Helen Johns Carroll
Helen Johns Carroll
Hometown: Medford, MA
Team: Swimming & Diving

Helen Johns Carroll '36
Hometown:
Medford, MA
Sport:
Swimming & Diving
Year Inducted:
1981

Helen Johns Carroll ’36 was swimming in a pool in Brookline, Mass., in 1930 when Coach Jim McNamaree saw her move through the water with effortless grace and predicted that she could make the 1932 Olympic team. During the next 15 months, Miss Johns trained diligently and competed successfully in the New England Area. She broke the record of Albina Osipowich ’33 (a Gold Medal Olympic winner in 1928) and became the N.E. freestyle champion, all while she was still in high school. In July of 1932, Miss Johns finished fourth in the Olympics trials at Jones Beach and won a place on the United States team in the 10th Olympiad in Los Angeles, along with Eleanor Holm, Buster Crabbe, and a young runner named Babe Didrickson. The U.S. women’s 400-meters relay team won its event in 4:38, breaking the world’s record in the process. That unit included Josephine McKim of Los Angeles, Helen Johns of Medford, Eleanor Gerrati-Saville of San Francisco, and world champion Helene Madison of Seattle. Japan, making its first appearance in Olympic swimming, provided the toughest competition in the five-team field. Coming to Brown that fall, Miss Johns hoped to team with Albina Osipowich ’33 to smash all collegiate competition. It wasn’t to be, as a ruptured appendix sidelined Miss Johns for the season. During the next three years, however, she was unbeatable in the freestyle events and as an anchor on the relay units. Miss Johns, who captained the team her senior season, comes from a Brown family. Her uncles were the late Ken Nash ’12 (Brown Hall of Fame – Baseball) and Reggie Nash ’14, and one of the five cousins, all of whom attended Brown, was the late Tommy Nash ’40 (Brown Hall of Fame – Football). Mrs. Carroll retired as a middle school teacher of the handicapped in Sumter, S.C., a year ago. She has two daughters and six grandchildren. Her husband, Eugene J. Carroll, died in 1971.