I came to Fenn in the later part of 1954 and wanted so bad to join the swim team seeing we did not have one at West Technical High School on the west side of Cleveland. I went to the pool for try-outs and swam a length of the pool with a freestyle stroke. “What else can you do?” shouted Bob Busbey. I was really disappointed because I thought that stroke was my best. I showed him I could do the breast stroke, which I only used when I got tired in the water. “That’s your stroke!” came Bob’s booming voice. Little did I know at the time that Bob was short a breast stroker on the team. Well, with Bob’s teaching I was able to Letter that first year doing just breast stroke. With his training I went on to accomplish backstroke, butterfly and even some freestyle.
We were a real rag-tag bunch, not having the funds that Cleveland State has now, we had to drive our own cars to the away meets, write our own articles for the school paper and made do with the facilities, which is obvious by the photo of Bob with Ron Harned and me in our old maroon terry cloth robes. We even repainted the cork lane markers, one at a time, in the balcony and almost asphyxiated ourselves. But seeing as we didn’t know any better we had a great time. We were a very close knit bunch and enjoyed every minute of the competition. For symbols we wore different hats each season. It started out when a few of us found Coonskin hats the first year, then we all went to Irish Tams, then Alpine hats, shown in the 1957 photo at a restaurant, and finally to black bowlers that we wore around school the day of a meet with a card in the band announcing the time of the meet.
The large outside group photo was taken in Grove City during the 1955 Penn-Ohio meet. Bob Busbey is on the far right.
One year Bob put Buffalo State and Buffalo University in the schedule and we stayed in one of their large dorm rooms which is the color photo of all the cots we slept on. We were killed by both colleges and needless to say we retreated to Pennsylvania and Ohio to swim schools in our own league.
All in all, it was a great time and we were all grateful to have known Bob Busby and to have benefited from his coaching.