Edward T. Kennedy

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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Edward Kennedy was the quintessential coach. The one always pushing for a little extra, knowing that last burst of speed was there but just had to be coerced out of a young swimmer.  For 45 years, Kennedy got the best out of the Columbia men’s swimming team.


Edward Kennedy’s tenure at Columbia spanned two generations. He not only coached older and younger brothers, but he sometimes coached fathers and sons. He was a mentor to all of his swimmers, always ready to motivate with words or encouragement and ready to provide a listening ear if needed.

The length of his tenure was simply the byproduct of a job well done. From 1910-55, Kennedy coached seven NCAA champions. He led the Lions to 154 meet victories and seven Eastern Intercollegiate Championships in the sport of water polo.  Kennedy also served as chair of the NCAA Rules Committee and was appointed manager of two United States Olympic swim teams.

To this day, the Varsity C award to the men’s swimmer with the best cumulative grade point average bears Kennedy’s name, a fitting tribute to a man who was the mentor to some of the best scholar-athletes ever for 45 years.

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