Don Schollander

Don Schollander

Schollander at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Full name Donald Arthur Schollander
Nickname(s) "Don"
National team United States
Born (1946-04-30) April 30, 1946
Charlotte, North Carolina
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 174 lb (79 kg)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle
Club Santa Clara Swim Club
College team Yale College

Donald Arthur Schollander (born April 30, 1946) is an American former competition swimmer, five-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in four events. He won a total of five gold medals and one silver medal at the 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics. With four gold medals, he was the most successful athlete at the 1964 Olympics.[1]

Early career

Schollander was born in Charlotte, North Carolina,[2] and learned competitive swimming from his uncle, Newt Perry, who ran a swimming school in Florida.[3] As a boy, Schollander moved with his family to Lake Oswego, Oregon.[4] Although his first sporting passion was football, he was too small to compete in high school football.[5] Instead, he joined Lake Oswego High School's swim team, and in 1960, helped lead the team to an Oregon state swimming championship as a freshman.[5][6]


As a teenager in 1962, Schollander moved to Santa Clara, California to train under swim coach George Haines of the Santa Clara Swim Club.[5] Two years later at the age of 18, he won three freestyle events at the AAU national championships.[5] He made the U.S. Olympic team in two individual events and two relays. Months later, he won four gold medals and set three world records at the 1964 Summer Olympics, at the time the most medals won by an American since Jesse Owens in 1936.[5] His success helped earn him the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States, and the AP Athlete of the Year, defeating runner-up Johnny Unitas by a wide margin.[5] He was also named ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year.

Schollander appeared on an episode of To Tell the Truth immediately after winning his four gold medals.

College and Olympic swimming

Schollander attended Yale College and is a member of the Skull and Bones secret society and the Delta Kappa Epsilon (Phi chapter) fraternity, as was the future President George W. Bush.[7] He was the captain of Yale's swim team, winning three individual NCAA championships.[5] At the 1968 Summer Olympics, Schollander won another gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, but finishing second in the 200-meter freestyle, the event that Schollander had considered to be his best.[5] This was the first Olympics in which 200-meter swimming events were part of the competition.

Following the 1968 Olympics, Schollander retired from competitive swimming.

After swimming

Schollander was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965, at the age of 19.[8] In 1983, he was one of the first group of inductees into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.[9]

In 1971, he published his first book, Deep Water (with Duke Savage) chronicling his swimming, his teammates and coaches, and the behind-the-scenes politics of international swimming, especially the Olympic Games. He followed this book in 1974 with Inside Swimming (with Joel H. Cohen).

Schollander resides with his wife, Cheryl, in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he runs Schollander Development, a real estate development company. His gold medals are on display to the public at a Bank of America branch location in downtown Lake Oswego.[4] Schollander has three children, Jeb, Kyle and Katie.[10]

See also


  1. Don Schollander.
  2. John Lohn, Historical Dictionary of Competitive Swimming, Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, p. 133 (2010). Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  3. Smiley-Height, Susan (July 5, 2006). "The Perry legacy lives on". Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  4. 1 2 "Notable Oregonians: Don Schollander". Oregon Blue Book. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Eggers, Kerry (June 2, 2004). "Medal fatigue". Portland Tribune. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  6. "Fourteenth Annual Oregon Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships" (PDF). Oregon School Activities Association. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  7. Ferrey, Tom (November 1, 2006). "A sporting blueblood". Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  8. "Don Schollander". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  9. "Hall of Fame Roll of Honor Members". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  10. Mason, Emily (November 2005). "Still Kicking". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Don Schollander.
Preceded by

Takashi Ishimoto
Bob Windle
Hans-Joachim Klein
Men's 200-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

August 11, 1962 – April 21, 1963
July 27, 1963 – May 24, 1964
August 1, 1964 – July 12, 1969
Succeeded by

Bob Windle
Hans-Joachim Klein
Mark Spitz
Preceded by

Murray Rose
John Nelson
Men's 400-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

July 31, 1964 – August 18, 1966
August 18, 1966 – August 25, 1966
Succeeded by

John Nelson
Frank Wiegand

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