Members of the men's swimming and diving team were able to talk with Charlie Egan '54 (center) about the history of the program and Harvard's personal and professional connections. (Photo: Spenser Goodman)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Charlie Egan '54, holder of three Major H's as a member of the Crimson swimming and diving team, has stayed passionately involved with the program every decade since he left Harvard's doors in 1954. The Egan family is steeped in tradition in Cambridge as Charlie served as team captain and eventually saw his son, Peter '86 claim the same coveted honor 32 years later.
Recently Egan, now entering his early 80s, stopped by a team practice to discuss the rich history and tradition that Harvard swimming carries, along with the potential for the University's network to assist in life outside the pool.
"Charlie's talk with the team meant the world to our current swimmers, divers and our staff," the Ulen-Brooks Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Swimming & Diving, Kevin Tyrrell, said. "His passion, dedication and commitment to the program over many decades is a tremendous pillar of our program's strength and it was wonderful that he took the time out of his schedule to talk with us."
"It was a pleasure to meet Charlie today," added senior sprinter Will Brophy. "Having such a strong network of HMSD alums means a lot to me. I think Charlie helped remind the team that when we put on a Harvard swimming cap, we aren't just representing ourselves, but also all those who came before us. That's an incredibly powerful feeling and something I'm very grateful for."
Egan is an instrumental part of Friends of Harvard Swimming and Diving, and his continued support helps the program immensely. He and his son Peter last year endowed the men's swimming and diving head coach position in honor of the first two men's swimming and diving coaches at Harvard, Harold S. Ulen and William J. Brooks.
"Everyone took notice when Charlie told them he considered himself a 'journeyman' on the team," Tyrrell said. "I think the athletes assumed that someone who has helped the program so consistently over the years must have been the top swimmer on the team. He made everyone feel that they can contribute to the program in many ways. I believe it helped bring the concept of "team" to a new reality for everyone in the room.
"Overall, it was an amazing experience for everyone involved and we have asked Charlie to speak with our team again before the Ivy League Championships."
"It was great meeting Charlie and hearing him talk about Harvard swimming and diving and how much alumni still care about this team," junior Matthew Karle added. "Our program has so much rich history, and I am so grateful to be part of this tradition."