Bill Mulliken (USA)
Honor Swimmer (1984)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1960 gold 9200m breaststroke); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (200m breaststroke); AAU NATIONALS: 1 (220yd breaststroke); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1 (200yd breaststroke); AMERICAN RECORDS: 5 9200yd, 200m, 220yd breaststroke).
Sometimes it’s not so much who you beat as when you beat them. That’s the case for Bill Mulliken, the Chicago lawyer and Masters swimmer. Mulliken is credited by 1960 U.S. Olympic coach Gus Stager with the surprise Olympic gold medal that inspired the U.S. team to beat the favored Australians. The USA had not won an Olympic breaststroke since 1924, yet nobody should have been too surprised noting Mulliken’s past record. While it was true that Mulliken only occasionally beat the Michigan and Indiana breaststrokers in U.S. Collegiate or AAU competition, he had, on occasion, beaten everybody at everything. As his coach Raymond Ray so proudly put it, “Bill has held, at one time or another, the National Collegiate 200yd (breaststroke) record, the National Indoor 220yd (breaststroke) record, the Pan-American 200m and the Olympic 200m breaststroke records.” Ray might have added the U.S. Olympic trial, for without this one more unexpected win, Bill Mulliken would not have been in Rome to put Australia in his Mulliken stew. Welcome Bill Mulliken to the International Swimming Hall of Fame where winners are always remembered.