Merki , Nancy
As a child in Portland, Oregon Nancy Merki contracted polio and took up swimming as therapy for the disease. During her outstanding career she set American records in the 200 meter, 400 meter and 800 meter freestyle events. In 1941, while a teenager she won the Amateur Athletic Union 1500 meter event and set the world record by 17 seconds while competing for the Multnomah Athletic Club. From 1939 to 1949 she helped the Multnomah Athletic Club win three national team swimming championshps. She was a finalist in the 1948 Olympics competing in the 400 meter freestyle event. Merki finished her great career with 19 individual American records and at 15 years of age finished sixth in balloting for the James E. Sullivan Award for the top amateur athletic in the United States.