First man to break 50 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle
Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimming 1976
A true champion, in the 1976 Montreal Olympics Jim was the first man ever to break 50 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle. Breaking this barrier was equivalent to Roger Bannister’s four minute mile in track.
Jim won two more golds and a bronze in the 1976 Olympics, but his record as king of the World Championships is still more phenomenal. He won a record five golds in the first World Championships at Belgrade in 1973 and repeated with four golds, a silver and a bronze in Cali 1975 and Berlin 1978.
After his retirement from college and USA swimming Jim went on to win 14 Masters World Championships from 1986 to 2002. Jim began competing in ocean races in the 1980s and in 1986 won the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim.
Since 1981, Jim has developed the Masters swim concept and is currently co-owner of the Dallas Aquatic Masters Swim Club, one of the top adult fitness exercise programs in the country. There he teaches all swimming levels from beginner to competitor, and has developed a class proven to help fearful students overcome their fear of water.
From 1988 to 1990 Jim was responsible for the design and startup of the Baylor Aquatic Center located at the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center in Dallas, Texas. The Baylor Aquatic Center was the first facility ever built with the primary focus on adult fitness swimming and aquatic medical programming and research. From 1990 through 1999 he served as director of the Baylor Aquatic Center. With his experience in aquatic facilities and programming, Jim is regarded as an expert in the operation and programming of aquatic facilities for school districts, municipalities, universities, hospitals, and commercial uses.
Since 1998, Jim has served as aquatics director and head varsity swim coach at Greenhill School in Dallas, Texas. A great motivational speaker and author, Jim is available for public speaking engagements and workshops . His book Mastering Swimming – Faster Swimming for the Masters Athlete is considered the ultimate swimming guide for masters athletes.
Jim has consulted in the commercial swimming pool construction industry for over 20 years. He specializes in the operation and programming of aquatic facilities for school districts, municipalities, universities, hospitals and commercial uses.
Jim grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and attended Madison East High School where he won six state championships in swimming. He went on to swim for James “Doc” Counsilman at Indiana University where he graduated with honors from the IU School of Business. His senior year he was awarded the Belfour award as the top student athlete in the Big Ten Conference. Jim currently lives in Dallas, Texas, with wife Diane and is father to five children: Taylor, Chase, Ann, Ellis and Beau.