Coach Ray Daughters

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2002 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

Head Coach, Washington Athletic Club

Ray Daughters unprecedented success began at the Washington Athletic Club (WAC) where he had the privilege of coaching many talented swimmers. Daughters’ two most famous swimmers were Helene Madison and Jack Medica, the USA’s top freestylers in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics respectively. His other Olympic swimmers were Marylou Petty, Olive McKean and Nancy Ramey (1956). Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame 2004 Inductees Bob Miller and Bob Regan also swam at the Washington Athletic Club under Ray Daughters.

Ray coached the US Olympic Team in four consecutive Olympic Games: 1936, 1948 (U.S. Women’s Swimming Coach), 1952, and 1956 (Berlin, London, Helsinki, and Melbourne). He was the US Olympic Team manager for Men’s Swimming team at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. In 1964, Ray Daughters was the Official Swimming Photographer for the Olympic Games. Ray was the chairman of the AAU Men’s Swimming Committee (1957-1959) and the U.S. Men’s Olympic Swimming Committee (1960). Ray was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1971 as a coach honoree.

Ray Daughters lived most of his life in Seattle, moving there from Denver when he was ten. He grew up near water and was the sprint and distance swimming champion of the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s. In Seattle of 1914, the Illinois Athletic Club exhibited a record-breaking men’s swimming team under Coach Bill Bachrach. Daughters finished a close second to Arthur Raithel, then the national 500 yard freestyle champion.

During World War I, as Chief Petty Officer at the Seattle Naval Training Station, he was in charge of swimming. During this time, thousands of men were taught to swim.

Daughters started coaching at the Seattle Crystal Pool where he produced Helene Madison and then moved to the Washington Athletic Club when it was built in 1930. He became Director of Athletics in 1942 and retired in December of 1964. Internationally, Daughters wore the USA uniform at every Olympics from 1936 through 1964. He served as Women’s swimming coach in Berlin in 1936 and again at London in 1948.

In 1952, 1956, and 1964 at Helsinki, Melbourne and Tokyo, he was official swimming photographer. In 1960 he was Manager of the men’s swimming team at Rome. During the years 1957-59, he served as Chairman of the AAU Men’s Swimming Committee and in 1960 was Chairman of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Swimming Committee.

Ray is credited with coaching Washington Athletic Club swimmers to:

  • 30 World Records
  • 301 American Records
  • 64 National Championships