Hall of Fame

John Cole
Swimming & Diving

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

9-time All-American in the 500 free (2002, 2001), 1,650 free (2005, 2003, 2002, 2001), 800 free relay (2005), and 400 medley relay (2002, 2001) … 15-time Ivy League Champion in the 500 free (2005, 2003, 2002, 2001), 1,000 free (2005, 2003, 2002, 2001), 1,650 free (2005, 2003, 2002, 2001), and 800 free relay (2005, 2002, 2001) … Remains the only student-athlete in Ivy League history to win 4 conference championships in the 500 free and 1,000 free, and is 1 of 2 student-athletes to accomplish the feat in the 1,650 free … 16-time All-Ivy League honoree … Held Ivy League Championships meet records in the 500 free, 1,000 free, and 1,650 free at the time of his graduation … Harvard record holder in the 1,650 free (14:39.71), ranks 2nd in the 1,000 free (8:54.92) and 3rd in the 500 free (4:16.91) … Led Harvard to 3 Ivy League championships (2005, 2003, 2001) … 4-year letterwinner … Team captain (2005).

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

Good evening, everyone.  It’s really exciting to be back in Boston and at the Harvard Club to see old friends and teammates. I’m currently living in Singapore, and unfortunately, I just don’t get to come back to the states as often as I’d like, so it’s especially wonderful to be here with friends and family who have travelled from all over to be here tonight.

Thank you very much to the Harvard Varsity Club and everyone who helped organize tonight’s event. And congratulations to all of tonight’s inductees.  I’ve loved listening to and reading about all of your incredible achievements.  It’s really inspiring, so congratulations to you, your teams, and your families.

As I was walking around Cambridge, the Charles, and the Yard earlier this morning, I was thinking about my very first trip to Harvard as a recruit during Halloween weekend in 1999.  By this point in the year, I had already visited a number of universities, so I had some idea of what to expect, but of course, as a 17-year-old senior in high school, I was still really excited - and a bit anxious - about my very first Harvard visit.  And, while there are countless reasons to come to Harvard, as a student-athlete, among the many features that stood out to me that weekend was the team’s incredible camaraderie, academic & athletic ambitions, and many traditions.  It was so clear to me on my 4-hour car ride back to New Jersey that Sunday morning that I desperately wanted to be part of the Harvard Men’s Swimming and Diving program.

To this day – 24 years later – that’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I have so many rich memories while on the team including winning the Ivy League Championships just barely against Princeton, competing against the best swimmers in the world at NCAAs with Dan Shevchik and Dave Cromwell, and representing Team USA internationally with Harvard’s Tim Murphy as one of the USA coaches.  Without a doubt, many of the learnings from my Harvard Swim Team experiences – both triumphs and failures – have had an incredibly positive impact on my life and career since graduation, and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.

I need to thank the Harvard Swim coaches – Tim Murphy, Sean Schimmel, and Kevin Tyrell – for their guidance, persistence, and patience.  As a long-distance swimmer, I needed every bit of motivation to push me through very long workouts and challenging Saturday morning swims.  As Head Coach, Tim was exceptional at providing tough encouragement and motivation with just the right amount of humor to get me through the long swimming sets.  Unfortunately, Coach Murphy was unable to be here tonight, but he is absent for fantastic reason as he is in Pennsylvania being inducted into the International Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame. It’s an extremely well-deserved honor and a testament to his leadership, contribution to, and legacy with the Harvard Swimming & Diving program.

Lastly, I of course, wouldn’t be standing here without my mom and dad.  It takes a special person to regularly wake a teenager up at 4:40 on a dark and freezing winter morning, so they make their 5:15am workouts on time and then can spend 3-day weekends in a hot and humid aquatics center while waiting for their son to swim a 16-minute race. I’m extremely grateful to have had their support and dedication growing up so that I could make many of my dreams come true.

Thank you.