From the Inside Flap
U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, Helsinki 1952
Assistant Olympic Water Polo Coach, 1968 Mexico City and 2000 Sydney
Head Olympic Water Polo Coach, 1972 Munich, 1980 Moscow, 1984 Los Angeles"Bob Hughes - THE TRUE STORY OF A LEGENDARY WATERMAN speaks of the life and career of one of America's greatest aquatic Olympians. I doubt that any Olympian has brought more physical ability to the sports of Water Polo and Swimming than Bob Hughes.
I first met Bob, the "gentle giant", while chasing his wake in the 100yd butterfly-breaststroke at the 1947 CIF Swimming Championships. Over the years we met a number of times in both water polo and swimming and became good friends. Through the club and lifeguard leagues, I was often times assigned the job of guarding him--Bob at 6' 6 1/2" and 230 lbs., while I stood 5'10" and weighed 152 lbs. As you can imagine, it was not much of a match up. My best defensive ploy was, during the course of a game, to engage Bob in a casual conversation. He was a big, friendly guy, and until he got serious, the Conversation Defense had some success. However, I must admit, when Bob got serious, the conversation would end and the ball was usually in the goal.
I was able to watch Bob's games at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics where he was the offensive star for the United States Water Polo Team. Bob Hughes, at the age of twenty one, had a fabulous tournament, leading the United States to a fourth place finish and establishing himself as the most dominant Two-Meter Specialist in the world. He was a "scoring machine" and, with his great strength and swimming ability, took the United States to its highest finish since the 1932 X Los Angeles Olympiad.
Between 1952 and 1956 Bob continued his brilliant water polo career and, at the same time, was setting World, American and NCAA Records in swimming. At the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne Australia, Bob became the first athlete since Johnny Weissmuller to make the Olympic Team in both sports.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines an athlete as: "One who has a natural aptitude for, or is skilled in physical exercises, sports or games". Their definition of athletic: STRONG, MUSCULAR, ROBUST, VIGOROUS, AGILE, ACTIVE". In every sense of the word, Bob Hughes fits their definitions. He was an outstanding athlete whose many talents let him excel in a number of sports. We are fortunate his final choice was aquatics. We have never again had an athlete of the caliber of Bob Hughes in our water world. He was simply the best!!
Please enjoy his remarkable story."
From the Back Cover
- Monte Nitzkowski
US Olympian, Pan American Games Water Polo Coach
& Five Time Olympic Water Polo Coach
""Bob Hughes, I was on your back, 5 fouls and I was out...you are the best!"
- Peter Ueberroth
Renowned Innovator of the 1984 Los Angles Olympic Games
and Time Magazine's Man of the Year
"Who is the only American competing in two different sports at Melbourne? Bob Hughes, our only entry in the 200m Breaststroke, and a member of our water polo team. First man since Weissmuller to double up in these two sports." - Sam Balter
US Olympian and Author of "One for the Book"
"Bob Hughes was positively brilliant as he . . . employed an over-the-shoulder whip shot which was almost impossible to defend against."
- Mal Florence, Los Angeles Times
"...in big Bob Hughes, a 1952 Veteran, we have a good goal shooter and a fast man.
He rates a bow as the first man since Weissmuller to double up in swimming and polo
at the Games. - Sports Illustrated
1956 Olympic Issue, Mixed Bag of Medals