Shirley Babashoff (USA )
Honor Swimmer (1982)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1972 gold (relay), silver (100m, 200m freestyle); 1976 gold (relay), silver (200m, 400m, 800m freestyle; relay); WORLD RECORDS: 11 (200m, 400m, 800m freestyle; 5 relays); AAU NATIONALS: 27 (100m, 200m, 400m freestyle; 11 relays); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 gold (200m, 400m freestyle), silver (2 relays); 1975 gold (200m, 400m freestyle), silver (2 relays), bronze (800m freestyle); AMERICAN RECORDS: 39 (100m, 200m, 400m 500m, 800m freestyle; 22 relays).
One of the great women freestylers of all time is Shirley Babashoff. During her 11-year swimming career, mostly with the Mission Viejo Nadadores Shirley was 1974 U.S.A. Sportswoman of the Year, “Swimming World” magazine’s American Swimmer of the Year for 1976, and a 39-time American Record holder. Her greatest meet was the 1976 Olympic Trials in which she won all freestyle events and the 400 I.M., while setting three American records in the prelims, 3 more in the finals, and a world record in the 800 freestyle finals. Her Olympic and world championship achievements were only slightly less spectacular. In the Olympics, she won two silvers and a relay gold in 1972 and followed this with three frustrating silvers and anchoring the gold medal freestyle relay in 1976. In the World Championships at Belgrade and Cali, she won 2 golds, 7 silvers and a bronze. This hard-swimming iron woman also won 27 U.S. AAU Nationals, set 11 World Records and was high point winner 5 times in the U.S. Nationals.