Courtesy of Harvard Men's Swimming and Diving.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- One of the wonderful things about being part of the swimming and diving program at Harvard is the connections made across generations during reunions. The Class of '65 swim team, back for their 50th reunion, has leaders in the fields of medicine, law, publishing and media just to name a few.
Current undergraduates were able to interact with the alumni and talk about what they should engage in while at Harvard and how they can become successful, caring and high quality leaders for society after graduation. For example, Koya Osada '19 spoke with David Abramson, who is First Class Marshal for 50 years, about a potential career in medicine. David is a past NCAA Record holder in the 500 freestyle (and reigning NCAA Champion in the 440 yard freestyle as he won the event the last time it was contested at the college level) and is a leader of the Weill-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. They shared stories of how the Organic Chemistry class at Harvard impacted their lives and how the team means so much to them.
And then came the real fun…
The day before Commencement 2015, members of the swim team that graduated from Harvard in 1965 challenged the current team to a relay swim. Many of them had never even seen Blodgett pool before, as it was built in 1978. David Abramson, Bob Abrams, Bruce Kohler, Edward Seaton and Mike Gaffin took on and morally defeated current team members Koya Osada, Kent Haeffner, Luke Morgan-Scott and Jacob Luna in a 200 yard relay race. The Class of '65 calculated that a 55-second head start would be sufficient for their team based on a intricate formula provided by Dr. Abramson.
Additionally, the current team had to follow the NCAA rules in place in 1965 including touching the wall with your hand before flipping in freestyle and not using starting blocks or goggles. The race came down to the wire and a photo finish. The Class of '65 will claim bragging rights until the rematch in 2020.
There is an instant connection among swimming & diving alumni, and a enormous network that results from the bond they all have to the program. Kent Haeffner '19 stated: "It is amazing to see what great shape they were in 50 years after their last meet. I hope I will look that good in a bathing suit. It was awesome to meet each of them and I plan on staying in touch moving forward."
"I cannot thank the Class of 1965 enough for taking the time to interact with our current swimmers during their action packed reunion weekend," said Kevin Tyrrell, The Ulen-Brooks Endowed Head Coach of Men's Swimming and Diving. "Our young men loved it and can't stop talking about the stories from 50 years ago, especially the stories about Coach Brooks, the meets against Yale and how practices were conducted. Our undergraduates want to become the type of men that David, Bob, Edward, Bruce and Mike are and now have an additional set of role models to emulate."
Speaking for the nearly victorious '65 team David Abramson said: "This opportunity lets us remember the past while seeing the future ... the past seemed brighter than it was, and the future even brighter with these young men in charge."