Frederick Luehring (USA)
Honor Contributor (1974)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1932 (Secretary of Men’s and Women’s Swimming Committee; Referee of the Olympic Trials); 1936 (Chairman of the Men’s Olympic Swimming Committee; Referee of the Olympic Trials); Swimming and Water Polo Coach at Princeton, 1911-1920; started the swim team at Nebraska, 1921; First editor of the Intercollegiate Swimming Guide, 1916-1922; NCAA Rules Committee member, secretary and chairman from its founding until 1944.
Dr. Frederick W. Luehring was born in Hanover, Kansas, on the Oregon Trail in 1881 and he has been hiking uphill ever since. He was run over by a wagon when he was 4 years old and his success at swimming and running himself back to health directed him into a long life dedicated to physical fitness. At 82, he was the oldest ever to complete hiking the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail. Hiking week-ends and vacations when he could spare the time, it took him 14 years to get from Maine to Georgia. It is a tribute to his persistence. At 93 he was still going on 15 and 20 mile weekend hikes. “The distance,” he says, “depends on how steep the mountain.” He has hiked the C & O Canal three times with Justice Douglas going 20 miles or more a day. He has also hiked the 184 mile tow path along the Lehigh Canal. At 92 he led the Philadelphia March of Dimes Walk-a-Thon for miles.
Enough about Fred Luehring’s dryland exercise. Forget this walk-a-thon and talk about his Swim-a-Thon, the oldest swimmer at U.S. Pan American Coach Frank Keefe’s Suburban Swim Club where non-believers offered $5.00 a length for as long as Luehring could swim. “I don’t swim as much as I hike now,” observed Luehring, “but I swam a mile before breakfast every day during my vacation last summer and I enjoy half hour swims in the ocean after my 8 mile hikes with the Trail Club in New Jersey.”
Luehring’s Doctoral dissertation at Columbia became a published book “Swimming Pool Standards.” As Chairman of the Men’s Olympic Swimming Committee, he wrote the report on the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was secretary of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming Committee in 1932 and Referee of the Olympic Trials in both 1932 and 1936.
Fred Luehring was a football and track star at North Central College and at the University of Chicago under Amos Alonzo Stag. He has coached almost all the college sports. At Ripon College (Wis.) in 1906-1907, he needed a settee rather than a chair for his duties as Professor and Director of Physical Education. For $800 a year, he coached football, basketball, track and spent his evenings as Proctor in the men’s dorm. He coached swimming and water polo at Princeton from 1911-1920, started the swim team at Nebraska (1921), made swimming and life saving conferences for summer camps at Minnesota, Wisconsin, NYU, and others.
Fred Luehring’s biggest contribution, however, was the prestige of his physical education background lent to swimming as a worthwhile educational sport activity. He was the first editor of the Intercollegiate Swimming Guide from 1916-1922. He served on the NCAA Rules Committee as member, secretary, and chairman, from its founding until 1944. Fred Luehring is honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame for more years in service to swimming than any other physical education leader.