Jack Cody

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Jack Cody (April 1, 1885 – April 11, 1963)[1] was an American swimming coach in Oregon. He coached at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, Oregon for more than 30 years, winning 3 national championships and producing 15 Olympic swimmers.

Early career[edit]

A diver, Cody came to the Multnomah Athletic Club in 1913 and his coaching brought national prominence to Constance Meyer. He was the first coach of Norman Ross, a swimming world record setter and multiple gold medal winner at the 1920 Summer Olympics.[2] In those same Olympics, his diving students Thelma Payne, Hap Kuehn, and Louis Balbach all medaled in diving.[3][4]

"Cody's Kids"[edit]

His greatest fame came from 1939 to 1949 with the emergence of a group of his students who came to be known as "Cody's Kids": Nancy Merki, Brenda Helser, Suzanne Zimmerman, Joyce Macrae, Geneva Klaus, and Mary Anne Hansen, who dominated U.S. girls amateur swimming, winning three national Amateur Athletic Union swimming titles (in 1943, 1944, and 1949),[5][6][7] 42 individual championships, and 16 relay championships, setting numerous records along the way.[3][8]

The cancellation of the 1940 and 1944 Summer Olympics due to World War II prevented the swimmers from having a chance to appear in the Olympics at their peak of their careers, though Zimmerman and Helser did win medals in the 1948 games.[3]


Cody retired from the MAC in 1949 and moved to Los Angeles, where he continued teaching and coaching. He died in Santa Monica, California on April 11, 1963. He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame,[3] the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame,[9] and the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.[10]


  1. ^ "Social Security Death Index Search Results". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  2. ^ Ross at top of Mermen.; Rated Highest by Experts Because of Work at Meet. The New York Times, July 27, 1919. p. 21.
  3. ^ a b c d "Jack Cody". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  4. ^ Buker, Paul. MAC Club's history rich in diving glory. The Oregonian, April 20, 1990.
  5. ^ "Multnomah Team of Four Gains U.S. Swimming Title as W.S.A. Places Third". New York Times. April 12, 1943. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  6. ^ "Swim Title Goes to Miss Sinclair". New York Times. April 17, 1944. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  7. ^ "Miss Olson First in 3-Meter Diving". New York Times. April 25, 1949. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  8. ^ Schneidermann, Floyd (August 19, 1990). "Swimmers Reunited at Coach's Induction into State Sports Hall". The Oregonian. 
  9. ^ "Hall of Fame Roll of Honor Members". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Jack Cody". American Swim Coaches Association. Retrieved 2008-01-14.