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Aussie Swimming Legend Who Once Set Six World Records In Eight Days Sadly Dies

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

Aussie Swimming Legend Who Once Set Six World Records In Eight Days Sadly Dies

He's widely regarded as one of the greatest swimmers Australia has ever produced, but unfortunately John Konrads has sadly passed away.

He was 78 years of age at the time of his death.

During his decorated career in the pool, Konrads set an incredible 26 individual freestyle world records and even clinched gold at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

But while those achievements speak for themselves, perhaps his most impressive feat came when he was just 15 years old back in 1958.

Konrads well and truly carved his name into Australian sports folklore after setting a whopping SIX world records in a matter of EIGHT days.

Not bad for a teenager.

John Konrads. Credit: PA
John Konrads. Credit: PA

When news of Konrads' death broke, countless touching tributes came flooding in from his family, friends and the wider swimming community.

"Firstly, on behalf of Swimming Australia I'd like to send my condolences to John's family, friends and loved ones - it's a terribly sad time," Swimming Australia president and Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins said.

"John's story is quite amazing, it's one of resilience and perseverance. To arrive in Australia as a young boy from Latvia who couldn't swim, to then attend an Olympic Games as a 14-year-old only a few years later is remarkable.

"During his peak in the 1950s and '60s John dominated the Australian swimming scene and achieved sensational feats in the distance freestyle events. The 1500m race obviously holds a very special place in my heart and I was lucky to have role models and mentors like John shine a light on this event for Australia - his feats helped cement it as an iconic event for our country at every Olympics."

Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand also paid his respects.

"As a swimming sensation in the 1950s and 60s, John Konrads dominated the world swimming scene, breaking every freestyle world record between 200m-1500m by the time he was 15," Bertrand added.

"His career tally of 26 individual world records is an incredible record. He was a proud Sport Australia Hall of Fame Member with an extravagant sense of humour who will leave a lasting legacy around the world.

"Our condolences are with his sister Isla, the Konrads family and the many lives John touched within the swimming and broader communities."

Incredibly, it's well documented that Konrads learned to swim during his time in a migrant camp after emigrating to Australia from Latvia.

During his time in the camp, Konrads fell ill with polio and learned to swim in the hospital pool where he was staying.

What a legend.

Rest In Peace, John.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: olympics, Aussie, olympic games, swimming, Australia

Max Sherry
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