold medal by swimming in the preliminary heat for the winning U.S. women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay team.[12]

4 years later, when Seoul, South Korea hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, she swam the freestyle leg for the silver medal-winning U.S. team in the women's 4×100-meter medley relay with teammates Beth Barr (backstroke), Tracey McFarlane (breaststroke), and Janel Jorgensen (butterfly).[2] The U.S. women's medley relay team was fraught with last-minute drama, as several previously selected swimmers dropped out to focus on individual events, or were replaced because they had performed below expectations, only hours before the event final.[13] In the event final, the U.S. medley relay team included women with no history of competing together, no relay exchange practice, and no coach; the East German favorites taunted the Americans before the race.[13] Wayte would later characterize the race as one of her proudest moments.[13] She also captured a bronze medal with the third-place U.S. women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay team that included Mitzi Kremer, Dara Torres and Laura Walker.[12] Individually, she finished fourth in the women's 200-meter freestyle; she was also a medal contender in the women's 200-meter individual medley, but was disqualified when the judges ruled she used an illegal butterfly kick on the breaststroke leg of the medley.[2][14]

Life after swimming[edit]

Wayte graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications in 1989.[15] She retired from competition swimming following the 1988 Olympics, and worked as a fund-raiser for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.[16] She became a celebrity promoter and endorsed products and services on behalf of Alamo Rent a Car, the National Spa and Pool Institute, and Speedo.[17]

She later worked as a television broadcaster for the Sports Channel network, covering NCAA and international swimming competitions and interviewing fans at NBA games.[7] For the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Wayte worked as NBC's women's swimming color commentator, and later covered the NCAA women's swimming championships for ESPN.[17] She also served on the U.S. Olympic Committee's athletes advisory council.[18]

Wayte was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1998,[19][20] the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000,[7] and the Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame in 2004.[21] The community swimming pool where she formerly trained in Mercer Island, Washington was renamed "Mary Wayte Pool".[22]

Wayte married business executive Jim Bradburne in 1995, and they have two daughters, Grace and Audrey Bradburne.[4] She currently lives in Seattle, Washington, and works in corporate communications.[13][23] Wayte participates in Swim Across America, a charitable organization that enlists former Olympic swimmers to raise funds for cancer research.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Lohn (2010) Historical Dictionary of Competitive Swimming, Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, p. 166. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Olympedia – Mary Wayte". Olympedia. December 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Associated Press, "3 Gold Medals To Mary Wayte," The New York Times (July 25, 1981). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Matt Peterson, "Flashback: Mary Wayte Bradburne, Mercer Island, Class of 1983," The Seattle Times (October 14, 2003). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Florida Swimming & Diving 2014–15 Media Supplement Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 82, 83, 87, 91, 92, 100 (2014). Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "Wayte leads Florida to 2nd-place finish," The Gainesville Sun, p. 6F (March 24, 1985). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "Mary Wayte (USA)". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Frank Litsky, "U.S. Swimmers Win Two More Golds," The New York Times (July 31, 1984). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Brother's shout slices tension; Wayte responds," The Toledo Blade, p. 18 (July 31, 1984). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Mike Madigan, "Mary Wayte catches up with a dream," The Miami News, p. 5B (July 31, 1984). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Ray Didinger, "American swimmers like carrying their own Wayte," Spokane Chronicle, p. 1B (July 31, 1984). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  12. ^ a b, Athletes, Mary Wayte Archived October 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d Jeremy Stafford, "Bradburne relishes Olympic memories," Northern Virginia Daily (May 1, 2010). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Associated Press, "Backstroke mark falls; Biondi after two more medals," The Deseret News, p. 2D (September 24, 1988). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  15. ^ University of Florida Alumni Directory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2000).
  16. ^ Joe Williams, "Reflections Of A Swimmer Olympic Champion Speaks For Her Mother, Hall Of Fame," Orlando Sentinel (January 20, 1990). Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Swim Across America, Olympians, Mary Wayte Bradburne. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  18. ^ Jere Longman, "Olympics; U.S.O.C. Experts Call Drug Testing a Failure", The New York Times (April 9, 1995). Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  19. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  20. ^ Pat Dooley, "Honored for the Effort", The Gainesville Sun, p. 1C (April 3, 1998). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  21. ^ Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2004. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  22. ^ Elizabeth Celms, "Mary Wayte Pool key to school plans Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine," Mercer Island Reporter (May 26, 2010). Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  23. ^, "Cisco Communications Manager Recalls Olympic Memories in L.A.," The Newsroom (June 25, 2012). Retrieved December 9, 2014.

External links[edit]