Hall of Fame

Daniel Lee Watson
Swimming & Diving

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Dan was an All-American selection in both 1982 and 1983. He is a Harvard Eastern Seaboard record holder for 1 meter diving and 3 meter diving and a school record holder for both 1 and 3 meter diving. Dan received a silver medal in the 1985 U.S. Platform Championship, losing only to Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis. He earned a gold and a silver medal in the 1986 World University Games and was a silver medalist in the 1986 Good Will Games.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I'd like to thank the Varsity Club for admitting me to the Hall of Fame -- it truly is a great honor. My parents played a large role in my success as a diver. There was no diving coach in my hometown, so my mother spent many evenings sitting by the pool saying "nice dive, Dan." She also traipsed around the country with me to various competitions. My father was also very supportive, frequently asking, "Why'd you let that Louganis kid beat you again?" My dad also pointed out, when it came time to choose a college, "you can't jump off damn diving boards all your life..." He was right, of course, and his advice steered me to Harvard. Diving at Harvard was a tremendous experience. I now had a coach, John Walker, and teammates. John was a good fit for me. He was very knowledgeable and well-respected, and understood the pressures of being a student-athlete at Harvard. He also allowed my teammates (Jeff Mule, Carl Illing, John Lightfoot, Pam Stone, etc.) and me a decent amount of freedom for various acts of indiscretion. One highlight of my career was winning the U.S. Nationals on platform as a freshman. I competed in the finals an hour or two after taking a Chem 5 exam with a proctor. I suppose it took my mind off the competition. Then, the following week, our Chem 5 professor Dr. Herschbach, interrupted his lecture to introduce me and point out my accomplishment. It gave me a certain amount of status among my wonky, pre-med peers. I further enjoyed the camaraderie of the swimmers. It was satisfying to be part of a successful team and even more satisfying when we beat Princeton (like now, our fiercest rival). The bus rides were long but I did become a decent Hearts player. Finally, I have to mention my roommates. They, more than athletics, shaped my experience at Harvard. They would occasionally come down to the pool for meets, but I believe it was to watch the other divers crash and not to watch me. One vivid memory I have is my roomies jumping off the tower at Blodgett after a football game (and a few bloody marys). Again it is a great honor to be inducted with such an accomplished group of athletes -- Thank You.