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Original Issue


A sparkling crop of young women, many still in their teens, could play a vital role in our bid for Olympic supremacy

Thrashing purposefully through the water on the following four pages are some of our brightest young girl swimming stars. Like Sprint and Backstroke Champion Shelley Mann (opposite), they all hold national titles and will be competing in Philadelphia this weekend at the national AAU outdoor championships. For the most part they are lithe, graceful athletes, young enough so that it is reasonable to expect that their greatest performances are yet to come. There is such depth in quality today among U.S. girl swimmers that they are driving each other to successively better performances, rewriting the record book at a clip that promises well for our chances in the 1956 Olympics. Much of this championship talent is concentrated in the powerful Walter Reed Swim Club of Washington, D.C., perennial national team champions. For a look at Walter Reed and its quiet young coach, see page 19.

Mary Jane Sears, Walter Reed Swim Club, is national outdoor and indoor orthodox breaststroke champion. Only 15, she holds the American record of 2:44.9 for 200 yards, set at New Haven, Conn. this winter.

Coralie O'Connor, Lafayette (Ind.) Swim Club, beat Shelley Mann in 100-yard backstroke upset at indoor nationals this spring. She holds the U.S. long-course record for women at 110 yards, with 1:17.1 clocking.

Carolyn Green, 21, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Swimming Association, scored impressive triple victory in long-distance freestyle races at last year's AAU outdoor championships, winning at 400, 800 and 1,500 meters.

Wanda Werner of Walter Reed, 15-year-old Bethesda, Md. 10th grader, holds the long-course record for 220-yard freestyle, won 200-meter freestyle over Argentina's Liliana Gonzalez at Pan-American Games.

Betty Mullen, at 22 oldest of the Walter Reed girls, is an Army lieutenant. Converted from a freestyler to the butterfly stroke, she set a world record time of 1:05.4 for the 100-yard butterfly event earlier this year.