Gold Medal, 400-Meter Freestyle
Gold Medal, 4 x 200-Meter Relay
1948 Olympic Games
London, United Kingdom
Bill Smith was already 24 years old when the 1948 Olympics was held; he had graduated from Baldwin High School on Maui and Ohio State University, and many worried he had already peaked as a swimmer.
At Ohio State, he was undefeated in three years of dual meet competition and was a four-time All-American. He had already won fifteen U. S. National Championships; eight NCAA titles, six AAU indoor and one AAU outdoor title, held eighteen American records and seven world records.
In London, Bill was named Captain of the U.S. Olympic Swimming team and competed in the 400-meter freestyle and the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.
In the 400-meters, he finished second in his heat in 4:45.3. In the semifinals, he was second in 4:48.4, and in the finals he set an Olympic record of 4:41.0 and won his first Gold medal.
Bill came back to anchor the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay in the finals where the foursome set world and Olympic records of 8:46.0, adding a second Gold medal to his collection.
Bill moved back to Honolulu after the Olympics. He was one of the first county lifeguards on Oahu and a popular swimming coach.
He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966, the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation Waterman Hall of Fame in 2013.
Bill joined the Outrigger in 1941 on a 20-year Term membership. After being refused entry when he brought his guest, fellow swimmer Keo Nakama, to the Club for lunch because he was of Japanese ancestry, Bill never returned to the Club. His membership terminated in 1961 at the end of his term.
200-Meters Freestyle, 2:06:2, Columbus, Ohio, 2/12/1944
220 Yards Freestyle, 2:07.7, Honolulu, TH, 5/15/1941
220 Yards Freestyle, 2:07.1, Columbus, Ohio, 2/12/1944
400 Meters Freestyle, 4:38.5, Honolulu, TH, 4/16/1941
400-Meters Freestyle, 4:41.0, London, (Olympic record)
440 Yards Freestyle, 4:38.5, Honolulu TH, 5/13/1941
880 Yards Freestyle, 9:54.6, New London, Conn, 8/10/1942
800 Meter Freestyle, 9:50.9, Honolulu TH, 7/24/1941
400 Yards Freestyle Relay (4×100) Great Lakes Naval Training Center (anchor leg), 3:24.5, Columbus, Ohio, 2/12/1944
800 Meter Freestyle Relay 8:46 .0, U.S. (anchor) London, August 3, 1948
*World records provided by ISHOF 2019