Natalie Steward


Natalie Alwyne Steward was born in Pretoria on 30 April 1943. Although she swam for Rhodesia in the 1958 Empire Games, she represented Great Britain in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where she won a silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke and a bronze in the 100m freestyle. In the 100m backstroke final Natalie improved her heats time by 1,2 seconds, to finish 0,6 seconds ahead of Laura Ranwell of South Africa and Satoko Tanaka - who both had the same time, but Tanaka was awarded the bronze medal.

On July 10th, 1960, Natalie set a new world record for the `110 yards backstroke.

But later she lived in Bulawayo and was thus eligible for Rhodesia's team. She and her family lived in Hornchurch, Essex, when Natalie has selected to represent Great Britain. Natalie was coached by her mother - a non-swimmer.


Her entry in the Rhodesian Amateur Swimming Association history:

Natalie Steward was born in Pretoria on 30 April 1943. Although she swam for Rhodesia in the 1958 Empire Games, she represented Great Britain in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Natalie is the daughter of English parents, and her father was working in Pretoria when she was born, giving her South African qualification. But later she lived in Bulawayo and was thus eligible for Rhodesia's team. She and her family lived in Hornchurch, Essex, when Natalie has elected to represent Great Britain. Natalie was coached by her mother - a non-swimmer.

Considered to be Rhodesia's greatest ever swimmer before Kirsty Coventry, Natalie competed in her first Rhodesian Championships in 1956 when she won the Girls' and Women's 220 yards Freestyle and Women's 100 yards Butterfly. She made her Rhodesian debut the same year, being selected for Durban Currie Cup. The following year she took the Girls' 100 yards, 220 yards, Women's 

100 yards, 220 yards, 440 yards Freestyle titles and silver and two bronze medals at the S.A. Championships In the same events. Also in 1957 she broke the South African Junior 100 yards Freestyle and Butterfly records and set 23 Rhodesian Senior and Junior records. In 1958 she took the Rhodesian Women's 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres Freestyle, 100 metres Backstroke  and 100 metres Butterfly titles and was placed 2nd in the S.A. 100 Freestyle and Backstroke and 3rd In the 220 yards Freestyle and 100 yards Butterfly. During the season she set 5 South African and 17 Rhodesian records and was selected to represent Rhodesia in the Empire Games at Cardiff. 

The following year she took 6 Rhodesian and 4 South African titles. Her S.A. titles were 100 yards Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and 400 yards Medley indicating her tremendous versatility. After the 1959 Johannesburg Currie Cup she left Rhodesia for a spell in Britain, where she represented England on several occasions and set a new British record of 1 min. 5,5 sees, for the 110 yards Freestyle. The highlight of her career came in 1960 when she was selected for the British Olympic Team and took a Silver Medal in the Women's 100 metre Backstroke and a Bronze in the 100 metres Freestyle and then again in 1961 when she set a new World Record for the 110 yards Backstroke. In all, Natalie's short career included 21 Rhodesian titles, 57 Rhodesian records, 4 S.A. titles and 11 South African records in the space of 4 years. 

1960 British Swimmer Natalie Steward Goes Back To School

Britain's Silver and Bronze Medal girl Swimmer goes back to school: The girl who knows what success means went back to school yesterday. A few days ago the Olympia crowds in Rome cheered 17-year-old Natalie Steward as she swam her way to a silver and bronze medals. Yesterday it was cheers from her school friends at the Romford County High School as she stood on the platform at morning assembly. Natalie had to show them her medals- the silver for the 100 meters backstreets, and the bronze for the 100 meters freestyle. Picture Shows: Wearing her Olympic uniform Natalie Steward, with her medals placed on the table, sits among her school chums at Ramford County High school yesterday.

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