James Counsilman

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James Edward Counsilman (or 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.

Contents

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.

Half Century Club for the English Channel

The Half Century Club prove that some things do get better with age.

1. Roger Allsopp (England), 70 years and 4 months, England-to-France in 17:51 in 2011
2. George Brunstad (USA), 70 years and 3 days, England-to-France in 15:59 in 2004
3. Clifford Batts (Australia), 67, France-to-English in 18:37 in 1987
4. Ashby Harper (USA), 65, E/F in 13:52 in 1982
5. Roger Allsopp (England), 65, E/F in 15:30 in 2006
6. Sue Oldham (Australia), 65, E/F in 17:11 in 2010
7. Michael Read (England), 63, E/F in 15:29 in 2004
8. Veljko Rogosic (Croatia), 63, E/F in 11:27 in 2004
9. Robert West (USA), 61, E/F in 15:35 in 1996
10. Sue Oldham (Australia), 61, E/F in 16:03 in 2006
11. Jean-Paul Madelenat (France), 60, E/F in 14:46 in 2002
12. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), 60, E/F in 15:57 in 2011
13. Linda Ashmore (England), 60, E/F in 15:11 in 2007
14. Vijaya Claxton (USA), 59, E/F in 22:27 in 2007
15. James "Doc" Counsilman (USA), 58, E/F in 13:07
16. Mo Siegel (USA), 58, E/F in 14:18
17. Carol Sing (USA), 57, E/F in 12:32 in 1999
18. Kevin Murphy (England), 57, E/F in 15:14 in 2006
19. Alan Macleay (England), 57, E/F in 22:14 in 2006
20. Richard Haan (Czech Republic), 57 in 14:07 in 2005
21. Peter Urrea (USA), 56, E/F in 14:38 in 1996
22. Kevin Murphy (England), 56, E/F in 13:35 in 2005
23. Jackie Cobell (England), 56, E/F in 28:44 in 2010
24. Duke Dahlin (USA), 55, E/F in 14:37 in 2003
25. Christopher Blakeslee (USA), 54, E/F in 14:44 in 2004
26. Michael Miller (USA), 54, E/F in 16:10 in 2008
27. Roger Finch (South Africa), 54, E/F in 12:39 in 2011
28. Otto Thaning (South Africa), 53, E/F in 10:29 in 1994
29. Klaus Stutzer (Germany), 53, E/F in 14:09 in 1997
30. Morris Finkelstein (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2003
31. Bill Hoehn (USA), 53, E/F in 15:53 in 2004
32. Hugh Tucker (South Africa), 53, E/F in 13:37 in 2004
33. Tom Hecker (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2005
34. Steven Smith (England), 53, E/F in 14:28 in 2005
35. Vasanti Niemz (Germany), 53, E/F in 16:50 in 2010
36. Dan Richards (USA), 53, E/F in 12:32 in 2010
37. Henry Eckstein (USA), 52, E/F in 14:24 in 2000
38. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 53, E/F in 17:18 in 2004
39. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 52, E/F in 14:57 in 2003
40. Dennis Dressel (USA), 52, E/F in 12:08 in 2003
41. Jorge Rikarday (Mexico), 52, E/F in 20:24 in 2003
42. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
43. Elizabeth Fry (USA), 52, E/F/E in 24:39 (13:20 + 11:19) in 2011
44. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
45. Gilles Chalandon (USA), 52, E/F in 14:31 in 2010
46. Kevin Murphy (England), 51, E/F in 14:29 in 2000
47. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 51, E/F in 17:08 in 2002
48. Anne Cleveland (USA), 51, E/F in 11:33 in 2007
49. Michael Ball (England), 51, E/F in 12:55 in 2009
50. Paul Downie (Australia), 51 E/F in 12:39 in 2011
51. Nancy Steadman-Martin (USA), 50, E/F in 11:20 in 2004
52. James Fitzpatrick (USA), 50, E/F in 14:32 in 2005
53. Frank Chalmers (Scotland), 50, E/F in 16:48 in 2005
54. Tim Cheesman (England), 50, E/F in 16:14 in 2005
55. Terry O'Brien (Australia), 50, E/F in 15:50 in 2006
56. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), 50, E/F in 12:54 in 2009
57. Jim Bayles (USA), 50, E/F in 10:59 in 2002
58. Jim Boucher (Ireland), 50, E/F in 16:51 in 2011
59. Andrew Hunt (Australia), 50 E/F in 13:54 in 2011

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