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1961 - 1991

World beaters during the boycott era

Despite 30 years of the international sports boycott, South African swimmers continued to set new world records.

Karen Muir

Karen was born on 16 September 1952 in Kimberley, where she began swimming with coach Frank Gray at age 9. Three years later, on 10 August 1965 - aged 12, she became the youngest person ever to set a world record in swimming. She set a further 17 world records, before retiring in 1970.

Ann Fairlie

Ann was a contemporary and probably a role model of the legendary Karen Muir, although three years older. In 1963 Ann Fairlie became the youngest swimmer to win Springbok colours at age 13, and in 1966 she set three world records in the 100/110 backstroke. Karen Muir eclipsed her in all of these achievements, but together they dominated international women's backstroke for 5 years - without ever competing at the Olympic Games.

Jonty Skinner

In 1976 Jonty set a world record for the 100m freestyle. His time of 49,44 beat US swimmer Jim Montgomery's Olympic gold medal winning swim at the 1976 Games of 49,99 - just six weeks after the Olympics. His record stood for 5 years.

Peter Williams

Pete set a new world record in the 50m freestyle during a time trial. Somehow FINA recognised the time - but not the record, for reasons never explained by them.