A DOCumentary – a tribute to a legend: Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman
The USMS Short Course Nationals, which were dedicated to the legendary Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman, were a raucous, record-breaking, aging myth-shattering affair. Doc would have loved it. The week of the U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals in April (Indianapolis) was a complete immersion into the world of swimming, both past and present. My college aquatic career was spent at Indiana University, where I trained under the legendary Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman.
The celebration of and memorial to Doc’s extraordinary life had been held the weekend before Masters Nationals in Bloomington, Ind., on the campus of his beloved Indiana University. Anyone whose life had been touched by Doc would need an exceptional reason not to attend. So, faced with the strange scheduling of these two events, I committed to two consecutive weekends in Hoosierland, where I was joined by my former and current teammates, Ken Frost and Bob Olson.
The first weekend was a wonderful time, during which I reconnected with many of the kindred souls who shared a bond with Doc. The weekend was highlighted by a moving tribute to this wonderful man. Over 200 former IU swimmers came back for the event, where we were joined by Doc’s former coaching colleagues and an unlikely assortment of friends, academics, and writers.