From a swimming scholarship to coach of the year
Charles Schlegel, 70, Brooklyn, N.Y., attended Ohio State in 1948, and swam with Olympian Bill Smith. After the war, he served in an airborne unit (28 jumps), in Germany, near relatives. Subsequently, he attended Long Island University on a swimming scholarship, and received his teaching certificate. Schlegel taught at Unionville High School, Long Island, where he coached all sports, plus swimming. Gabelson, a top NYSU coach, hired him a year before the new Plainview High School was built. Schlegel established a top high school swim program in the U.S., along with his other duties as aquatic director, athletic director and assistant principal. In 1981, he was named "National Coach of the Year."
His 466 wins/16 losses earned him the title of second most winning coach, behind George Haines of California. From 1960-1985, his high school won all 30 league titles and 28 out of 30 sectional championships (equal to state title in N.Y.) He coached a top level U.S. team for 27 years and assisted the German Olympic team in Munich, 1972. For three years he served as athletic director, facilities manager and swim coach at NYSU (Westbury). He moved to Florida in 1989, and coaches a high school team. His astonishing lifetime win/loss record nears 1000/50. He swam on the first Maverick National Champs team in 1997. He holds two US 3000-yard Postal Relay records. His swimming has been limited, recently, due to two surgeries. He and his wife live in Ponce Inlet, Fla. In 2001, Schlegel was inducted into the Metropolitan Swimming Hall of Fame in East Meadow, N.Y.