View Full Version : The Passing of Peter Daland

Frank Thompson
October 23rd, 2014, 06:51 PM
This week the swimming world lost one of the greatest coaches of the past 60 Years. He will be remembered mostly for his coaching at USC from 1958 until 1992. He was also one of the head Olympic Coaches in 1964 and 1972. He is linked to Coach James Doc Counsilman because both coached during the same time period between the late 1950's and early 1990's. These two coaches in terms of performances of their college teams and individual swimmers are the greatest college coaches ever during the time period they coached. From 1959 until 1977, both USC and Indiana were never lower than 4th at the NCAA Championship and from 1962 until 1977, both of these schools held the either number 1 ranking or number 2 ranking.

From 1963 until 1977, with the exception of Stanford in 1967 under Coach Jim Gaughran, USC and Indiana were either 1st or 2nd at the NCAA Championship meet and in 67 USC was second and Indiana was 3rd within 15 points of Stanford. In 1973, when Indiana won their 6th straight championship, the only other exception to the 1-2 finish, was when Tennessee finished 2nd and USC 3rd that year, otherwise it was 1-2 for both schools during that period. Indiana was on probation for football violations and back in those days they penalized all sports so they could not swim in the NCAA Championships. In both 1961 and 1962, they beat the NCAA Champions Michigan and Ohio State convincingly in the Big Ten Conference Championships, so this domination by the 2 schools went about 17 years.

This is the greatest college swimming rivalry ever and no other college swim teams comes close to this. Also both of these schools had more Olympians, NCAA Champions, and International team members than any other school. This is what I remember most about Peter Daland. I have several links about this great coach and you can see how influential he was to all of the swimming world in every thing he ever did. He was even involved in masters swimming and swam in USMS and coached a masters team back in the day. Along with Cecil Colwin and Buck Dawson, he remains one of the great swimming historians that ever lived. I would see him at the Aquatics convention and you could always talk to him during the first evenings insurance reception. One of the best masters swimmer in my age group (Jim McConica) swam for Peter at USC and he said he was always proud of his accomplishments as a masters swimmers.

He was one of the very few elite coaches that embraced master swimming when it got its start back in the AAU days and for that we all should be thankful because a lot of well known coaches in the beginning did not. I remember seeing Peter at the USMS Short Course Nationals that were held at USC in 1990 and he was talking and very friendly to all of the masters swimmers. Its great that USC is naming the new facility in his name because he really deserves it.






October 27th, 2014, 10:14 AM

Thanks for another of your splendid reflections on the giants of our sport. I remember being in awe of his swimmers, when I got to "compete" in the AAU Nationals (before qualifying times) at Yale in 1960 as a Freshman in HS. I was interested to read that he founded Suburban Swim Club in Philly. I swam for York YMCA and had a number of swimming friends from that club. They were our great rivals at the yearly age group LCM meet in the Kelly pool.

Michael Heather
October 28th, 2014, 06:21 PM
I remember swimming against the USC team when I was in Junior college. Even though we got creamed by his swimmers doing their off events, we felt as if we had accomplished something just by being there. My coach (Ron Ballatore) was very friendly with coach Daland and would tease him by being the only one who could get away with calling him, "Peter."

He held court many years in the USMS hospitality suite during the convention and seemed to have no end of stories and historical data with which to keep a large group in rapt attention. He will be missed.