Bonnie Johnston (Mealing)

Athlete Biography

1912 - 2002

Whilst still a teenager, Bonnie Mealing competed without success in the freestyle and backstroke events at Amsterdam 1928. In February 1930, she set a world record of 1 min 20.6 sec for the 100 metres backstroke. Somewhat surprisingly, she was not selected for the inaugural Empire Games at Hamilton, Canada that year. Indeed, no Australian women were sent to Hamilton, where swimming was the only sport that afforded events for females. At Los Angeles 1932, Mealing won a silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke, behind the glamorous and talented Eleanor Holm of the United States. Britain’s Joyce Cooper, who in Mealing’s absence had won the backstroke at Hamilton, finished sixth. Mealing did not compete internationally again after Los Angeles. She lived a long life, dying in her 90th year in 2002.