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Swim Team

History of the Lafayette, Indiana Swim Team

A competitive swim team was established in 1948. At its April 21st meeting, the Board of Directors authorized “the swim team to participate in swimming meets under the name of the Lafayette Country Club.” Richard O. “Dick” Papenguth initiated the team and was its first coach. He also taught free swimming lessons to physically challenged children at the club pool and at Purdue. He was granted a free membership for his services to the club.

Also known as “Pappy,” he was a star swimmer and diver at the University of Michigan, and later coached the women’s swimming and diving team that won two bronze medals in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Back in Lafayette, Indiana he was an All-American swim coach at Purdue from 1939-1969. He was eminently successful and well-known in the world of swimming not only as a coach, but as an actor-producer of water shows and as an administrator at camps and clubs, in addition to his success at the college, national, and Olympic levels. Papenguth was killed in a car accident in 1970. He was inducted posthumously into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1986.

Jeanne Wilson Vaughan, originally from Chicago, first crossed paths with Papenguth at the National Swimming Championships in Kansas City. Soon after, she enrolled at Purdue, where she distinguished herself as Purdue’s first woman swimmer in 1945. She practiced with the boys’ team. Vaughan also worked as a lifeguard at the Country Club during the summers of 1945-47. She went on to earn All-American status at Purdue. She met future husband, Jack, while he was on leave from the Army. They joined the club in 1949. Vaughan was inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998 and Papenguth in 2006.

The Papenguth Award

After Papenguth died, Vaughan created the Papenguth Award in his memory. It is given by the swim coaches each summer to one country club swimmer who best exemplifies the ideals of Papenguth: a swimmer who works hard, has a positive attitude, and is a role model and leader for the team.

The nearly three-foot-tall trophy travels from winner to winner each summer.

Today's Lafayette Swim Team

The swim team thrives today, and is part of the Prairie States Swim League, competing against other local and area swim clubs. On home swim meets in Lafayette, Indiana, cars line the club drive all the way to 9th Street, and screams of “Go, go, go” can be heard throughout the neighboring streets. After meets, swimmers and their families and coaches enjoy a buffet dinner together.

Source: The History of the Lafayette Country Club (PDF)


lafayette country club swim team indiana

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