On This Date: Swimming World Record Set in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara News-Press Front Page

The front page of the Santa Barbara News-Press on July 7, 1940.

The date was July 7, 1940 at the AAU National Championships held in Santa Barbara, California. The venue was the Coral Casino, a seaside beach club that had a pool and diving platform very close to Olympic proportions.

It was the final day of the meet that saw Adolph Kiefer, a prominent swimmer from Chicago, dominate while re-writing two world records on top of a handful of American records. He completed his performance by setting the world record in the 110-yard backstroke, for which he was credited with the world’s fastest time in the 100 meters and 100 yards.

The entire event lasted four days. Later that year, the 1940 Olympics were called off because of Nazi aggression in Europe.

In this post you will see a photo of the Santa Barbara News-Press’ front page from July 7, 1940. It shows a choreographed jump by six divers from the Coral Casino’s multi-platformed diving tower. Removed in the 1980s, the diving platform was reportedly used by the rich and famous, including Johnny Weissmuller and Errol Flynn.

Evidence of Semana Nautica’s long history is contained in the image below, another newspaper clipping from the same event in 1940 that includes a report on Semana Nautica’s Tub Derby competition.

Coral Casino AAU Swimming Championships