google10fa0980c6101c7f.html The Many Faces of Death: DEATH of an Olympian by Accidental Shooting - Kevin O'Halloran, AUSTRALIA


The stories mentioned on this site are of real deaths (famous or otherwise), and may contain graphic pics, text and/or videos. This site is NOT for the squeamish or Faint of Heart! You have been warned.

Strange as their stories may be, they were flesh and blood once, and were loved by people who knew them. Let's respect the deaths of those who have been mentioned....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

0 DEATH of an Olympian by Accidental Shooting - Kevin O'Halloran, AUSTRALIA

(l-r) Jon Henricks, John Devitt, Murray Rose
& Kevin O'Halloran
Photo source
In 1956, the Aussies dominated in the pool at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. Some of their swimming competitors went on to become some of Australia's best, including Kevin O'Halloran, seen here in this team who won the men's 200m freestyle...

Kevin O'Halloran (3 March 1937 – 5 July 1976) was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1950s who won a gold medal in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. The first Western Australian to win Olympic gold, O'Halloran learnt to swim in his home town of Katanning. He moved to Perth to attend secondary schooling at Guildford Grammar School, where he became more committed to swimming.

Katanning was one of the few country towns in Western Australia that had a public swimming pool. Along with his siblings, O'Halloran learned to swim there, often defeating local boys who were four years his senior. At the age of eight, he was taught to swim competitively by his teacher at Katanning State Primary School, who was an age group champion in her youth.

In 1953, O'Halloran placed second in the 110 yd and 440 yd freestyle events at the Western Australian Championships in the open division and won the 110 yd breaststroke and the 110 and 220 yd freestyle in the junior division. In the process, he cut six seconds from the state record in the 440 yd event. He was selected for the Western Australian team for the Australian Championships, but his parents and headmaster decided that his schooling was more important.

O'Halloran made his national debut at the 1955 Australian Championships in Adelaide; he finished fifth in the 110 yd freestyle behind future Olympians Jon Henricks and John Devitt.

[Gold medal winning Australian male 4 x 200 metres freestyle
relay swimming team, Jon Henricks, Murray Rose,
John Devitt and Kevin O'Halloran,
Olympic Games, Melbourne, 3 December 1956]
Picture source

Upon the recommendation of his parents, O'Halloran moved to Sydney in late 1955 to train with Frank Guthrie in an attempt to qualify for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. O'Halloran boarded with a host family and worked in a wool store to pay his expenses. O'Halloran's initiation into Guthrie's training program was difficult. After seeing O'Halloran's freestyle technique for the first time, Guthrie asked him "Can you swim any other stroke? If you are going to swim for me you'll have to learn all over again." O'Halloran refined his style and increased his workload to around 10 km a day, something that was normal for competitive swimmers in the eastern states, but uncommon in Western Australia.  In one month, he cut 17 s off his personal best time in the 440 yd freestyle, reducing it to 4 min 55 s. At the 1956 New South Wales Championships, he finished third in the 220 yd freestyle behind Gary Chapman and Devitt; his time of 2 min 12.6 s was 10 s faster than the times he had recorded in Western Australia. He came fourth in both the 110 yd and 440 yd; his time in the latter event was more than 30 s faster than his best time in Western Australia, and in the former event he breached the 60 s barrier for the first time. At the Australian Championships, he came third in the 440 yd freestyle in a time of 4 min 37.8 s behind Murray Rose and Murray Garretty. He did this despite suffering from ear trouble, making him the fifth fastest swimmer in the world for the calendar year, which earned him an individual berth in the 400 m event at the Olympics. O'Halloran came fourth in the 220 yd in a time of 2 min 9.2 s to earn a berth on the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay squad. With Rose, Henricks and Chapman regarded as certain selections for the final quartet, O'Halloran was expected to battle for the fourth relay position. At the end of the trials, Guthrie claimed that O'Halloran was "the find of the recently held Australian Championships and the future swimmer for Australia. I am confident that we did not see Kevin's best times this season."

Eventual Death...

In 1958, O'Halloran's parents traveled across the continent to watch him swim at the Australian Championships in Sydney, but a recurring ear infection hindered his performances. He missed selection for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and retired after the long car journey back across the Nullarbor. Upon arriving in Kojonup, O'Halloran was reported to have said, "I've had enough". O'Halloran then worked full-time on the family property.

In 1976, his body was discovered next to a rifle, near a fence on the property; he had tripped as he climbed through the fence, and accidentally shot himself. O'Halloran had never married. The 50 m pool at Kojonup was named the Kevin O'Halloran Memorial Pool in his honour, and he was posthumously inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions.

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