At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Cathy Ferguson won gold and Kiki Caron silver in the 100m backstroke. South African backstroke champion Ann Fairlie was banned from competing, and Karen Muir was still swimming blitz galas in Kimberley.
On 14th August 1965, in same week that Karen Muir set a new world record in the 110 yard backstroke, Cathy Ferguson tied for first place in the American AAU 100m backstroke, with Kiki Caron finishing in second place again. Two weeks later Ferguson and Caron competed at a French American event in Monte Carlo.
Cathy arrived in Johannesburg ion the 26th February, just in time to compete at the South African swimming championships starting in Durban the following week. On her return to the USA she competed in the AAU national championships in early April. There she was beaten by Elaine Tanner of Canada - who was to visit South Africa in 1967.
By then the swimming fraternity in the country were at a fever pitch, as Ann Fairlie had already broken Karen Muir's world record on the 22nd February, setting her own first world record at Kimberley. Kiki Caron also swam in that race, finishing a distant third.
On 30th January 1966 Kiki Caron competed in an international event in Germany, winning the 100m backstroke in 1:09, 4. Three weeks later she swam in Kimberley. Caron went on to set a European record in the 200m backstroke in June 1966.
Kathy Ferguson and Kiki Caron
Both coaches - Suzanne Berlioux and Peter Dalland got their excuses in early. However, there swimmers - Caron and Ferguson - were constantly travelling and competing, so the South African trip should not have affected their performances too much.
Australin great Ilse Konrads with Cathy Ferguson, Karen Muir and Diane Ludorf at Ellis Park.