Susan Bassett, director of William Smith athletics, was quoted in The Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.) on women's participation in sports. The story, “A swimmer's remembrances,” featured Kathleen Eschmann, who became part of the nation's first wave of female competitive swimmers and fell one spot short of competing in the 1928 Olympics.
Competitive swimming was one of the few sports — along with figure skating and tennis — considered acceptable for women in the 1920s, but the accomplishments of Eschmann and other early female swimmers certainly were hard won, said Bassett.
“In the early 1900s, it was still quite a concern that women would injure themselves by being too physical,” Bassett said. “(They) would have had to overcome some tremendous social and gender barriers to train and compete. It could not have possibly been an easy or popular thing for a young woman to do.”