About 300 alumni of the Princeton swimming and diving teams returned to campus last weekend to commemorate the program’s 110th anniversary. The celebration included receptions, a dinner, and a preseason scrimmage meet. It also served as the impetus for a new and expansive history of the program, written by Sanford Thatcher ’65, longtime secretary for the Friends of Princeton Swimming and Diving and a former director of the Penn State University Press.
Thatcher, who still swims at about a dozen masters meets each year near his home in Frisco, Texas, began researching Princeton swimming history in the 1970s, for a column in the Friends’ newsletter. He drew on those notes, as well as contributions from recent alumni, to create a 99-page history. It covers the great seasons, legendary coaches, and top-ranked swimmers, but it also touches on less traditional topics — marriages between swimming alumni, the achievements of former Tigers after college, and other historical tidbits, such as diver Alan Routh ’59’s role on the first Navy SEAL team. “That is what makes this, I think, a document that is unique in sports histories [at Princeton],” Thatcher told PAW. Alumni and swimming fans can click here to download a copy of A History of Princeton Swimming and Diving.