In 1928 five Springbok swimmers travelled to the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, accompanied by coach Rachael Finlayson. From L/R: Kathleen Russell, Zus Engelenberg, Freddie van der Goes, Rhoda Rennie, Marie Bedford.
All the girls except Mary Bedford, were coached by Jimmy Green of Pretoria. Bedford was coached by Rachael Finlayson. Coach Green's swimmers had won all the women's events at the SA Swimming championships in East London in 1927, with Mary Bedford 2nd in the 50 yards freestyle.
The Olympic relay race was held before the individual 100m freestyle and the result accurately foreshadowed what was to happen in that event. Only seven countries competed but qualifying heats were still needed to remove one team from the competition. This provided the opportunity for the American team to break the world record which had stood since 1924.
Bolstered by the introduction of Eleanor Garatti and Martha Norelius to the team for the final, the USA swam off into the distance and took another large chunk off the world record. The British held off the Dutch for silver with South Africa touching ahead of Germany. The Netherlands were later disqualified for a faulty changeover and South Africa promoted to bronze.
Kathleen Russell (17 November 1912 – 26 November 1992) was freestyle swimmer from Durban who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics. She was coached by Racheal Finlayson.
At the1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games she was 15 years old, and a member of the South African relay team which won the bronze medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay event. She also competed in the 400 metre freestyle competition, but was eliminated in the semi-finals.
At the 1934 Empire Games she won the silver medal with the South African team in the 4×100 yards freestyle relay contest.
Frederika "Freddie" Jacoba van der Goes (26 November 1908 – 24 October 1976) was from Pretoria, where was also coached by Jimmy Green in Pretoria.
In 1928 she was a member of the South African relay team which won the bronze medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay event She also competed in the 400 metre freestyle competition and finished fifth.
23 March, 1923
Mary "Marie" Esther Bedford was born 27 March 1907, and represented Natal. She was a member of the South African relay team which won the bronze medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay event.
She also competed in the 400 metre freestyle competition, but was eliminated in the first round.
Wils accented the low-slung, redbrick structure with a slender tower that was topped with the first-ever cauldron designed to cradle the Olympic flame. The swimming basin was made of reinforced concrete that was 50m long by 18 m wide with the deepest part near the diving area at 5 m. Stands were erected at both sides with one of them at most accommodating 6000 spectators. There were 20 men's and 16 women's dressing rooms.
A temporary structure, it was demolished following the Olympics in 1929.