Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Swimming
Inducted: 1994
Country: United States
Born: May 15, 1879
Died: July 1959

William Bachrach, standing left,
with his 1915 team.

Bachrach with his well known
proteges Weissmuller and Borg.

The most successful water sport coach prior to World War II, William Bachrach was head coach of the 1924 and 1928 United States Olympic Teams. His men and women swimmers captured 13
gold medals in Paris in 1924 and 10 gold medals at the Amsterdam Olympics of 1928.

Bachrach himself developed four swimmers who won gold medals at the 1924 Games: Johnny Weissmuller (100 and 200-Meter Freestyles, and 800-Meter Relay), Bob Skelton (200-Meter
Breaststroke), Ethel Lackie (100-Meter Freestyle and 400-Meter Relay), and Sybil Bauer (100-Meter Backstroke). Weissmuller also won a pair of gold medals at the 1928 Olympics, in 100-Meter Freestyle and 800-Meter Relay.

Other champions developed by Bachrach are American champion Mike McDermott and Olympic star Norman Ross, Sr., winner of gold medals in the 400 and 1,500-Meter Freestyles and 800-Meter Relay at the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

As a coach, Bachrach was called “the beloved tyrant.” Starting out as a swimming instructor at the Chicago Central YMCA, he later moved to the Illinois Athletic Club (IAC) and reigned there as coach of swimming and water polo from 1912 to 1954. His 1914 to 1917
IAC water polo teams captured the U.S. national championships for four consecutive years.

Bachrach was one of 16 children and served in the Spanish American War.


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