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Zoltán Halmay

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Imrich Zoltán von Halmay (born 18 June 1881 in Magasfalu, Kingdom of Hungary (today Vysoká pri Morave, Slovakia), died in Budapest in 20 May 1956) was a Hungarian open water swimmer. He competed in four Olympics (1900 – 1908).

Athletic Career Highlights

  • He was the first great swimmer from Continental Europe, winning Olympic medals (3 gold + 5 silver + 1 bronze) between 1900 and 1908 at distances ranging from 50 yards to 4,000 meters.
    • 1900 Paris Olympic Games: he won silver medals in 200m freestyle and 4000m freestyle and a bronze medal in the 1000m freestyle
    • 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games: he won gold medals in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. His 50-yard freestyle victory came in a second race after the judges declared a dead heat in the first race between Halmay and J. Scott Leary of the United States in the Life Saving Exhibition Lake.
    • 1906 Athens Olympic Games: he won a gold medal in the 4×250m freestyle relay, a silver medal in the 100m freestyle
    • 1908 London Olympic Games: he won silver medals in the 100m freestyle and 4×200m freestyle relay
  • He was Hungarian champion 14 times.
  • He won the English, the German and the Austrian Championships as well.
  • He was a world record holder at 100 meters and also at 50 and 220 yards.
  • He swam mostly with his arms, without any leg movements, but in 1905 he set what is considered the inaugural record for 100 metres. The record remained unbeaten for more than four years, a remarkable length of time during a period of rapid development in the sport.
  • He was a rower and football player.
  • He won a national-level 5000m championship in roller skating.
  • After his retirement he worked as a trainer, and he was the federal chief trainer of the Hungarian Swimming Association.
  • At the ceremony organized at the main square of the village at present-day Dubrava, Bratislava County, Slovakia, a monument unifying the memorial plaque and the statue of Halmay was set up in collaboration with the Slovak Olympic Committee and the local government of Vysoká pri Morave (Magasfalu).

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