Breaststroke Legend Dr. Chet Jastremski Passes Away At 73

  25 Gisselle Kohoyda | May 03rd, 2014 | Industry, Lifestyle, News

With causes still unknown to the general public, including the SwimSwam staff, Polish American breaststroker and Indiana University graduate Chet Jastremski passed away today at the age of 73. As a fellow breaststroker, my heart hurts to hear this news.

Born in raised in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Jastremski inherited and embraced his Polish American heritage from his father as he claimed to receive a great amount of support over seas even though never visiting or never having any association with the country during competition. He was officially inducted into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame in 2007.

He attended IU during the Doc Cousilman era and collaborated with him to revolutionize the breaststroke kick, changing from a wide frog style kick to the small whip kick commonly used today. In 1962, Jastremski premiered on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the World’s Greatest Swimmer. He graduated from Indiana with a medical degree in 1968 and set 12 world records and 21 American records, then served as team doctor on the 1976 Olympic Team in Montreal, Canada.

Though the list of accomplishments of Chet is long, his greatest swimming accomplishments include his inductions into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1997 and 2007 Polish-American Hall of Fame induction, his gold medal at the 1963 Pan American Games in São Paulo, Brazil in the 200 breaststroke (2:35.4), and his bronze medal at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in the 200 breaststroke (2:29.6). He was also the first swimmer to break a minute in the 100 breaststroke.

 

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25 Comments on "Breaststroke Legend Dr. Chet Jastremski Passes Away At 73"

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Dave Roadhouse

Chet was a teammate at the Toledo YMCA and Glass City Aquatic Club when I was 11 and he was 15. We became friends and he helped me develop my butterfly so by high school I became state champion. He was kind, encouraging, generous, and a true friend even later when I was swimming for Michigan and he was at IU. Jet, RIP.

Chet was Toledo’s first great swimmer and as a young aspiring fellow breaststroker inspired so many of us to want to follow in his footsteps and swim for Doc. Chet the Jet you will be missed!

As a teammate of Chet’s at Indiana University, it was perfectly clear that Chet was the ultimate example of a great athlete. He was highly competitive but humble in his successes. It was an honor to be his teammate. There will always be only one “Chet the Jet!”
My condolences to his family.
Tom Stock

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About Gisselle Kohoyda

Midland, Michigan native Gisselle Kohoyda is all too familiar with life in the pool and on the deck, even with her late start in the sport at the age of 14. This part time coach and full time breaststroker focuses her driven energy towards social media management, journalism, writing practices, …

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