Wally O’Connor (USA)
Honor Water Polo Player (1966)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1924 bronze (water polo); 1928 (member U.S. water polo team); 1932 bronze (water polo); 1936 (member U.S. water polo team); U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: relay team.
Wally O’Connor swam at Stanford for Hall of Fame coach Ernst Brandsten. Much later, he swam on a National Championship relay for Hall of Fame coach Bill Bachrach’s Illinois Athletic Club. O’Connor does not go into the Hall of Fame for his swimming, however, but as his peer’s choice for No. 1 American water polo player.
Certainly he is the most durable, having played water polo for four Olympic teams–1924, 1928, 1932 and 1936– his first and last from the Los Angeles Athletic Club, his middle two from the IAC.
Wally was flag bearer for the 1936 U.S. Olympic team in Berlin. In the Hall of Fame O’Connor joins two of his old Olympic water polo teammates Jam Handy (1924) and Johnny Weissmuller (1924-1928)
O’Connor was the swimming captain at Stanford. He was likewise water polo captain of every team he ever played on from the Venice (California) Swimming Association through Stanford and long years at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.