Doc Counsilman Memorial Lecture

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noun - The Doc Counsilman Memorial Lecture Series is an annual lecture given by luminaries at the American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic.

The Councilman Memorial Lecture Series was formed in tribute to one of the swimming profession’s most revered figures, James “Doc” Councilman. Each year, the lecture provides World Clinic attendees with a speaker from “outside” the coaching profession.

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James Edward Counsilman

Doc Counsilman, December 28, 1920 in Birmingham, Alabama – January 4, 2004 in Bloomington, Indiana) was a renowned Olympic swimming coach from the United States. He is well known for being the head swimming coach Indiana University from 1957-1990. In addition to coaching Indiana University to 20 consecutive Big Ten titles, six consecutive NCAA wins, and 12 national AAU wins, Counsilman’s success extended to the international arena. Doc was head swimming coach of the two most successful USA Olympic men’s swimming teams in 1964 (Tokyo) and 1976 (Montreal). In 1976, the U.S.A. men’s swimming team won 12 of possible 13 gold medals and brought home over two-thirds of all possible medals. He coached many world record holders, Olympic champions and world professional marathon swimming champions, including John Kinsella, James Kegley and David Alleva as well as introduced a number of innovations to the sport of swimming.

He was inducted as an Honors Coach into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1976 and as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1981 as well as the first recipient of the American Swim Coaches Association's Coach of the Year in 1961.

He is the namesake for the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center (CBAC) and the Doc Counsilman Memorial Lecture.

English Channel

In 1979, he became the oldest man to cross the English Channel and is member of the Half Century Club. His well-documented effort made headlines and brought marathon swimming to the attention of the entire world. His swim was subject of a documentary, Doc: The Oldest Man in the Sea in 1980.

Doc: The Oldest Man in the Sea

Doc: The Oldest Man in the Sea is a 30-minute DVD that documents the successful 1979 attempt of James "Doc" Counsilman to become the oldest man at the time to swim the English Channel.

On 14 September 1979, he stepped into the waters of the English Channel, attempting to become the oldest man at that time to successfully complete the challenging swim. What made the swim even more difficult for Counsilman was that four years earlier, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. At the age of 58, he swam the English Channel from England to France in 13 hours 7 minutes. The documentary follows Counsilman through his preparations and for the successful completion of his crossing.

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