Harold “Dutch” Smith (USA)
Honor Diver (1979)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1928 4th place (3m springboard); 1932 gold (platform), silver (3m springboard); NATIONAL AAU DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4 (1928: 1m; 1930: 1m, 3m; 1931: 3m).
Harold “Dutch” Smith began diving at the old Exposition Park Municipal Pool, Los Angeles, in 1921 and finished on the same spot after the pool had been rebuilt for the 1932 Olympic Games. Contrary to legend, Dutch did not specialize in tower (platform) diving. In fact, his 4 AAU National Championships were all off the springboard: two off the 3m high board in 1930 and 1931 and two off the low board (1m) in 1928 and 1930. He was part of the celebrated stable of Cady male divers including Frank Kurtz and the two Riley boys, Mickey and Johnny, each of whom won National Championships often taking them away from each other. In two Olympics, 1928 at Amsterdam and 1932 at home in Los Angeles. Dutch placed 4th (1928) and won a silver medal (1932) on the 3m springboard, but his gold and his claim to immortality came off the tower with his spectacular diving at Los Angeles (1932). A Marine Corps captain during WWII, Dutch was also a pro diver in various Aquacades, traveling through 13 countries with Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. He dove for the Los Angeles Athletic Club and coached briefly at the New York A.C., at Yale, and the 1936 German Olympic Team. He operated a seaside haberdashery in La Jolla and was pool manager at swanky hotels in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. His coach, Fred Cady, called him “the most graceful” and “undoubtedly the most perfect, precise, finest mechanical diver I have ever coached”. Dutch died of cancer at 49 in 1958.