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Bob Clotworthy

Sport: Diving

Born: May 8, 1931

Died: June 1, 2018

Town: Westfield

Robert Lynn Clotworthy was born May 8, 1931 in Newark and grew up in Westfield. Compact and coordinated, with exceptional body control, Bob found the sport of diving to his liking around the age of 10 and perfected his craft at the Westfield YMCA and for Westfield High School. He was coached by Ed Gillen and Stan Dudeck. Bob earned a scholarship to Ohio State, where he became one of the nation’s top springboard specialists under the tutelage of Mike Peppe, winning the 3-meter NCAA championship in 1952.

Bob made the 1952 Olympic team and won a bronze medal in the 3-meter springboard. He also won 5 AAU titles, as well as silver and bronze at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico. The silver came in the 10-meter platform. While watching the women’s swimming events, Bob first encountered his future wife, Cynthia Gill, who won bronze in the 100 meters backstroke.

Bob was diving for the New York Athletic Club at this point, making important post-career connections. He also coached divers at West Point. He went into the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne as the favorite in the 3-meter springboard. He edged fellow Buckeye Don Harper for the gold medal. He retired from competitive diving and started his coaching career in earnest at Dartmouth.

In 1958, Bob and Cynthia went on a three-month goodwill tour to the Far East and Middle East for the State Department giving swimming and diving exhibitions. He enjoyed working overseas so much that, in 1970, he went to work for the Peace Corps in Venezuela. Between 1958 and 197, Bob was the swimming coach at Princeton. He developed two Olympic medal-winners, Jed Graef and Ross Wales.

In the 1970s, Bob fell in love with the Southwest and taught for many years at the Albuquerque Academy. He retired to Taos, New Mexico, where he coached at the Taos Swim Club and wrote the definitive history of diving. He was enshrined in the Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980. He passed away in 2018 in Salt Lake City.

 

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