|Full name||David Erwin Larson|
|National team||United States|
June 25, 1959 |
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||174 lb (79 kg)|
|College team||University of Florida|
David Erwin Larson (born June 25, 1959) is an American former competition swimmer who is an Olympic gold medalist and former world record-holder. Larson was notable for his success as a member of American relay teams in international competition – and for setting two world records in the same event on the same day.
Larson was born in the small town of Jesup, Georgia in 1959. He started swimming as an age-group swimmer in 1963-64. He attended the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, where he swam for the Bolles high school swim team. He graduated from Bolles in 1977.
College swimming career
Larson accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he swam for the Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) competition under coach Randy Reese from 1978 to 1981. Larson won two NCAA championships at Florida in the 800-yard freestyle relay (1979, 1981), and setting American and NCAA records. He finished second in the 200-yard freestyle to Rowdy Gaines of Auburn in 1981, but then out-swam Gaines on the final leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay to claim the NCAA championship in the relay. Larson earned twenty-one All-American honors and was national record holder in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
International swimming career
Larson was first selected for the U.S. national swim team for the 1979 Pan American Games held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In what would become a regular match-up, Larson earned a silver medal in the men's 200-meter freestyle for his second-place finish (1:52.24) behind American teammate Rowdy Gaines (1:51.22). Two days later, Larson and Gaines combined with fellow Americans Brian Goodell and Kris Kirchner to win a Pan Am gold medal in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay (7:31.28).
He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1980, as a member of the U.S. team in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay, but was unable to compete because U.S. President Jimmy Carter organized the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics to be held in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After completing his college career in 1981, Larson quit swimming, only to return to competition a year later. Larson continued his training with the program that coach Randy Reese had created for post-college swimmers in Gainesville, Florida.
At the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, he again won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the men's 200-meter freestyle relay, together with Richard Saeger, Bruce Hayes and Rowdy Gaines (7:23.63).
Larson represented the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. In the preliminary heats of the men's 4×200-meter freestyle relay, he and U.S. teammates Geoff Gaberino, Bruce Hayes and Richard Saeger set a new world record of 7:18.87. But the new record was short-lived. Later that same afternoon, Larson won the gold medal in the event final of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, together with his American teammates Mike Heath, Jeff Float and Bruce Hayes, by defeating the Michael Gross-anchored West German team by four one-hundredths (0.04) of a second, and setting yet another new world record of 7:15.69 in the process. The American media dubbed the four swimmers the "Gross Busters," a play on the popular 1984 movie Ghostbusters.
In the aftermath of the 1984 Olympics, Larson retired from competitive swimming at the age of 25.
Life after swimming
After the post-Olympic national celebrations, Larson was offered an opportunity to work in sports marketing in New York City. His early professional career involved dealings with agents, creating event sponsorships, and negotiating athlete contracts. He spent the next decade working in sports marketing, then in television. He worked with NBC on its Olympic broadcasts, including the 2005 Winter Games.
Larson and his wife Kitty, a Miami lawyer, have a son.
Men's 4x200-meter medley relay
|7:18.87||July 30, 1984||1984 Summer Olympics||Los Angeles, California|
|7:15.69||July 30, 1984||1984 Summer Olympics||Los Angeles, California|
- List of Olympic medalists in swimming (men)
- List of United States records in swimming
- List of University of Florida alumni
- List of University of Florida Olympians
- World record progression 4 × 200 metres freestyle relay
- databaseOlympics.com, Athletes, David Larson. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Sports-Reference.com, Olympic Sports, Athletes, David Larson. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
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- The Bolles School, Athletics, Bolles Olympic Medalists. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
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- University of Florida Alumni Directory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2000).
- F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- "18-carat performance: U.S. wins 10 gold medals," St. Petersburg Times, p. 1C (July 3, 1979). Retrieved March 4, 2015.
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- "Scouting; Happy Return For Swimmer," The New York Times (August 4, 1984). Retrieved March 4, 2015.
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- Sports-Reference.com, Olympic Sports, Swimming at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Round One. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Associated Press, "Add 3 / U.S. gold total at 9," The Indiana Gazette, p. 14 (July 31, 1984). Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Sports-Reference.com, Olympic Sports, Swimming at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Final. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Knight News Service, "U.S. Swimmers Set World Relay Mark," The Toledo Blade, p. 18 (July 31, 1984). Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Frank Litsky, "U.S. swimmers win two more golds," The New York Times (July 31, 1984). Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Craig Neff, "The U.S. Is Back . . . And How!," Sports Illustrated (August 13, 1984). Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Associated Press, "Former Gator swimmer struck by Olympic patriotism," The Gainesville Sun, p. 3E (August 26, 1984). Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Caraccioli, Jerry, & Tom Caraccioli, Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, New Chapter Press, Washington, D.C. (2009). ISBN 978-0-942257-54-0.
- De George, Matthew, Pooling Talent: Swimming's Greatest Teams, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland (2014). ISBN 978-1-4422-3701-8.
- David Larson – Olympic athlete profile at Sports-Reference.com