Country: South Africa
Born: January 16, 1909, in Capetown, South
Died: September 4, 1969
Harry Getz, president of the South African Amateur Swimming Union
and a three-term executive member of International Swimming Federa- tion
(FINA), was South Africa’s ambassador to the world sporting community.
Getz served swimming in many roles for more than 40 years. Beginning
at the 1948 Olympic Games, he officiated in swimming and/or water
polo as timekeeper or referee at every Olympiad until his death. He
was named chief judge of Swimming at both the 1964 Tokyo and 1968
Mexico Olympic Games, despite the exclusion of South African athletes
from both quadrennial events.
When he was not officiating, Getz was often a radio or television commentator
on swimming, water polo, and soccer events, including the
Olympic Games of 1948 and 1952.
“Hurry” Getz, as one South African sportswriter dubbed
the nickname to Getz’s constant globetrotting—held
positions in South African sports, including pre–World
War II secretary
and post-war chairman of the Water Polo Olympics and British
Games Association, and president of the Water Polo Association
In 1954, he was appointed to the FINA International
Committee, a selection that made him the first South African
serve on a FINA committee. From 1960 until his death, Getz
was an executive
member of FINA. From 1957 to 1960, he served on FINA’s
Water Polo Board.
An outstanding swimmer and water polo athlete himself, Getz
Western Province Curry Cup (national championship) competitor
1928 to 1934.