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Bernard Freyberg, New Zealand Swimmer and Military Hero

      Bernard Freyberg was a New Zealander who distinguished himself both in swimming and in war.

Born in London in 1889, Freyberg was taken to New Zealand as a child. He was a strong swimmer and won numerous national titles. He trained at what once was 'Te Aro Baths' at Oriental Bay, which to this day, the now modernised waterfront landmark honours his name, called the 'Freyberg Pool & Fitness Centre'.

Freyberg served in both World War I and World War II and became one of the most decorated soldiers of the British Empire. After World War II, he capped his military career by serving as New Zealand's first Governor-General from 1946 to 1952.

After the end of World War I, Freyberg returned to swimming for rehabilitation. He attempted two English channel crossings, which were both unsuccessful due to strong tides (1925) and strong winds, causing a heavy sea (1926).

Freyberg was such a man to actively seek out challenges. He would "choose to battle against individuals, institutions the natural elements or simply that state of civilisation. These types of people look for challenges by which to test themselves." (Swimming World)

You can read more about Freyberg in Swimming World's article below. The article describes Freyburg's early years in swimming, his military career and his open water endeavours.



Freyberg in Swimming World.pdf