News

September 18, 2008

Still Swimming Strong

Dick Brown ’54 completes two-mile trek in 102 minutes

Michael Phelps may have ruled the pool at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, but Dick Brown ’54 is the king of Green Pond in northern New Jersey.

The 76-year-old completed his two-mile swim in one hour and 42 minutes, adding just two minutes to the time he posted six years ago. Brown’s wife, Joan, oldest daughter, Laura, and a friend paddled with him in a 60-year-old Old Town wooden canoe to keep track of his time.

Brown remains modest about his accomplishment.

“I am a little embarrassed that this has gone this far,” he says. “A two-mile swim is not that big a deal I saw it as a challenge to see if I could still do it.”

A former member of Lafayette’s swim team, Brown has participated in the sport his entire life. At his winter residence in Sarasota, Fla., he swims a mile or more three times per week at the local YMCA. During the summer, he often swims across Green Pond and back, which is a three-quarter-mile diameter.

“We have a summer cottage at this lake, which we get to enjoy for a full summer now that I am retired,” he says. “I have been spending part of my summers here every year, except the one I missed when I was on active duty in the Army, since the year I was born. Swimming is really a part of my life. Swimming in the lake is a little more of a challenge [than a pool] with the water being much colder and the wind and motor boat waves having to be taken into consideration.”

During his undergraduate years, Brown completed life-saving and water safety courses, enabling him to become a waterfront director for the Boy Scout camp at the Delaware Water Gap. He also was a water safety representative for the Easton Red Cross until he moved to Wisconsin.

An administrative engineering graduate, Brown went to work for the Dixie Cup Company after Lafayette and remained with the company as it changed hands numerous times until his retirement in 1998 after 44 years of service. In Sarasota, he volunteers as a math tutor in public schools.

“My industrial engineering education at Lafayette gave me a good technical background, which served me well in my work life and still helps me as a volunteer math tutor,” he says.

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