Joe Verdeur

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Joe Verdeur
Personal information
Full name Joseph Thomas Verdeur
Nickname(s) "Joe"
National team  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
Strokes 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.

While attending La Salle University, he set nineteen world and twenty-one American records swimming for the La Salle Explorers. 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.[1] 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 4×200-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]


  1. ^, Olympic Sports, Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games, Men's 200 metres breaststroke final standings Archived 2011-08-10 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved February 21, 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by

Alfred Nakache
Men's 200-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

April 5, 1946 – June 9, 1951
Succeeded by

Herbert Klein