Poseidon At Princeton

Courtesy of DeNunzio Pool, Princeton, New Jersey.

In the entrance of the aquatic complex on the Princeton University campus, there is a beautiful sculpted memorial to J. Randolph Block (1953-2003), a member of the Princeton Class of 1974. It reads, “His love for Princeton, Princeton Swimming and Diving, and his teammates still lives.”

The sculpture was created by Professor Joe Brown and welcomes all the athletes, coaches and spectators in the lobby. The sculpture is called Poseidon with Swimmers.

‘Randy’ Block died in 2003 due to the effects of a 1981 car accident. His Class of 1974 wrote of him in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, “Forever unconventional, Randy’s compass shot north with a boundless intellect that led him to a DePaul Law School professorship; east to Princeton, where he was legendary for spontaneous, outrageous antics, eccentricities and humor; south, where he was firmly grounded to his beloved family farm; and finally, due west, to a courageous, selfless, chivalrous side few knew. Along every point of that compass, at every crosSroads, Randy had loyal, loving friends, countless interests, and a relentless, contagious zest for life.

We recall Randy announcing he was “going out for beer,” disappearing for days, and returning from Colorado with his Chevy dragging bottom, crammed with cases of Coors.

Later, at the University of Chicago, Randy literally stopped a bullet to protect two women from being assaulted. Shot in the back, he drove himself to the hospital.

His 1981 car accident left Randy paralyzed and unable to speak, but with his intellect, sense of humor, and college memories largely intact. Undaunted, he communicated with eye signals, and greatly enjoyed hearing about friends, and especially about his own escapades.

Randy is survived by his stepmother, Mary, and his brothers George, Edward, and Casey. Nothing would make Randy happier than for us to share stories over a can of Coors.”

Princeton University started its swimming program in 1904. Over the decades, the university has had numerous swimming luminaries – both in the pool and open water – study on its campus including:

* 10 Olympians including Dan Veatch, winner of the 7 km Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim
* Ross Wales who negotiated an agreement between FINA and the International Marathon Swimming Association to coordinate international open water swimming within FINA
* Evan Morrison, co-creator of the Marathon Swimmers Federation
* Andrew Chadeayne, Ph.D., J.D., inventor of SwimSpray that prevents chlorine from bonding to hair and skin and to remove the film left over after swimming in salt water
* Susan Moody, co-creator of Swim4Good
* Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., a Paragon Award recipient
* Jordan Rapp, Chief Technology Officer of Slowtwitch
* Ashby Taylor Harper, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer

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