Fraze Bungard On U.S. Swim Team
By Martha Strayer, Tri Kappa Sorority
Euphrasia (Fraze) Donnelly Bungard, a resident of Little
Chapman lake, northeast of the city, will watch with renewed interest
this year's Olympic games which get underway this month in Australia.
Participating in the long distance running events is our own local contestant, Max Truex, of Country Club Drive. Fraze will have more knowledge of what Max is encountering in this great athletic experience than most. She is in her own right a former U.S. Olympic swim star.
In 1924, Fraze, now a nurse at the Murphy Medical Center, represented the United States at Paris, Franze. She had a famous teammate, Gertrude Ederle. Also swimming with the women's 400 meter relay team were Ethel Lackie and Marichen Westlau. They broke the world's record and set a new Olympics record by 13 seconds.
One of the proudest moments of her life, Fraze recalls, was when upon winning the event, Old Glory was raised and the National Anthem was played.
Fraze started swimming as a young girl when her family joined a swim club in her home town, Indianapolis. She entered her first meet for the Hoosier Athletic club when she was 10 years old. Her ability as a swimmer was noted by William S. Merriam, of Indianapolis. He became her coach. Under her tutelage Fraze became Indiana and Kentucky free-style and diving champion.
In 1920 Olympic competition was opened to women contestants. Fraze then had a goal to reach. In Detroit she won the four-mile event. In 1924 she went to New York City where she successful competed in Olympic finals, winning a place on the women's 400 meter relay team.
Fraze meets Jack Kelly
"It was a dream come true," Fraze said. She "lived like a queen" that summer in Europe. Among her Olympic traveling companions were Johnny Weismuller, filmdom's famous Tarzan; Duke Kahanamoku, star Hawaiian swimmer; and Jack Kelly, father of Grace Kelly, former movie star and now Princess of Monaco.
All of Fraze's expenses were paid by the United States. She was issued traveling and parade uniforms and many items of swim wear.
Thrilling and unforgettable to Fraze was the parade of champions and the taking of the Olympics oath. There were others. She shook hands with the Prince of Wales; met Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks; and after the Olympic her team gave a command performance for the King and Queen of Belgium in Brussels.
In England, the women's 400 meter relay team also won when it competed against swimmers of the British Empire. Fraze, whose father was of Irish descent, was the U. S. representative chosen to swim in the 100 meter event meet in Ireland which she won.
Upon returning to the States, Fraze turned professional in 1925. She taught swimming for six years at St. Mary's of the Woods school in Terre Haute. Entering a nine-mile professional women's swim meet in Toledo, Ohio, she won first place and $250. She was elated, but after the long pull all she could think about was how hungry she was.
Following this event, there was for Fraze a long period in which she filled many swimming jobs. In 1934 she married Bruce Ray Bungard of Terre Haute. Upon his retirement, they came to Little Chapman lake to live. That is where you will find Fraze today. There you will find her trophies, medals, the coveted Olympics plaque, a bulging scrapbook. If you can get her to talk about her triumphs-she is as modest as most champions-you will have an interesting visit as she reminisces about her many exciting experiences which dated from that all important year, 1924, and the Olympics at Paris.
Advises Future Contestants
Fraze does little swimming now. She keeps fit, bowling regularly at local alleys
Asked what she thought about the Russians' success in athletic today, Fraze replied, "People of other nations have taken over where we left off. Our children aren't in good physical condition. They don't walk enough."
Fraze doesn't agree with those who think our top athletes should be paid. "There is plenty of time to turn professional" she marked.
To those young people who aspire to become members of the U. S. Olympics team, Fraze says, "It's hard work and sacrifice, but it's worth it. When you achieve the goal, it's a dream come true."
The local active chapter of Tri Kappa, of which Fraze is a member, is honoring Fraze by sending a gift to Max Truex in her name, a pair of custom made cuff links bearing the Olympic crest.
1924 Olympics Swim Star, Euphrasia Donnelly Bungard of Little Chapman lake, is pictured at her home with some of the many trophies she won during her career.
Fraze as she appeared in the 1924 Olympics
Famous 400-Meter Relay Team, that particpated in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Left to right they are Marichen Westlau, Ethel Lackie, Euphrasia (Fraze) Donnelly Bungard and Gertrude Ederle.
Warsaw Times Union Saturday November 10, 1956
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