Monday, April 5, 2010

Helen Wainwright at the Regatta, 1926

This photograph features Olympic swimming champion Helen Wainwright trying out a different kind of sport on the newly constructed tennis courts on Davis Islands in March 1926.

Wainwright earned renown as a two-time Summer Olympics medal winner. In the 1920 games in Antwerp, Belgium, she won a silver medal in the 3 metre springboard diving competition, and in the 1924 games in Paris she won a silver medal in the 400 metre freestyle event.

The native-New Yorker came to Tampa to serve as the chairperson of the water sports meet during the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Regatta. In this role, Wainwright presided over sail boat, canoe, outboard motor and aquaplane races, as well as canoe tilting and aquaplane acrobatics. She also participated in Tampa Bay-bie races, which contested using 150-horse power mahogany speed boats 21 feet in length.

The Tampa Bay Regatta, which ran from March 4-6, was touted as "one of the most elaborate programs of races ever planned for Florida." The races were conducted on a two and on-half mile course located on the west side of Davis Islands in Tampa Bay. The event proved quite successful in its inaugural year of 1925 as over 10,000 spectators attended the three days of races.

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