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Johnny Weissmuller

He was the darling of the American newspapers in the 1920's. They showered him with epithets like Human Hydroplane, Prince of the Waves and Aquatic Wonder. Born in Romania to a German couple who emigrated to Chicago four years later, Johnny Weissmuller won every freestyle swimming race he entered right from the age of 17.
Weissmuller was 6 ft 3 in tall and swam much higher in the water than his competitors and had a better breathing technique. In 1922, he became the first to swim 100 metres in less than a minute. In the Paris Olympics of 1924, Weissmuller won the gold medal in the 100 m and 400 m freestyle events and anchored the American team to a gold in the 4x200 m relay. He set world records in all three. In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, Weissmuller won two golds, in the 100 m freestyle and the 4x200 m relay. During a swimming career spanning 8 years, Weissmuller set 51 individual world records, 94 American records and was a member of 13 American record-setting relay teams!
In 1932, he bagged the role of Tarzan the Apeman in the movie series based on Edgar Rice-Burroughs' novel. He also played the role of Jungle Jim, another pulp hero. He was a hero in real life too, once. In 1927, he saved the lives of 11 people when an excursion boat capsized on Lake Michigan.


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