1901 - 1970
Richmond “Dick” Eve, Australia’s only diving gold medallist of the 20th century, learned the craft of diving around what was virtually his own backyard: his father’s Manly Baths on Sydney Harbour. He had little formal training, but his aquatic genes were immaculate. His mother Fredda was a member of the famous Cavill family, a clan which had a mighty impact on early Australian swimming. His father Fred was Sydney’s celebrated “professor of swimming”, and her brothers Ernest, Percy, Arthur, Charles, Sydney and Dick were all champions. Dick Eve and his brothers, Jim and Allan, won a variety of swimming and diving championships, and Jim went on to become secretary-treasurer of the Australian Olympic Federation. Dick, whose assets included a powerful but neat physique, won Australia’s first official diving championship in 1921, and retained it for the following four years.
For Eve and the Australian swimming team, most of whom came from Manly, the five-week voyage to Europe for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris was not conducive to training. Their ship, the Ormonde, possessed a shallow canvas swimming pool three metres square. Eve entered three events in Paris: the springboard, the fancy high-board and the plain high-board. Although suffering from nagging ear problems exacerbated by his tower diving, he won gold in the plain high-board with his last dive, a perfect swallow. He finished fifth in the final of the springboard, and ear pain forced his withdrawal from the fancy high-board. After the Games he won the “national graceful diving championship” at Highgate Ponds, as well as various other English tournaments.
Harry Gordon, AOC Historian