J. Royce Sharp Jr. ’91

If you were limited to just one word to describe the career of Royce Sharp, it would be persistence.

As a freshman, Royce came to Peddie with practically no high-level swimming credentials save two - he liked swimming backwards, and he didn’t mind hard work. Royce set his sights high, pointed his eyes toward the ceiling, and started off toward success. The results were impressive!

Royce won the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships both his junior and senior years in the 100-yard backstroke. In 1991, he broke the National Prep School record in the 100-yard backstroke. He also won a national junior title and set an age group record in his specialty, the 200-meter backstroke.

Royce burst onto the national scene as a sophomore with a surprise third-place finish in his first US Championships. After finishing second two more times, Royce broke through to win his first National title in April 1991, his senior year.

Royce achieved one of his ultimate goals by earning a spot on the 1992 US Olympic team. He finished first at the Olympic trials in the 200-meter backstroke. His winning time of 1.58.66 is an American record, eclipsing the marks of former American greats, John Nabors and Rick Carey. No other American has ever swum backstroke as fast as this Peddie grad!

As living proof that dedication and single-mindedness can go a long way, Royce continued his swimming career as a member of the University of Michigan’s outstanding swimming team.