Madam Butterfly Turns 70: Happy Birthday Ada, ‘Gentle Giant’ Who Rode A Mexican Wave

Ada Van Der Linden - 70 today (courtesy of Ada)

Today marks the 70th birthday of a butterfly legend from a country that has produced a fine shoal of women swimmers – but just the one Ada Kok. There’ll never be another quite like her. Described as “the gentle giant” of swimming, Kok, the 1968 Olympic 200m butterfly champion, broke more butterfly world records – 9 in all plus a quarter of a 4x100m medley mark – than any other woman ever has to date. She also attracted the following appraisal from Buck Dawson, the first Executive Director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame“… she looks like a football fullback and swims like a fastback”.

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Today marks the 70th birthday of a butterfly legend from a country that has produced a fine shoal of women swimmers – but just the one Ada Kok. There’ll never be another quite like her. Described as “the gentle giant” of swimming, Kok, the 1968 Olympic 200m butterfly champion, broke more butterfly world records – 9 in all plus a quarter of a 4x100m medley mark – than any other woman ever has to date. She also attracted the following appraisal from Buck Dawson, the first Executive Director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame“… she looks like a football fullback and swims like a fastback”.

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