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Lost Olympics Paperback – 7 Mar 2013
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In this well- written biography, Ian McAllister really conveys the excitement, glamour and changes in his grandmother's life, when after the age of 21, she gained the freedom to follow an independent career, free from parental constraints. With the confidence of the big names in the Cunard Shipping line behind her, she was encouraged to pioneer the field of on-board activity and entertainment. With her swimming teaching, games in the pool and on deck and even her popularising of crossword puzzles, Hilda proved herself to be a dynamic and popular member of the cruise boat crew. What destinations she enjoyed and how she relished the opportunities for swimming and sightseeing when in port! These travels led to a fine and lasting romance.
Do read this book and be swept along by the swimming camaraderie, friendships and kindnesses from people in the most unexpected places. Marvel how Hilda made it through and wonder what might have happened to British swimming if she had been allowed to attend those Olympic Games in 1924.
Her family, especially her mother was guided by their religious beliefs which led to some horrid times in her swimming career. They were however, grateful for the job opportunities that came their way through her swimming giving them a good quality of life which they took for granted.
It is hard for us to believe that amateurism was so strict that you had to be aware of what you were taking on in case you lost your amateur status.
The adoption of the American crawl enabled her to break world records and become famous for her talent.
Ian McAllister has taken the notes of his grandmother's life along with his own research and created a well documented account of her life in swimming and how it lead her to a career with the Cunard Shipping Line. Hilda was a swimmer and teacher that lead her to make the learning and teaching of swimming a pleasure.
The book is well worth a read and it is obvious that she would have gone on to greater fame in the sport of Swimming is she had attended the Olympics Games of 1924.
Lost Olympics fully documents all the impressive national and international swimming records held by Hilda and has numerous black and white photographs from the author's family collection.
I really enjoyed reading this book and learning about this unique aspect of UK sporting and maritime history. Highly recommended.
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