Leo Joseph 'Budd' Goodwin (born 13 November 1883 in New York – died 25 May 1957 in New York) was an American water polo player, Olympic competitive swimmer and open water swimmer. He worked for his father for many years on their Manhattan Island excursion ferry. He later won a Congressional Medal for bravery for a daring sea rescue in Newport News, Virginia. He retired to the Palm Beach area where he continued to swim recreationally. His son, Tommy Goodwin, became one of the nationâs top amateur golfers. Goodwin nearly lost his arm after blood poisoning in 1906. Dr. Dave Hennen, a swimmer from his club and a famous surgeon, dissected his entire forearm while cleaning it from poison, then re-assembled the veins, muscles and ligaments. Goodwin quickly recovered, but was unfit for the 1906 Olympics.
Athletic Career Highlights
- He was a member of the New York Athletic Club who won numerous championships during his long career.
- His days as an active swimmer were nearly ended in 1906 when he almost lost an arm following a severe case of blood poisoning.
- He won AAU titles outdoors in the 1904 440-yard freestyle, the 1901 and 1907 880-yard freestyle, the 1-mile freestyle in 1910 and 1912-1914, and in long-distance swimming in 1910 and 1915.
- He won indoor AAU titles in the 100-yard freestyle in 1903 and in the 1908 500-yard freestyle.
- He was accomplished as a marathon swimmer, winning the Battery-to-Coney Island race at least once.
- He continued to compete until 1922.
- At the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, he won the bronze medal in a plunge for distance event at the age of 20 in 17.37 meters at Life Saving Exhibition Lake in Forest Park, St. Louis on 5 September 1904.
- At the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition Goodwin set an outdoor record by swimming 3.5 miles in 1 hour 38 minutes in San Francisco Bay, California. He won by 200 yards.
- He received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest peacetime award in the United States, for rescuing people from drowning at Newport News, Virginia.
- He retired from active competitions in 1922, but continued swimming through his seventies.
- In 1971 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer.
Olympic Career Highlights
1904 St. Louis Olympic Games
- 5th: 50-yard freestyle
- Gold medal: Water Polo with the New York Athletic Club
- 6th: 100-yard freestyle
- 4th: 440-yard freestyle
- Gold medal: 4x50-yard freestyle relay with the New York Athletic Club
- Bronze medal: Plunge for Distance at 17.37m
1908 London Olympic Games
1904 Plunge for Distance
The plunge for distance was an unusual event, but was a common one in that era. It was based on the distance the athlete achieved with no attempt to propel himself after entering the water. There were five competitors at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games, all American. [Bill Dickey] won the event easily with a distance of 62 feet 6 inches. The American record holder at the time, Charles Pyrah, was far off form and finished fifth and last.
Gold: Billy Dickey (USA, 29) 19.05 meters
Silver: Edgar Adams (USA, 36) 17.52 meters
Bronze: Budd Goodwin (USA, 20) 17.37 meters
4th: Newman Samuel (USA, 23) 16.76 meters
5th: Charles Pyrah (USA, 34) 14.02 meters