Jane Gylling was one of the nation’s best swimmers around 1920. She was a member of the Gothenburg women’s swimming club SK Najaden.
Jane Gilling was born in Visby in 1902 shortly after parents had just moved there. They decided to leave Gotland by the following year already and settled in Gothenburg. No information exists on when and why Jane Gylling became interested in swimming. She joined Göteborgs Damers Simklubb (Gothenburg ladies’ swimming club) at an early point. She enjoyed her first major success at the 1916 Svenska Spelen (Swedish Games) in which some events also counted as Swedish championship competitions. The 4x100 metre relay freestyle for ladies did not carry championship status and was thus referred to as a ‘national competition’. The Göteborgs Damers Simklubb won a gold medal for it, just ahead of Göteborgs Simklubb. Jane Gylling, then only 14 years old, was part of the winning team.
Following the establishment of SK Najaden in 1917 Jane Gylling transferred to that club. She immediately proved her reliable ability in individual events as well. At the 1917 Swedish championship competition held in Malmö she was only defeated by Emy Machnow from Malmö Simsällskap and thus was awarded the silver medal. Intense rivalry ensued between Jane Gylling and Emy Machnow over the next two years, in 1918 and 1919, and both times Jane Gylling came out the victor. Jane Gylling never earned any more medals at this distance but in 1922 she won a silver medal and in 1921 she had won a bronze medal. Jane Gylling still managed to win two further gold medals: two years running she won the life-saving event, which was first included in the championships in 1921. These wins showed that she was a reliable all-rounder within swimming. Jane Gylling’s Swedish championship activities seem to end there as she appears not to have competed in either 1923 or 1924.
A thorough investigation of the local press reveals that Jane Gylling became District champion in Gothenburg in the 100 metre freestyle in 1916, 1917, and 1918. The last year she also won gold at the District championship for 100 metre backstroke. In 1919 she was defeated in the freestyle by Aina Berg and in the backstroke by Ebba Richter, both of whom were fellow club members. Whatever disappointment this generated it was quickly replaced the following weekend when she won both the 100 metre sidestroke and the 200 metre freestyle at the Dano-Swedish competitions in Copenhagen. At that same tournament, in 1920, Jane Gylling once again was the victor and thus became the last holder of a contested trophy. At the championships organised by the Gothenburg Centralföreningen för Gymnastik- och Idrottssällskapen (central organisation for gymnastics and sports associations) in 1919 and 1920 Jane Gylling won the 100 metre freestyle in the former and in the 100 metre backstroke in the latter. Jane Gylling was a representative of SK Najaden on the so-called Centralföreningen authority, namely a formal national board, for several years.
Jane Gylling set Swedish records on two occasions during her career. Both times were set for the 100 metre freestyle. At the 1917 District championship Jane Gylling succeeded in becoming the first Swede to swim faster than 1:30 minutes, finishing in 1: 28.6. When Emy Machnow won that distance at the Swedish championship a few weeks later she did it in 1:28.4, although it seems that her time was not accepted. According to press reports Jane Gylling set a new record for the 100 metre freestyle in July 1920 with a time of 1:28.5. This only lasted for a week. Carin Nilsson, from the Stockholm Kappsimningsklubb, took the record off her by producing a very fast swim of 1:26.0. This was a time Carin Nilsson herself managed to better a couple of times that same summer.
Before the Antwerp Olympic games in 1920 selection competitions, which also served as the Swedish championships, were held in Stockholm. SK Najaden sent several of their swimmers to compete. Some of the competing women, including Jane Gylling, were selected to travel to Belgium. Although Swedes competed in various events Sweden only won a single medal at the games, namely, the 4x100 metre freestyle relay bronze. This was not such a major achievement given that there were only three teams in the race. The Swedish team included Jane Gylling,  (/en/article?search=Aina+Berg), Emy Machnow and Carin Nilsson. Jane Gylling also competed individually in the 100 metre freestyle. By coming second in her heat she made the final, however, the competition was too strong and she ended up in sixth place. Jane Gylling also qualified for the 300 metre freestyle, and once again came sixth. American swimmers won all the other medals in both events.
Jane Gylling did not often appear in results lists during 1923. She did however compete in Sveriges Idrottsspel competitions held in Gothenburg. She did the 100 metre backstroke and attained seventh place out of eight competitors. She was well beaten by her sister and fellow club member Maud Gylling, who achieved third place. Maud, born in 1906, often competed successfully in local events. She became District champion of the 100 metre backstroke in both 1920 and 1921.
The draw of the 1924 Olympics pulled Jane Gylling into undertaking serious preparations. She was at the selection races held in Stockholm in mid-June. Her efforts led to her being selected for the games to compete in the 400 metre freestyle and to be a reserve for the 4x100 metre freestyle team relay. Jane Gylling’s contribution to the Paris Olympics was limited to a single event, namely, the 400 metre freestyle. Just like ‘Gulli’ Ewerlund she was knocked out in the first heat. Sweden won a bronze medal in the team relay. Jane Gylling’s collection of prizes includes the bronze medal from Paris, showing that even reserve team members were given a medal.
Jane Gylling does not appear to have competed in athletics or the playful football which several female members of SK Najaden did as members of Gymnastiksällskapet Widar. She got married at the end of 1924 and this appears to have brought an end to her sporting career. In 1928 she gave birth to a daughter. Jane Gylling – now Palm – died in 1961.