Harry Holiday (USA)
Honor Swimmer (1991)
FOR THE RECORD: WORLD RECORDS: 7 (100yd, 200m & 440yd backstroke; 300m individual medley; 3 relays); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 6 (150yd, 100m backstroke; 4 relays); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 8 (150yd, 100m backstroke; 300m individual medley; 5 relays); AMERICAN RECORDS: 18 (100yd, 150yd, 150m, 100m, 200yd, 400yd, 440yd backstroke; 150yd individual medley; 9 relays).
A product of the Matt Mann dynasty at the University of Michigan, Harry Holiday was the only backstroker to ever beat Adolf Kiefer. At the National AAU Indoor Championships in 1943, Holiday broke Kiefer’s long-standing streak of 250 backstroke victories and had to set a world record to do it.
Kiefer regained his title in 1944 after Holiday had traveled from Michigan to the New York Athletic Club where he slept on the wrestling mats–a loss which is nonetheless noteworthy.
As one of the greatest backstrokers of all time, Holiday swam during a time when world war cancelled two Olympics. He began training after the 1936 Games in Berlin, and was considered over the hill by the time the 1948 Olympics in London rolled around. In college, Harry was an NCAA champion every year he competed for the Wolverines.
When his swimming career ended in 1948, Harry went into the steel business becoming President and Chairman of the Board for ARMCO, becoming one of the U.S.A.’s best businessman golfers.