About John Konrads

John Konrads and his sister Ilsa rewrote the swimming world record books in the late 1950’s and early ’60’s. John was 15 and Ilsa was 13 when they set literally dozens of world records.

After three Olympics, with Gold in the 1500m in Rome 1960, John went on to coach swimming before starting a notable corporate career. In the last 10 years he has returned to his love of swimming instruction through his ‘Swim Easy System’ as well as being a regular on the guest speaking circuit.

John Konrads was born in Riga, Latvia in 1942. He graduated from Sydney Technical High School and studied Business at the University of Southern California from 1961 to 1964.

One of the world’s great swimmers, John held numerous world records in 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle as well as relays, and represented Australia at three Olympics, 1956, ‘60 and ‘64. He is an Olympic Gold medalist (1500 Freestyle, Rome 1960) and triple Commonwealth Gold medalist (Cardiff 1958). Together with his sister Ilsa, the Konrads Kids were the superstars of world swimming.

Retiring from swimming after the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, John developed strong communications and mentoring skills as a swimming coach in Sydney and later in Paris, France where he also started his business career.

John has a distinguished career in Australian corporate life. For more than a decade he was Managing Director of the Australasian operations for the world’s largest personal care products company L’Oreal. He then went on to be General Marketing Manager for Ansett in the lead up to airline deregulation. In th first half of the 1990’s he was Chief Executive of the Melbourne Major Events Company where he was responsible for attracting many high profile events to the city including the Grand Prix.

Returning to the Olympic City of Sydney in 1996, he consulted in marketing, sports venue development and executive coaching. In 1999 he won the tender for managing the Cook+Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre, which was his principal focus until selling out in 2007.

John has been a director of several public companies in the cosmetics and travel industries and has been decorated by the French Government with the National Order of Merit.

His sporting achievements are recognized by membership of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Fact File:

  • Born 21 May 1942 in Riga, Latvia
  • Married, three children
  • Graduated from Sydney Technical High School Leaving Certificate1959, studied Business at University of Southern California 1961-1964 on sports scholarship, no degree.
  • Fluent in French, tourist German [good accent], regrettably forgotten Latvian.

Sport

  • Member, Sports Australia Hall of Fame
  • Member, International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • One of nine “Legends of Australian Swimming” at Sydney International Aquatic Centre, Homebush.
  • Founding President of the Olympians Club, 1983
  • Master of Ceremonies, International Olympic Committee Congress Sydney 2000.
  • As attaché to the Central African Republic Olympic Team at Sydney 2000, John was officially honoured as a team member, so it was his 4th Olympics!

Business/Other

  • Honoured by the French Government “National Order of Merit” for services to commerce.
  • Board Member, Black Dog Institute 2000-2009
  • Board Member, Advertising Standards Bureau, 1998-2008
  • Several Board Memberships in the travel and cosmetics industries in the 1970’s and 80’s

World records:

  • 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m long course freestyle, a total of 12 times
  • 4 times relay world records, 4x200m, 4x100m
  • Numerous world records in yards distances recognized by FINA, often in the same swim as the meters records for a total of 36 records in metersand yards.

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4 Responses

  1. […] Olympia-Gold (1500 m Freistil), 2x Bronze 1960 – Commonwealth-Champion 1958 (400 m, 1500 m). johnkonrads.com.au, Google […]

  2. Hi John
    I’m sure you have seen this before but we just posted this on You Tube. We have a couple of other films featuring you and Ilsa as well.

    Hope you are well and enjoying the Sunshine Coast

  3. John, could you please send me your email address It seems that my address is obsolete. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER

  4. Wow! I had forgotten how formidable they were! Would anyone have a copy of a photo appearing in Pix magazine showing John playfully pulling Ilsa’s hair?

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