Ellen Elizabeth KING

Great Britain GBR

Swimming

  • Olympic Medals
    2 S
  • Games participations
    2
  • First Olympic Games
    Paris 1924
  • Year of Birth
    1909
Olympic Results

Biography

Ellen Elizabeth KING

The greatest Scottish swimmer of the pre-war era, Ellen King started swimming at Edinburgh's Wallender baths in 1923 aged 14. She won her first ASA title in 1925, when she was the backstroke champion. She won it again in 1926 and 1928 and was second in both 1927 and 1929. After three third-place finishes in the 100 yards freestyle, King eventually won the title in 1930. She also won two breaststroke titles to become the first swimmer to win titles at three different strokes. King also won every Scottish freestyle title available to her at both the junior and senior level. She became the first Scottish swimmer to set a world record when she swam the 200 yards breaststroke in 3:02.0 at Glasgow in 1927. The following year at Southport, she set a world best of 1:57.2 for the 150 yards backstroke. Also in 1928, she broke the 100 metre freestyle world record in her heat at the Olympics Games with a time of 1:22.0, only to see it broken minutes later by the eventual Netherlands gold medallist, Zus Braun.

King won her first major international medal at the 1927 European Championships when, along with Joyce Cooper, Valerie Davies and Marion Laverty, she took the 4 x100 metres freestyle relay gold at Bologna. King then collected two silver medals at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. She was second in the 100 metres backstroke and also in the 4x100 free relay, with Cooper, Cissie Stewart, and Vera Tanner. At the 1930 British Empire Games, when she was captain of the Scotland ladies' team, King went one better and won three medals. She won a silver in the 100 yards freestyle, bronze in the 200 yards backstroke, and another bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay, with Stewart, Jean McDowall and Jessie McVey.

King turned professional in 1934 to concentrate on teaching swimming at Edinburgh schools. She was also coach at the Warrender and Edinburgh University Ladies' swimming clubs and was the Scottish national team coach for several years. After 40-years of teaching King retired in 1974 and, at the age of 65, married her first cousin Alfred Pearson. Her first husband Bobby Macpherson died in 1957. In 2001, nearly seven years after her own death, King's Olympic and other medals were sold at auction and raised over £6,000 for the Alzheimers charity in Scotland, a disease from which she suffered in her later life. King, who continued swimming beyond he age of 80, was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Amsterdam 1928

S
100 metres Backstroke
100 metres Backstroke Swimming
S
4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay
4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay Swimming
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Paris 1924

#4 h1 r1/2
100 metres Backstroke
100 metres Backstroke Swimming

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