Joe Verdeur

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Joe Verdeur
Personal information
Full name Joseph Thomas Verdeur
Nickname(s) "Joe"
Nationality  United States
Born (1926-03-07)March 7, 1926
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died August 6, 1991(1991-08-06) (aged 65)
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Breaststroke
College team La Salle University

Joseph Thomas Verdeur (March 7, 1926 – August 6, 1991) was an American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder.

Verdeur was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended North Catholic High School in Philadelphia, and led the North Catholic Falcons swim team to three consecutive Catholic League championships and two city championships. He was also a two-time first-team All-Catholic swimmer.

During his college swimming career at LaSalle University, he set nineteen world and twenty-one American swimming records. As a member of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Verdeur won a gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke with a new Olympic record time of 2:39.3. He may well have won more medals in the butterfly and individual medley if these had been included at the time as he was a multiple national champion and record-breaker in both events.

Verdeur was also chosen by the coaches to compete in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay with the U.S. team (which also won the gold medal), but Verdeur gave up his place to teammate Wally Wolf so that Wolf could also receive a gold medal. Verdeur was named "Swimmer of the Year" by Sport Magazine in 1948 and 1949. He graduated from LaSalle in 1950. Legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice called Verdeur "the greatest swimmer of the first half century."

Verdeur was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966, the LaSalle University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1961, North Catholic Hall of Fame in 1991,National Polish American Hall of Fame {}, The Helms Foundation Hall of Fame, and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He died of cancer in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania in 1991; he was 65 years old.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Joe Verdeur – Olympic athlete profile at
  • Joe Verdeur (USA) – Honor Swimmer profile at International Swimming Hall of Fame