Born: February 28, 1937 - Detroit, Michigan.
Graduated: Wichita East H.S., Wichita (KS), 1954, Oklahoma University, 1958; MA Yale, 1963
Olympic champion and world record holder, Jeff Farrell dove into the national swimming spotlight while a senior at Wichita East High School in 1954. Prep All-American that year, he tied the national record in the 220-yard freestyle in the first meet of the year. Over the next six years, Farrell was named to every All-American team at the high school, collegiate (University of Oklahoma) and AAU levels.
During his career, Farrell won six national championships in both the 100 and 200-meter freestyle events, and he set 25 American, world and Olympic records. He won two gold medals and set two records at the 1959 Pan American Games. He was the first swimmer to break 2-minutes in the 200-meter freestyle and the first American to break 56 and 55 in the 100-meter freestyle.
Olympic Games & Post-Professional Career
In 1960, he was among the top swimmers in the world but was stricken with an acute case of appendicitis just six days before the U.S. Olympic Trials and appeared to be out of contention for a spot on the American team. But heavily bandaged and in intense pain, Farrell qualified for the team in two relay events. His courage was the inspiration of the team and he anchored both the 4x200 freestyle relay and the 4x100 medley relay teams to gold medals in world record times at the Rome Olympics of 1960. After the 1960 Olympics, Farrell lived overseas for two decades, coaching foreign swim teams. In 1980 he got back into swimming at the Masters level, winning several national titles and breaking numerous national and world masters records.
He was honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers as the Most Courageous Athlete, the L.A. Times with the National Sports Award, the AAU Swimming Award and finished third in the voting for the Sullivan Award. Farrell is also inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the Helms Foundation Athletic Hall of Fame and the Santa Barbara (CA) Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.