AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: MICHAEL RICHMAN
The year was 1920. Johnny Weissmuller, then 16 and a slender 6 feet, 160 pounds, had huge potential as a swimmer. But his techniques, particularly his arm stroke, were pathetic.
He was trying to make the prestigious Illinois Athletic Club, swimming 100 yards under the eye of coach Bill Bacharach. But 100 yards was about five times his normal swimming length. While he plowed through the water at peak speed, he became exhausted at the 25-yard mark and could hardly proceed.
But it became a fateful moment for Weissmuller. While witnessing Weissmuller's shortcomings, Bacharach advised him to swim for form, not speed. Acceleration would come as a byproduct of proper form, said Bacharach, then known as the best swimming coach in America.
That tip proved to be the perfect medicine for Weissmuller, for it helped him become the world's best swimmer in the early 20th century. Always keeping it in mind, he won gold medals at the …