Johnny Weismuller - Swimmer/Actor

Essay by stepanstasHigh School, 10th grade January 2006

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Only a few people leave an impression that last forever. One of those people is Johnny Weissmuller. He was born on June 2nd 1904, in Austria-Hungary, but he only stayed there for 7 months after birth. In his life he moved a few times, yet always made a good outcome. He worked as a miner, but was always an aggressive swimmer. He was only 12 when he earned his spot on the YMCA swimming team.

After finishing school, he worked as a bellhop and an elevator operator. During that time, he was being trained for the Olympics by a swim coach at the Illinois Athletic Club. This is where he learned how to maintain speed, but still have great efficiency. On August 6th 1921 he won his first American Athletic Union (AAU) race going 50-Yards freestyle.

In order to obtain an American passport and to be eligible to complete the United States Olympic team Weissmuller had to make a couple of lies.

Those included listing his birthplace as Windber, Pennsylvania, although he was foreign-born. He also listed that his birthday was that of his younger brother, Peter.

On July 9th 1922 he broke the world record on the 100-Meters freestyle, which he swam in 58.6 seconds. He also won races such as 100-meters, 400-meters, 800-meters (relay), 50-yards, 220-yards, 440-yards, 500-yards, and 150-yard Backstroke. Being a swimmer myself, I can say that those races are very competitive and not as easy as they sound. By the way, 25-Yards is 1 lap, 50-Yards is 2 laps, and so on.

In his entire swimming career, Johnny Weissmuller never lost a race, and won 5 Olympic gold medals, 1 Bronze medal, and 52 US National Championships. He also set 67 world records.

After he stopped swimming, Weissmuller moved on to his motion picture...