Hall of Fame

linda-suhs-cleveland
Linda Suhs Cleveland
Swimming & Diving

Graduation Year

1989

Induction Year

2005

Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Cleveland was a four time First Team All-Ivy swimmer. She was an Ivy Champion in the 50-yard freestyle in 1989. Her 100 freestyle record was broken in 2002 and, to this day, she still holds the 50 freestyle record with a time of 23:42 at the 1988 NCAAs. She is also a record holder for the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:44.13 at the 1988 NCAAs. Cleveland earned All-American honors in 1987 for the 200 and 400 medley relays, and for the same events in 1988 along with the 400 freestyle relay.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the Harvard Varsity Club for this wonderful honor this evening. It is such a privilege to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with these other great athletes and all those who have preceded us. Swimming was such an important part of my life at Harvard and it continues to affect my life even today. I can honestly say without swimming at Harvard I would not be the person I am today. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to swim at Harvard. Most importantly, I would like to thank my parents. They have both been so wonderful and supportive to me through all my swimming years. My dad, though very busy with work, came to many of my swim meets even traveling to Boston at least once a year to watch me swim. My dad kept a file of every time, of every race I swam in. I loved going through that file because I knew he really cared about my swimming. My mom not only came to my meets but supplied the Harvard swim team with matching shorts or cookies on many occasions just to get us psyched for the “big meet”. She sent flowers or balloons for good luck. She always knew just what to say even when I didn’t swim the race I wanted to swim. She drove car pool for many years (I’m sure too many in her book!). It might not have seemed like she was a “swimming mom” because she didn’t write down all my times and splits but I discovered she didn’t need to. She knew them all by heart. I feel so blessed to have such amazing and encouraging parents.

I was a typical younger sibling. I wanted to do everything my brother and sister did. Rich and Amy swam on a swim team so I couldn’t wait until the fall I turned seven and my mom finally let me join the team. I looked up to both of them so much and wanted to be as good as them. My sister Amy, always was encouraging. I remember my first 200 meter IM when I was eight years old. Amy walked right along side me, on the deck, cheering me on as I took every stroke. I wanted to stop but didn’t because she was right there. Rich’s encouragement during my younger years came just by his continued winning and my desire to do whatever he did. In high school, Rich was the one that convinced me I actually should apply to Harvard. Amy continued to be there for me at all hours of the night while I was at Harvard. She was always available for a midnight pep talk if I needed one. I owe so much of my swimming success to both Amy and Rich, for without them I am sure I wouldn’t have stuck with it.

I would like to thank my two age group coaches, Irv Smith and especially Mike Schwartz. Irv had the patience to coach a wild bunch of ten and unders and Mike took over from there. Mike helped refine my strokes but also gave me the confidence to race, always telling me I could beat whomever it was that I was racing.

I certainly would not have been as successful without the wonderful guidance of Maura Costin Scalise. Maura believed in my abilities enough to recruit me as a senior in high school and I feel so lucky she did. While at Harvard, Maura not only was a wonderful coach but also a fine teacher. She pushed me as a swimmer. I can still so vividly hear her yelling, “Go NOW!” She took a bunch of girls that might not have seemed like much and developed us into Ivy League Champions. During my four years I was part of a team that never lost an Ivy League dual meet. I was part of two teams that went to NCAA’s with a top twenty finish. None of that would have been possible without Maura. She brought out the best swimming in all of us. I would like to thank Carole Landry, the assistant coach also. She was an inspiration to me. She was always quick with a joke and a smile when things got too intense for me.

I must also thank my fellow teammates. Wow! What a great group of swimmers. I feel like we came together so well each year as a team. It was an amazing time to be part of Harvard swimming.

Finally, I would like to thank Harvard and Harvard swimming for giving me three extremely important things in my life – my husband Bill Cleveland, and our two daughters, Alex and Hannah. It was at Blodgett pool that I met Bill. My life would not be complete without the three of them. Again, thank you for this wonderful honor and thank you Harvard for so many wonderful memories and opportunities. I will always be grateful.

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