Robert John Herman Kiphuth
(November 17, 1890 – January 7, 1967) was born in Tonawanda, New York
and is best known for his 42-year career as head coach of the Yale University
men's swim team, from 1917-1959. During his tenure with Bulldogs swimming and diving
, he amassed a record of 528 wins to only 12 losses, along with 4 NCAA
), earning him a reputation for being the winningest coach in history.
Kiphuth also served as the head coach for multiple U.S. Olympic swimming teams (both men and women, depending on the year). For a few years near the end of his career, he doubled as Yale's Athletic Director, a job he eventually left to return his focus to coaching. He was largely responsible for the modern sport of swimming, which he shaped by introducing such innovations (now standard practices) as dryland workouts and interval training.
From 1951-1961, Kiphuth was the publisher of Swimming World
Kiphuth was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
by President Lyndon Johnson
on December 6, 1963. He had been chosen to receive the award by President John F. Kennedy
. (President Kennedy also received the Medal of Freedom, posthumously, at the same ceremony.