George Breen

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George Breen
Personal information
Full name George Thomas Breen
National team  United States
Born (1935-07-19) July 19, 1935 (age 83)
Buffalo, New York
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 183 lb (83 kg)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle
Club Indianapolis Athletic Club
College team Cortland State University

George Thomas Breen (born July 19, 1935) is an American former competition swimmer, four-time Olympic medalist, and former world record-holder in three events. After retiring as a swimmer, he became a coach at Jersey Wahoos Swim Club in New Jersey.

Breen was born in Buffalo, New York. He was a champion rower for Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, and the West Side Rowing Club. He began swimming competitively as a 17-year-old freshman at Cortland State University under coach Doc Counsilman, almost a decade later than most of his future rivals.

Breen represented the United States at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. As a member of the second-place U.S. team in the men's 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Breen earned a silver medal, together with Dick Hanley, Bill Woolsey and Ford Konno. He also took bronze medals in the 400-meter freestyle (4:32.5) and men's 1,500-meter freestyle (18:08.2) – after setting a new world record of 17:52.9 in the qualifying heats of the 1,500.

At the 1959 Pan American Games, he won a gold medal for his first-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle and a silver as the runner-up in the 1500-meter freestyle. He was elected team captain of the U.S. men for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and earned another bronze medal while competing in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle (17:55.9).

Breen coached the Penn Quakers men's swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania from the late 1966 until 1982, and served as a coach for U.S. Swimming. He formerly coached for Gloucester County Institute of Technology (Deptford, New Jersey) swim team (now separate from the school, it is known as the Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club) and coaches now at the Jersey Wahoos Swim Club in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. In recent years he was diagnosed with bone cancer of his right middle finger and had to have it amputated.

Breen has been a resident of Washington Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, where he has continued to coach local high school and club swim teams into his 70s.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Pawling, Chris. "Swimming legend George Breen pays visit to local meet", South Jersey Times, January 30, 2012. Accessed November 30, 2017. "Washington Township resident George Breen was in attendance at Saturday’s SJISA Coaches’ Invitational swim meet at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology."

External links

  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "George Breen". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03.
  • George Breen (USA) – Honor Swimmer profile at International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • George Breen – Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame profile

Preceded by
Hironoshin Furuhashi
Men's 1,500-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

May 3, 1956 – October 30, 1956
Succeeded by
Murray Rose
Preceded by
Murray Rose
Men's 1,500-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

December 5, 1956 – February 22, 1958
Succeeded by
John Konrads

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