Notable Oregonians: Don Schollander - Athlete (Swimmer)

Schollander wearing U.S.A. blazer and medals
Don Schollander, 1946— (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Don Schollander was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 30, 1946 and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He developed into a leading swimmer as a teenager and won the 1962 United States outdoor national title in the 200-meter freestyle event while he was still in high school. The next year Schollander broke the 200-meter freestyle world record, becoming the first swimmer to finish the distance in less than two minutes. He later improved the time for this distance in nine record-breaking swims between July 1963 and August 1968.
Although Schollander's best event, the 200-meter freestyle, was not part of the 1964 Olympics, he still won four gold medals. In so doing, he became the first person to win four gold medals in swimming in a single Olympiad. He placed first in both the 100-meter freestyle, setting an Olympic record, and the 400-meter freestyle, setting a world record. He was also a member of the winning 4 x 100-meter and 4 x 200-meter world record setting freestyle relay teams. In honor of his Olympic performance, Schollander won the 1964 James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, given annually by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States to the outstanding amateur athlete in the country. He was also inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in 1965.
After the Olympics Schollander attended Yale University, where he also competed as a swimmer. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City he was a member of the winning 4 x 200-meter relay team and finished second in the 200-meter freestyle race. During his career he won numerous U.S. national titles in various events and set several U.S. and world records.
Schollander was noted for his speed, perfection of stroke, and effortless crawl. He retired from competitive swimming after the 1968 games and was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983, as a member of the first class of inductees. His Olympic gold medals are on display to the public at a Bank of America branch location in downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.
(Source: United States Masters Swimming)
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