Shelley Mann (USA)
Honor Swimmer (1966)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1956 gold (100m butterfly), silver (4x100m freestyle relay), 6th (100m freestyle); WORLD RECORDS: 400m individual medley; 100m, 200m butterfly; U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 100yd backstroke; 100yd, 250yd freestyle; 100yd , 200yd butterfly; 400m individual medley.
Shelley Mann couldn’t swim at age 10. She began competitive training at age 12. Two years later, she was a National Champion, a multi-world record holder at 15, and an Olympic champion at 17.
This glamour girl of swimming in the early and middle fifties was the only American girl to stand up to the Aussie swimmers’ assault on the 1956 Olympic record book. Shelley was the first great 4 stroke girl winner setting and holding all 400 individual medley records in the years following the transition of the breaststroke as the fourth competitive stroke. She was also world record holder in all 100 and 200 butterfly events and won the 100 meter fly at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
Shelley, in the early ’50s, won U.S. National Championships at various times in 100 backstroke, freestyle and butterfly 250 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley. Much like Donna deVarona of more recent vintage, Shelley Mann won almost any event for which she was primed.
Shelley Mann won 24 National titles alone or as a member of one of the fabulous Walter Reed World and American record relays. She was the super star of Jim Campbell’s and Stan Tinkham’s galaxy that included Mary Freeman, Barbara Hobelmann, Wanda Werner, Gale Peters, Mary Jane Sears, Betty Mullen, Marie Gillett, Dougy Gray, Brenda Dietz and many others. They trained at a hot hospital pool at 6:00 a.m. so as to be through before the patients needed the pool for restorative swimming. This team was so successful that all other swim teams without hospital schedules thought they too should get up and work out at 6:00 a.m.