Charles Olsen, ‘crack’ swimmer

Charles Olsen was a swimmer with a leg amputation, who competed in many swimming carnivals in Queensland and several interstate championships. He mostly competed in handicap sprint events against able-bodied swimmers.  In 1914 he travelled to Adelaide and Perth to compete in the Australasian Championships with a Queensland team.  In Perth he won the Consolation Handicap over 50 yards.

Olsen also competed in the Australasian Championship in Brisbane in 1914, when this photo was taken.

Although specialising in short sprint events, Olsen swam in a three mile marathon event in the Bremer River, winning the handicap event in 1915, in a field which included one other one-legged swimmer.

Olsen took part in tours of regional Queensland with teams of Brisbane swimmers, competing in swimming races and putting on exhibitions of fancy swimming and diving. He is mentioned in The first 100 years: a history of the Queensland Swimming Association 1898-1998 as having a key role in promoting diving in Queensland.

Based on this blog post by Simon Miller – Library Technician, State Library of Queensland.