Paul_Neumann_(swimmer)

Paul Neumann (swimmer)

Paul Neumann (born June 13 1875 in Vienna – died February 9 1932 in Vienna) was an Austrian swimmer and physician, who competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens and became the first Austrian gold medalist ever.

Born in Vienna, Neumann competed in the 500 and 1,200 metres freestyle events. He won the 500 with a time of 8:12.6, benefitting from the withdrawal of Alfréd Hajós from the event. Hajós had just won the 100 metres, and skipped the 500 in order to prepare for the 1,200. Neumann had no opportunity to rest between the 500 and the 1,200. As a result, he was unable to finish the longer race.

The son of a world renowned physician, Neumann first gained attendance when he won Austria's National River Swimming Championship in 1892.

In 1894, he won the Austrian National championship in the 500 m freestyle (9:24.2 – actually 510 meters).

Following his success at the Athens Olympics, Neumann emigrated to the United States to enroll as a student at the German Medical College in Chicago. In 1897, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he played water polo. He eventually became a physician and also held a doctorate degree in philosophy.

In 1897, Neumann set the world record in the two, three, four, and five-mile swimming events, while competing for the Chicago Athletic Association. That same year, he won the American and Canadian National Freestyle Swimming Championships. In 1898, he was the Canadian National champion in the 880y freestyle.

He also won three U.S. National AAU titles – in the 400 m freestyle, 880 y freestyle, and one-mile event.

In 1986, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a pioneer swimmer.

He is also a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

References

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