Stanford’s Gaughran Selected for Hall of Fame

STANFORD, Calif. – Former Stanford swimming and water polo head coach Jim Gaughran has been selected for enshrinement into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) as an Honor Coach.

Gaughran joins five other coaches from the illustrious Stanford program into the Hall of Fame — Skip Kenney, George Haines, Richard Quick, and the husband and wife team of Ernst and Greta Brandsten.

The enshrinement ceremony will be held on June 20 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

At Stanford, Gaughran excelled as a two-time All-American swimmer and was first team all-conference in water polo. He captained both teams his senior year.

Upon graduation it was on to Stanford’s Law School, while continuing to play water polo for the Olympic Club of San Francisco. He was selected for the 1956 USA Olympic water polo team.

Gaughran eventually gave up working as a lawyer in the office of the California Attorney General and took the water polo and swim coaching jobs at Stanford.

As the school’s coach from 1960 to 1980, he trained 26 Olympic swimmers who set 26 world records and won eight gold, two silver and five bronze medals at the Olympics.

His Stanford men’s swimming team won one NCAA title and compiled a dual-meet record of 129-47-1. He coached 15 NCAA champions with four winning relay teams.

Gaughran was on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Committee (1968-1972) and the U.S. Olympic Water Polo Committee (1964-1972) and served as president of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Perhaps of greater historical significance was his role as head of delegation of a swimming team trip sponsored by the U.S. State Department to China in 1973. It was the first official State Department-sponsored cultural exchange to China since 1949. His leadership and diplomacy in interacting with China’s diplomatic, athletic and political leaders, including Jiang Qing (Madame Mao) has been credited by both governments for helping pave the way for the normalization of relations between the two nations.

In 2013, more than 200 former members of China’s national swimming and diving teams attended a 40th anniversary celebration of that exchange at ISHOF, to thank Gaughran and the other members of the U.S. delegation for helping bring China back into the Olympic family of sporting nations and ending the Cultural Revolution.

Gaughran becomes the 24th Stanford student-athlete or coach to be induced into the ISHOF. The others include: Norman Ross, Marjorie Gestering, Sylvia Ruuska, Chris Von Saltza Olmstead, Sharon Stouder, Ellie Daniel, Janet Evans, Summer Sanders, Jenny Thompson, Clarence Pinkston, Wally O’Connor, Al White, Peter Desjardins, Dick Roth, Mike Bruner, John Hencken, Pablo Morales and Jeff Rouse.


Swimming news courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

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Coach Rose
7 years ago

One of my all-time favorite Coaches and Coaching Families. Congratulations Coach Gaughran and the entire family!

Bill Spahn
7 years ago

Congratulations Mr Gaughran. What a well deserved honor.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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