Strange Trivia in Sports: Swimming and Diving

Some strange trivia, facts, records, and events in the history of the sports diving and swimming.


Alex Wickham, of the Solomon Islands, set a high dive record of 205'9"--the height of a 20-story building--in 1918. Gamblers at the site of the dive, an Australian cliff, offered 5-to-1 odds that he would not make the dive, and 10-to-1 that if he did dive he wouldn't live. Wickham lost consciousness before he hit the water, but survived. His bathing suit was torn off by the force of the landing, and his entire body was black and blue for several weeks.

The Orthlieb Pool in Casablanca, Morocco, is the largest swimming pool in the world. It measures 1,574' long and 246' wide, or 8.9 acres in size. The Orthlieb is filled with saltwater.

The speed record for "ice" swimming was set by Wilhelm Simons of Berlin, Germany, on February 3, 1968. In the 35.6 degree water of the river Riessersee, Simons swam 30 mi. in 43.7 seconds. He was 69 years old.

When Zoe Ann Olsen of Oakland, Calif., defended her National Diving championship in 1949 at Seattle, Wash., she had her arm and right hand in a cast.

In 1930, Johnny Pearce, 17, of Zebulan, N.C., swam 2 1/2 mi. with a lighted pipe in his mouth.

During a 22-mi. swim from Catalina Island to San Pedro, Calif., Issac Papke was accompanied for 12 hours 45 minutes by a 30' whale. The whale got very close to papke but never touched him. Afterward, Papke said that he enjoyed the company but worried because "whales can swallow people."

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