Maria Lenk was an avid swimmer from Brazil just waiting for the day that she can compete in the Olympic Games. Well she got her wish in 1932 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. A young 17 year old was no doubt one of the greatest athletes Brazil had to offer.
She made history when she became the first Brazilian and South-American women to compete in the Games. She also was the first Brazilian to actually set a world record in swimming. Competing for national ranks, she made outstanding accomplishments over the years, with one of them being, the first women in the entire world to swim the butterfly stroke in an official competition.
Her dreams were sadly cut short when WWII happened and the games were cancelled. She could have easily have more Olympic history that year if only the chance was open for her. She later retired her swimsuit in 1942 but still competed for Masters events.
In 1988, she was inducted into the FINA Swimming Hall of Fame and awarded the “Top Ten” award only given to the best of the best masters swimmers around the world. In 2004, she received the Adhemar Ferreira da Silva Trophy for her lifetime achievements. In February of 2007, the mayor of Brazil named their newest Aquatic Park venue after her, that held events for swimming and diving. One of her biggest moments, even though it happened after her passing, the Brazilian Swimming Trophy had changed its name to the Maria Lenk Trophy in honor of her outstanding accomplishments throughout her lifetime.
Her name will forever be remembered and her accomplishments and efforts will forever shine in Brazil and throughout the sporting world. She deserves the utmost respect and credibility for her triumphs and earned every bit of recognition she received. She definitely set the bars high for swimming athletes everywhere!