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Australian Sports Medal

Date: 2000
Overall: 150 x 80 mm, 160 g
Medium: Pastic, fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Case
Object No: 00044359

User Terms

    HistoryLinda McGill (1945-) took her first dip in 1946 at the age of one month. She began swimming competatively at age nine and went on to compete at local, national and international level in both pool and open water marathon events. She broke records, pioneered women's distance swims and produced championship performances in a career that spanned four decades. She retired from competition in 1989.

    By age thirteen McGill had won seven age group state championships and was selected for national competition. In 1958 she joined Forbes Carlyle's swimming squad and in 1960 was coached by Don Talbot. Wins at the 1961 and 1962 Australian National Swimming Championships led to selection for the Perth Commonwealth Games squad in Perth. At an exhibition swim two days before the Games, McGill along with Dawn Fraser, Marguerithe Ruygrok and Pam Sargeant won the medley relay in world record time. She went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals at the Perth Commonwealth Games in 1962.

    After winning five national titles in three days McGill was automatically selected for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. During this meet she finished fifth in the individual medley breaking an Australian record. She was one of four women famously suspendend from competative swimming by the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia in 1965 for defying a ban on attending the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Australian team manager Bill Slade banned all swimmers due to compete in the first three days from attending the opening ceremony. They were told to stay at the Olympic village and watch the ceremony on television. Deying the ban McGill, Dawn Fraser, Marlene Dayman and Nan Duncan smuggled themselves onto buses. During a search of the buses McGill and Duncan were found and escorted back to the Olympic village. McGill made a second escape in the company of some rowers and watched the ceremony from the grandstand while Fraser and Dayman marched. As punishment McGill then aged nineteen was suspended from competing for four years, Fraser was suspended for ten years and Dayman and Duncan for three years.

    The following year McGill took up marathon swimming and became the first Australian to swim the English Channel on 7 August 1965. She swam from France to England in a time of 11 hours 12 minutes. McGill made two more crossings from France to England in 1967 in 13 hours 2 minutes and nine hours and 59 minutes respectively. In the same year she swam across Sydney Harbour. In 1968 she became the first person to swim across Port Phillip Bay beating a field of nine. In the same year she became the first woman to finish the Capri-Naples marathon but was disqualified after her official guide became seasick and returned to shore. In 1976 McGill became the first person to swim the 48.3 km around Hong Kong. She also made a solo crossing of the 29 km straits separating Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf in 1979.

    McGill swam Lake Ontario, Lake St John and Lake Simone in Canada and from Block Island to Rhode Island on America's east coast. In Australia she swam in the Brisbane to Morteon Island and Townsville to Magnetic Island events.Between 1983 and 1986 she swamin the Manhatan Marathon, becoming the first Australian to swim around Manhattan Island. She retired from competative swimming in 1989 after the World Masters Games in Rio de Janiero.

    McGill's autobiography 'Surviving the Sea of Life' was published in 2007
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Australian Sports Medal

    Collection title: Linda McGill swimming memorabilia

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