Jeff Farrell

Jeff Farrell, Hall of Fame Special Achievement

The USA reveres winners, but we seem to reserve our greatest admiration for those who wear the title of Gold Medal winner and Olympic Champion. When you add adversity, determination and character to those terms, and put them in a swimming pool, you will have defined the ultimate Olympian, Jeff Farrell.

As the world’s fastest swimmer in 1960, he underwent an appendectomy six days prior to the Olympic Trials. That didn’t stop a 22-year old bent on swimming for his country in Rome, Italy. Tightly bandaged, he qualified for two relays. He anchored both to Olympic gold medals and world records. He wears those proudly, but it is not gold medals for which Farrell is being inducted into the SBART Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the elite International Swimming Hall of Fame; has been included in the Top Ten Masters swimmers; holds three age-group world records and many national records; and in the past seven years has won 51 national events. Perhaps the most impressive feat was his 23.28 seconds in the 60-64 age-group 50 meter freestyle. That is an incredible sprint, but even more incredible is the fact that it is only .68 of a second slower than his world class 22.50 of 40 years ago. Or is it the fact that in 1999, at 62, Farrell won seven national events and in 1998 set three world records in the 50, 100, and 200 meter freestyle.

Masters are proud of their age. Jeff Farrell swims in the 60-64 year old age group, and if there was dust in a pool, Farrell’s opponents would be left in it. Maybe he just leaves them in bubbles as he zips by.

Quoting a 1998 column by Joe Coplan in the New York Times could save us time. ‘… this gold medalist from the 1960 Rome Olympics might win the over-50 vote for the Athlete of the Century.’ If that isn’t enough, Farrell has been president of Semana Nautica, was named one of “America’s Most Referred Realtors” and was a recipient of the R.F. McFarland Award as a community leader.