Olympic swimmer Mike Austin donates his gold medal to Yale
Yale Bulletin and Calendar, July 14, 2006The illustrious history of the Yale men's swimming program was recalled on June 3 when one of the University's Olympians, former captain Mike Austin ‘64, donated his gold medal to his alma mater in a special ceremony held in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
"Yale is where my gold medal belongs," said Austin. "I just thought, ‘Of course I should do that,' and I decided to donate my medal. It has traveled with me all over the world and it will be much better cared-for in the Kiphuth Trophy Room at Payne Whitney Gym."
Austin won the gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo as a member of the U.S. 400-meter world-record freestyle relay team. One of his relay teammates was Steve Clark ‘65, who donated one of his three gold medals from that Olympiad to Yale last year. The relay team also included Don Schollander ‘68 and Gary Ilman.
"This is a tremendous gesture on Mike's part," said Frank Keefe, the head coach of Yale men's and women's swimming. "This gold medal symbolizes one of the most significant achievements in the history of Yale swimming."
Athletics Director Tom Beckett echoed Keefe's sentiments: "The tradition of Yale Swimming is so rich and proud. To receive another Olympic gold medal from a Yale swimmer, for all in the Yale community to see, is truly an honor. We thank Mike and his family for their most thoughtful and generous contribution."
Beckett and Keefe were joined by Phil Moriarty, Austin's coach at Yale, at the ceremony.
Austin captained Yale's 1964 team, when the Bulldogs placed first at the EISL Championship and 3rd at the NCAAs. He anchored the American-record 400 freestyle championship relay in 1963 at Senior Nationals. He also won the 1964 NCAA championship in the 50 freestyle and was an anchor of Yale's NCAA championship and NCAA record-setting 400 freestyle relays in 1963 and 1964, swimming perhaps the fastest relay splits in history.
A relative unknown at the national level at first, Austin was only a freshman when he broke and held briefly the American record for the 100 freestyle, swimming a 47.7 lead-off relay leg during the 1961 Senior National AAUs. In 1962, he set an NCAA record for the 100 freestyle of 47.0 in the famous Yale-Harvard dual meet. He was Eastern champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle in 1962.
Austin is now chief financial officer for Strategic Science and Technologies LLC, a biotech company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that develops trans-dermal products. He recently returned to the United States after working abroad for many years.
The Bulldogs have captured 60 individual NCAA championships and four team national titles, while swimmers from Yale have won 19 Olympic medals.