Wilhelmina Wylie

Athlete Biography

1891 - 1984

Mina Wylie learned to swim in her father’s ocean baths at the Sydney seaside suburb of Coogee.  She and Fanny Durack were the first Australian women to attend the Olympic Games.  Prior Stockholm there had been but a handful of events for women at the Olympics.  At Stockholm, Durack and Wylie finished 1-2 in the women’s 100 metres freestyle.  They wished to swim two legs each in the 4 x 100 metres relay but officialdom precluded that happening.  If they had been allowed to swim there are ample reasons to believe that they would have been victorious.  Wylie and Durack were deprived of competing at Berlin 1916, because those Olympics were cancelled due to World War I, but they kept on swimming, garnering championships and setting records with the hope of competing at Antwerp 1920.  In the event, illness prevented Durack from attending and Wylie was not selected.  Wylie lived a long life, dying at Coogee not far from where she learned to swim, just prior to the opening of Los Angeles 1984.  In 1975, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.