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Reproduced courtesy of John Konrads

Slide depicting Ilsa Konrads, Syliva Ruuska and another women in Hobart

Date: 1959
Dimensions:
Overall: 50 x 50 x 1 mm
Medium: Cellulose acetate slide, colour
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © John Konrads
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Slide
Object No: 00051545
Related Place:Hobart,

User Terms

    Description
    John Konrads (b1942, arrived Australia 1949) was a Latvian immigrant who came to Australia with his family aged 7 as refugees after World War II and trained with his sister Ilsa to become teenage swimming sensations, the Konrads' kids, and poster children for the Beautiful Balts immigration campaign post World War II. This collection of material includes personal apparel and clothing, programs, notes, awards and medals relating to John Konrads' competitive career at various NSW, Australian, Commonwealth and Olympic championship events. It represents the peak of Konrads' swimming career, when he broke more than twenty world records in a range of distances from 1957-60, alongside other swimming greats such as Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose, John Devitt and Lorraine Crapp. Other material, including documents and singing performances from his brief television career, represent his life beyond swimming and what is now a common career path for telegenic Australian sporting champions - the media.
    SignificanceThis collection of personal apparel and clothing, programs, notes, awards and medals represents not only the swimming career of John Konrads but also yields information about swimming techniques, training styles, strokes and competition more broadly, in what is known as a golden age of Australian swimming, the late 1950s and early 60s. Other material, including documents and singing performances from his brief television career, represent his life beyond swimming and what is now a common career path for telegenic Australian sporting champions - the media. The material has significance and interpretive potential for the information it contains, the freshness of the original photographs taken on training camps and in competition by an insider, by Konrads, alongside the public images of swimming champions of the era. It presents a nice range of material which renders accessible the competitive touring and training regimes of the era.
    HistoryJohn Konrads (b1942, arrived Australia 1949) became a champion swimmer whose competitive career encompassed various NSW, Australian, Commonwealth and Olympic championship events during one of the golden periods of Australian swimming in the late 50s and early 1960s.

    John Konrads was a Latvian immigrant who came to Australia with his family in 1949 aged 7 as refugees after World War II. Konrads’ father taught swimming at the migrants camp at Uranquinty in western NSW where John learnt to swim to recover after contracting polio. He trained with his younger sister Ilsa, and teamed up with rising swimming coach Don Talbot at Bankstown pool. Both teenagers followed Talbot’s career trajectory as coach, rising to become champion swimmers. John and Ilsa became one of the public images of the Beautiful Balts campaign aimed at dispossesed peoples from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as part of the Australian Government’s aggressive Populate or perish immigration policy after the war.

    When aged 14, Konrads was selected as a reserve for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. In 1958 and 59 he claimed more than twenty world records in six events at distances from 200 to 1500 metres, including both the Australasian championships of 1957 and the Cardiff Empire Games in 1958. With Talbot he cut back his competition program for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome where he won medals in the three events in which he participated. Konrads won gold in the 1500 metres, and bronze medals in both the 400 metres and the 4x 200 metre freestyle relay in Rome. He gained a marketing degree at the University of Southern California on a sporting scholarship and worked as marketing director at L’Oreal in Australia when he retired from swimming.

    John Konrads was swimming during one of the most successful periods for Australian swimmers with champions like Dawn Fraser, Jon Devitt, Murray Rose, Lorraine Crapp and his sister Ilsa.

    Additional Titles

    Collection title: John Konrads collection

    Assigned title: Slide depicting Ilsa Konrads, Syliva Ruuska and another women in Hobart

    Related People
    Photographer: John Konrads

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