Jack Medica (USA)
Honor Swimmer (1966)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1936 gold (400m freestyle), silver (1500m freestyle; 4x200m freestyle relay); WORLD RECORDS: 11 (from 200m to 1 mile); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 220yd, 440yd, 1500m freestyle (1934, 1935, 1936); AAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 10; Coached at Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania after graduating from college undefeated.
Jack Medica was Olympic champion in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, gold medaling in the 400 meter freestyle, won four years earlier by another Hall of Famer, Buster Crabbe. Crabbe and Medica won for the USA in an era when the Japanese were dominating freestyle swimming. On Medica’s home side of the Pacific, he was setting records which have never been broken as the one-man swim team of the University of Washington. He never lost a race in the NCAA championships by winning the maximum allowed 3 individual events three years in a row. His one-man team placed Washington third behind the big squads from Michigan and Iowa.
He won the 220, 440 and 1500 freestyle in 1934, ’36 and ’38, plus 17 National AAU championships and 11 World Records from 220 yards to one mile.
At the Washington Athletic Club, Medica, along with Hall of Famer Helene Madison, swam for Ray Daughters, five times U.S. Olympic coach or manager. Medica coached at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from college undefeated.
Medica won at least four and sometimes five AAU crowns each year from 1933 through 1936, 220 through the mile, but his most unusual trophy is a University of Michigan varsity letter. Medica never went to Michigan but he took enough points away from Yale and Iowa for Michigan to win the Nationals. Matt Mann said “he doesn’t have a team at Washington and he sure swam well for Michigan so I sent him a letter sweeter.”