The History of Olympic Swimming Vol. 1 (1896-1936)
By Peter Daland
Featured 1896 Olympians (on cover) Alfred Hajos: (b. 2/1/1878, Budapest d. 11/12/1955) Dubbed the "Hungarian Dolphin" by the admiring Greeks.. Hajos was the first-ever Olympic swimming champion, andthe first Hungarian Olympic gold medalist. He won his medals in the 100-meter freestyle (1:22.2), and the 1200-meter freestyle (18:22.2). Alfred Hajos was 13 years old when he felt compelled to become a good swimmer after his father drowned in the Danube River. At the 1896 Games, the swimming events were held in the Mediterranean Sea battling the elements. The 18-year old Hajos won his two gold medals in extremely cold weather (the water temperature was about 50 degrees) with 12-foot waves crashing down on him. Before the 1200-meter race, he smeared his body with a half-inch thick layer of grease, but it proved to be of little protection. He confessed after winning the race that, "my will to live completely overcame my desire to win." While at a dinner honoring Olympic winners, the King of Greece asked Alfred where he had learned to swim so well. Hajos replied: "In the water." This book includes a description of every Olympic swimming event during the years of 1896-1936.