Eva Olliwier was the leading female Swedish diver for most of the 1920s.
Eva Olliwier was born in Stockholm in 1904. She was the daughter of Albert Oliver, a tailor, and his wife Alma Maria. Eva Olliwier joined the Stockholms Kappsimningsklubb (SKK) (competitive swimming club) and made her debut at age 14 in the 1918 Swedish championship, at which she won the plain high dive event. She won new championship placings in this event during the period of 1921–1926. When the springboard dive event was introduced to the Swedish championship programme in 1927 she won gold in the event that year and the next. She could not continue her winning trajectory in that event as it was dropped from competitions in the ensuing years. Eva Olliwier was not just a talented diver but she was also a good swimmer. This became evident when she became the Swedish life-saving champion in 1926. Her total haul of Swedish championship gold medals thus came to number ten.
Eva Olliwier competed very successfully in a variety of international contexts. She won the plain high dive event at the Nordic championships on three occasions: in 1919, in 1921, and in 1922.
The first regular so-called women’s world games was held in the spring of 1922. It opened with swimming events, held in Monte Carlo. Svenska Simförbundet (the Swedish swimming federation) submitted five competitors to the event, including Eva Olliwier. She won first place in the plain high dive event, immediately followed by her fellow countrywoman Hjördis Töpel. Eva Olliwier was the only Swede to compete in the springboard dive event, in which she achieved second place.
The European men’s championship was first held in 1926. A women’s event was also introduced at the next championship, held in Bologna the following year – 1927. Svenska Simförbundet selected both Eva Olliwier and Lala Sjöqvist for the plain high dive event. Eva Olliwier was ranked third in the event whilst Lala Sjöqvist came fourth. According to the writer Sim Simson’s column in Idrottsbladet it was down to “pure politicking” by a couple of the judges that the French competitor ended up being ranked above the two Swedes.
Eva Olliwier twice competed at the Olympics. The 1920 Amsterdam Olympics saw the involvement of a range of Swedish divers, several of whom were medallists. Three Swedes competed in the ladies’ plain high dive event. Both Karin Leidnitz and Selma Andersson where knocked out in qualifying rounds whilst Eva Olliwier won her qualifying group. According to Erik Bergvall’s description of the final in De olympiska spelen i Antwerpen 1920, published in 1920, Eva Olliwier’s dives were “better and more confident than they had ever been. It caused a general stir when the competition results were made public and she was only awarded third place.”
There were Swedish competitors in both the plain high dive and the springboard dive events at the 1924 Paris Olympics. A ladies’ event in the springboard dive was first offered at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Eva Olliwier and Hjördis Töpel both competed for Sweden in the plain high dive event. According to Erik Bergvall, Eva Olliwier failed “for the first time ever” to come through the preliminary round and thus was knocked out of the competition. Hjördis Töpel made it into the final and won the bronze medal. Eva Olliwier also competed in the springboard dive, along with another fellow club member, Märta Johansson, and they both advanced to the final. However, there they went up against three American divers, and despite Eva Olliwier performing in Bergvall’s words “excellently” she had to settle for fourth place, just ahead of Märta Johansson.
Eva Olliwier married Eric Torsten Lundqvist, a civil engineer, in 1928. The couple had two children together.
Eva Olliwier died in Stockholm in 1955. She is buried at Bromma cemetery.