Australia/New Zealand
TeamAustralia/New Zealand
Olympic Medals
Games Participations1
First Olympic GamesStockholm 1912
Year of Birth1888


Harold Hardwick began swimming at an early age and, at age 16 while attending Fort Street High School, he became the Sydney Public Schools' swimming champion. He also played rugby in the school's first XV and captained its lifesaving team. A regular at Frederick Cavill's baths, Hardwick mastered the new “Australian crawl” stroke invented by Dick Cavill and learned the Trudgeon stroke for long distances.

Hardwick won New South Wales championships in the 100 yds freestyle in 1908-09, and 220 yds, 300 yds, 440 yds, and mile freestyle in 1909. In 1911 Hardwick won the 220 yds, 440 yds and 880 yds freestyle at the Australasian Championships and was sent to represent Australasia at the Festival of Empire in London, a precursor to the Commonwealth Games to commemorate the coronation of George V. At London, Hardwick competed in both swimming and boxing, something he had first trained in at age 10, winning the Empire 100 yds title and two days later the Empire heavyweight title. He also won the 100 yds, 220 yds and 440 yds freestyles at the 1911 British Amateur Swimming Association championships and on his return home was named Australian Sportsman of the Year.

Hardwick competed at the 1912 Olympics, where he was a member of the Australasian team that won the 4x200 m freestyle relay gold with world records of 10:14.0, set in round one, and 10:11.2 in the final. Hardwick also won bronze medals in the 400 m and 1,500 m freestyles.

After returning from the Olympics, Hardwick stopped swimming internationally, concentrating on boxing and rugby. In 1910, Hardwick had been selected for New South Wales to play rugby against a visiting American universities team and representing Eastern Suburbs RUFC, Hardwick won the Sydney premierships (later named Shute Shield) in 1913. In 1914 Hardwick won the New South Wales amateur heavyweight boxing championship and in 1915 he turned professional, signing to appear for the promoter Snowy Baker. The same year, Hardwick won the Australian heavyweight title, but lost it to Les Darcy in February 1916. Hardwick’s career was interrupted by World War I and he finished his boxing career with a record of 4 wins (1 KO) and 5 losses (3 KOs). Hardwick was also a founding member of Manly Surf Club and won the New South Wales surf lifesaving championships with them in 1914.

Hardwick enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1917 and served with the No. 2 Signal Squadron as a sapper in the Middle East. In April 1919 at the Inter-Theatre of War Boxing Tournament at Aldershot, England, Hardwick won the heavyweight boxing title and chosen by his fellow competitors, he was awarded a cup as the “Ideal Sportsman” of the British forces. At the Inter-Allied Games held in Paris in 1919 Hardwick was a member of the victorious Australian 4x200 free relay team. On his return home, Hardwick's application for reinstatement as an amateur was rejected by the New South Wales Amateur Swimming Association and he retired from sports.

In 1920 Hardwick joined the Department of Education as supervisor of swimming and was responsible for organizing holiday swimming schools throughout the New South Wales. In 1938 he directed the schoolchildren's display at Australia's 150th Anniversary Celebrations. He retired as deputy-director of physical education in February 1953. In 1921 Hardwick had been commissioned in the Militia and as a temporary lieutenant-colonel he commanded the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signals from 1940 until his transfer to the Reserve of Officers in April 1942 as a colonel. Hardwick was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and since 1959 the Harold Hardwick Memorial Trophy has been awarded annually to the winner of the New South Wales 100 m freestyle schoolboy title.

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