Ilsa Konrads (swimming) was a swimming sensation at the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games upsetting highly experienced teammates Dawn Fraser and Lorraine Crapp to win gold in the women’s 440-yard freestyle at just 14-years-old. Ilsa and her older brother John emigrated to Australia from their native Latvia with their family to escape the outbreak of World War II, settling in Sydney where the siblings trained under the legendary swim coach Don Talbot. The siblings rewrote the swimming world record books in the late 1950s and early 1960s and became national heroes earning the pair the nickname of the Konrad Kids. In the lead up to the Rome 1960 Olympics, Ilsa broke the world records in the 440-yard, 400m, 1500m and 1650-yard freestyle events. However at the Games, Ilsa just 16-years-old, suffered from nerves which saw the teenager eliminated in the heats of the 100m freestyle and finished fourth in the 400m freestyle, swimming some 12 seconds slower than her personal best time. Her last competition was at the Perth 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games where she claimed silver in the 440-yard freestyle event. Ilsa Konrads was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2000, she received an Australian Sports Medal.
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