Lynette McKenzie | Australian Olympic Committee

Lynette's Story

Lyn McClements was a trailblazer: the first Australian woman to win an Olympic Games butterfly gold medal. She did so at the age of 17 in Mexico City in 1968, setting an Olympic record in the final of the 100 metres butterfly to win from the Americans Ellie Daniels and Suzie Shields, as well as the world record-holder Ada Kok (Netherlands). McClements, as asthmatic, grew up in Perth, surfed and swam often, and was a latecomer to the stroke which brought her glory. In state junior championships, under the coaching of Harry Kelly, she tackled freestyle and backstroke events. After flirtation with the medley, in which she found she could handle the butterfly leg well, she joined the squad of another coach, Kevin Duff, and concentrated on the butterfly. Within a year she won the state and national 100m butterfly titles, and was chosen for the 1968 Olympic Games. 

Her first event at the Games was the 4 x 100m medley relay, in which she combined with Lynne Watson (backstroke), Judy Playfair (breaststroke) and Janette Steinbeck (freestyle) in the final to win the silver medal. It was a youthful team: Watson and Playfair were both 15, and McClements and Steinbeck 17. In the final of the 100m butterfly event, McClements led all the way to score an upset win. She did not progress beyond her heat in the 200, which was won by Ada Kok. After some frustrating experiences (a disqualification in 1970 and an expenses dispute in 1972), her swimming career ended before her 21st birthday.

Harry Gordon, AOC Historian

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