The 1952 swim team, coached by the legendary Clinton Sprout and his fine assistant, “Hank” Whitton, was the first Peddie team ever to win the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships - widely recognized as the Prep School Nationals.
The team’s four returning All-Americans and top-quality depth served it well Just a year before, the swimmers had left behind the cramped “bath tub” in the basement of Geiger Reeves Hall for the spacious pool in Mills Memorial Gymnasium. They continued to celebrate their “emancipation” in grand style throughout this season.
Often from week to week, pool and team records were broken. In one case, the same meet saw a new record set and then - just several events later - bested for yet another new record! The strength of the team came from the many quarters, beginning with Coach Sprout. All-Americans Pat Shannon, Fred Freibott, Bill Merizon, and Dan MacNamee led the team into the Easterns, breaking numerous team and pool records along the way. But no four stars are enough to capture this prep school swimming championship. This is why Team Captain Fred Maguire, Dick Schmidt, Bob Boyle, Al Cameron, Hal Mischner, Phil Wagner, Phil Steele, Mike Issacs, Bill Winters, and Bill MacLean were so important to the team. At the season’s end, Boyle, Cameron, Mischner, and Schmidt joined repeater MacNamee as All-Americans.
Not enough can be said about Coach Sprout, after whom that pool was later named as is the current one, keeping his memory an integral part of Peddie swimming. Assistant Coach Whitton was invaluable, as well, in helping to set team strategy and inspire team members. Of these coaches, Captain Maguire says, “The two together were a great combination.” Admired coaches, established stars, and a great supporting cast joined forces to become one of Peddie’s finest teams ever.”