Harry Lemoyne (USA)
Honor Pioneer Swimmer (1988)
FOR THE RECORD: WORLD RECORDS: 5 (freestyle sprints); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1902; USA’s first AAU National Champion.
If we could make comparisons in different eras between the likes of Harry LeMoyne, Johnny Weissmuller and Matt Biondi for the title of “greatest all around athlete among swimmers,” the title would probably fall on the late Harry LeMoyne, the USA’s first ever A.A.U. National Champion who retired from swimming after 1904– leaving Harvard after one eventful year and entering the sheep business as a twenty year old Idaho rancher in 1905. In one thirty-three day stretch as an eighteen year old, Harry broke five world records in the freestyle sprints. He was definitely the nation’s brightest schoolboy athlete out of Stones Prep in Brookline, Massachusetts. LeMoyne started swimming at age six and never had a coach. He won All-American Honorable Mention in Harvard football, was a member of the championship rowing team, held the High School national record in shot-put, made Harvard varsity colors in boxing, basketball, hockey, broad jump and high jump but reserved his greatest accomplishments for water polo and swimming.
A shy outdoorsman, LeMoyne passed up the Olympics and the annual competitions with Oxford and Cambridge, after he had placed number one on the Harvard-Yale team, to go off to his summer retreat to hunt and fish in Canada. After his freshman year at Harvard, he left the limelight of “Mr. Champion in Everything” to start his ranching career — a career so successful that Governor of Idaho called LeMoyne “One of Idaho’s Most Respected Citizens” and nominated him for the International Swimming Hall of Fame. LeMoyne died at age 99 as swimming’s greatest all-around athlete.