Hall of Fame Series: Eugene Rogers ’45SEAS
Over the next few weeks, GoColumbiaLions.com will take a look at the teams, student-athletes, coaches and staff members set to be inducted in the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame this October. Our next installment features one of the best swimmers in program history.
Eugene Rogers ’45SEAS
Before earning a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics as a member of the 4x200 relay team, a versatile Eugene Rogers became one of the first superstar swimmers in Columbia history. Rogers exploded onto the scene during the 1942-43 season, collecting 20 wins in dual-meet competition in 21 events. The Astoria, New York, native went on to also grab the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League crown in both the 220-yard and 440-yard freestyle.
He made his first NCAA Championship appearance in 1943, competing in both the 220-yard and 440-yard freestyles. The first-year solidified his presence among the top swimmers in the country with a third place finish in both events and that was only the beginning.
In his second season, Rogers went undefeated in dual-meet competition with another 20-win season. He capped a sensational regular season with another phenomenal performance at the NCAA Championships. With a time of 2:11.0, Roger captured his first individual national championship title in the 220-yard freestyle. He also grabbed a runner-up national finish in the 440-yard freestyle.
In his final season in 1944-45, Rogers would once again go unbeaten in dual-meet action with 16 wins and went on to defend his 220-yard freestyle national title. Rogers capped a stellar career at Columbia with an outstanding dual-meet record of 56-1.