• Biography

Early Life

John Konrads was born in Sydney, Australia in 1939. He was the youngest of four children and the only son of a German immigrant family. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a seamstress. From a young age, John was an avid swimmer and was determined to make a career out of it.

Rise to Fame

At the age of 15, John won the Australian National Championships in the 1500m freestyle. This victory marked the beginning of his rise to fame. He went on to win the 1500m freestyle at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, becoming the first Australian to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. He also won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle.

John continued to dominate the swimming world, setting world records in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle events. He was the first swimmer to break the 15-minute barrier in the 1500m freestyle. He also won the Sullivan Award in 1959, which is given to the best amateur athlete in the United States.

Later Career

John retired from competitive swimming in 1962 and went on to become a successful coach. He coached the Australian swim team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. He also coached the Australian swim team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he won a bronze medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

John was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975. He was also awarded the Order of Australia in 1981 for his services to swimming.


John Konrads is remembered as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. He was the first Australian to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming and set numerous world records. He was also a successful coach, leading the Australian swim team to multiple Olympic medals. His legacy lives on in the sport of swimming and he is an inspiration to many aspiring swimmers.

Date modified: Apr 8, 2023
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