Article image

by Penny Bates

August 12, 2001

45 Years Between Competitive Swimming Careers

Born in Chicago, Illinois on March 30, 1913, Dave Malbrough first entered the world of competitive swimming at Lindblom High School. Although he swam the 50-yard breast while a freshman, he soon discovered his forte in the backstroke. While a senior, he held the top ranking in his backstroke event. In high school, Dave also competed in speed ice skating, and participated in the finals of the famous Chicago Tribune Silver Skates. As a member of the golf team, he played for two city high school championships and, in his junior year, won the individual title.

In 1932, he enrolled at Grinnell College, 650 students, in Grinnell, Iowa. He swam on the varsity team all four years and never lost a backstroke race. During his sophomore year, his undefeated team won the Missouri Valley Conference, beating both Iowa State and U. of Nebraska, which tied for the Big Six Swimming Title. As a junior, he set the conference record in the 150 back. In 1935, Grinnell, in the midst of the depression, could not finance a full time swim coach, so Dave coached the freshman and varsity teams.

After graduation, 45 years passed before Dave resumed competitive swimming. He lived in the Chicago area and joined the Illinois Masters team. In 1976, he swam in his first national meet, in St. Louis. Dave swam the 100-meter back in 1:39.17; 17 years later, he swam it in 1:45.81, missing the world record by .40 seconds. A few months later, he broke the SCM record in the 50-meter back. In 1988, he swam for Holmes Lumber Jax in Brisbane, Aus., and helped them win the world title.

In June, 1994, Dave competed at the Worlds in Montreal, and expressed disappointment with his slow times—from 2.50 seconds on his 50-meter back to over 16 seconds on his 200. His doctor diagnosed him as asthmatic. That kept him out of the water, temporarily, but he again returned to Masters competition. Malbrough aged up to 85, just in time for Y Nationals, at Ft. Lauderdale, in April, 1998. His most meaningful swims were breaking Tom. K. Cureton's 12 year old record in the 50-yard back, 46.81; and Gus Langer's 500 yard free, 9:55.12. As a longtime member of Illinois Masters, he helped organize their efforts to win the large team SCY National Championship in Indy, in all three divisions, plus, he won all six events. He joined the Florida Mavericks for the LCM Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale. He won all six events, set the national record in the 50-meter back, 53.24, and helped his men's small team repeat as national champs.

Cureton, Professor Emeriti, U. of Illinois, founder of one of the first physical fitness laboratories and Advisor to the US President's Physical Fitness Council, became Malbrough's mentor and friend, after he began Masters swimming. In the early 1940s Cureton set up the national swimming program for the YMCAs and advocated Vitamin E. He advised Dave to follow a food supplement program, and along with his food selections, to drink only skim milk, and continue his swimming workouts. Although not a doctor or nutritionalist, he feels that these two aspects of his life as a Masters swimmer have greatly contributed to slowing down the aging process. In 17 years, his time only increased in the 100-meter back by 6.64 seconds (see paragraph 3). Those years include ages 63-80, when aging normally speeds up, and swimming times slow down.

Dave lives in South Bend, Ind., and swims with the Florida Maverick Masters. The Mavericks are indebted to Dave, an entrepreneur business man, for his excellent job of getting the monogrammed towels for the 1997 Top-Ten and All American team awards. Thanks, Dave.

From the Maverick Masters newsletter with contributions from Mike Daley