On the 14th August 1976, swimming at the AAU nationals in Philadelphia, Jonty Skinner from East London in South African set a new world record for the 100m freestyle. His time of 49,44 beat the 20-day old record of 49,99, set by American Jim Montgomery in winning the event at the recent Montreal Olympic Games. Jonty's record was to stand for 5 years.
He also set the first recognized WR time of 23,86 seconds for the 50m freestyle at that event, which was his split in the 100m event.
In 2017 Jonty Skinner became the third swimmer from South Africa to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
An interview with Jonty Skinner by Thys Lombard, in September 2020.
By Doug Skinner
Lean, loose-limbed, 1,95m tall Jonty Skinner flew home from the USA in early December. A gentle giant with a slow Southern drawl and complete indifference to the swimming fame that surrounds him.
A slow-moving figure in faded denims and a tatty T-shirts at the pool belies the tremendous athletic ability that galvanizes into action when Jonty is in the water.
His crawl arm stroke has very little dependence on the legs and comprises a 90% power mass ratio arm effort.
He reaches out with the full extension of the arm and shoulder at 30-degree angle. He digs the hand down to push up the elbow to engage the shoulder. This forms the lever and he almost lifts himself over the water so the exit of the hand occurs at the same place it enters.
Jonty broke the world record in most unfavourable conditions at 4:30pm with the air temperature at 90 degrees centigrade so I guess this has to make him the greatest.
His latest academic results are 2 A’s and 4 B’s + 1 C which was pretty good. He is at present the Captain of the Alabama University swim team and his immediate object is to recapture the 100 yards indoor title and improve on his 100 yards record of 43,92.
Jonty Skinner with coach Don Gambril.