TIME photography

This 9-Week-Old Water Baby Was the ‘World’s Youngest Swimmer’

In January 1954, LIFE magazine introduced its readers to a remarkable nine-week-old baby named Julie Sheldon, who lived in Los Angeles and was, according to LIFE, the "world's youngest swimmer."

In January 1954, LIFE magazine introduced its readers to a remarkable nine-week-old baby named Julie Sheldon, who lived in Los Angeles and was, according to LIFE, the “world’s youngest swimmer.” Coached by her grandmother, a children’s swimming instructor, “Julie practices once a day,” LIFE wrote, “faithfully following her morning nap with a 20-minute dip.”

A year-and-a-half later, in June 1955, LIFE published a follow-up story on Julie, lettings its readers know that the then-19-month-old had moved on from mere swimming to intently playing with toys—from a tricycle to a teeter-totter—that her grandmother kept “on the bottom in the 4-foot depths” of the pool.

Julie Sheldon, underwater baby, LIFE mag, screenshot, 1955

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team