If we could all be transported back in time to the Amphibian Age, freshman Richard Baughman would be one of the few able to take it in stride. He leads a life very different from the ordinary mortal as he spends a large proportion of his daylight hours in water.
Baughman swims 12,000 yd. (48C lengths) a day, 4000 of which he faces every morning before his first class of the day. The weekends bring no respite.
"If somebody asked me why I do it. I wouldn't really be able to say. I like being in shape, like right now I can swim 1650 yards at 85 per cent effort without getting tired."
Richard Baughman broke the Yale pool record in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:46.9 last Saturday. Thursday he established a new Harvard record in the 500-yard freestyle of 4:42.5.
Two days before college decisions were due last spring Baughman was wavering between a final choice of U.S.C. or the University of Michigan. Despite some pressure from his father, Richard resisted "even though I know I won't be swimming for the rest of my life". Because of the informality of Harvard's swimming program until this year. Baughman had decided that a Harvard education would entail the sacrifice of years of training.
Call from Gambril
Then he received a half-hour long distance call from Harvard's newly acquired swimming coach Don Gambril and the problem was solved.
Although admissions had already been sent when Gambril was chosen, he was given a list of eleven top swimmers accepted. Nine of the eleven decided on Harvard after talking to Gambril. This year approximately half of the Varsity team is freshmen.
Gambril said that Baughman is "a dedicated athlete and a great prospect." "He could be Olympic material by 1976 but he'd have to show continuing progress," he added. "He needs speed but should get that with maturity and strength."
While sprinters require ability and only a minimal amount of work, the long distance man must train long hours to strengthen heart and lungs and build endurance. According to Gambril the distance man must work from four to eight years for 10 or 11 months a year to reach peak endurance. He must swim between 1200 and 1500 miles a year, or about 35-50 miles a week.
Figuring a difficulty ratio of about four miles running to every mile of swimming, it is no wonder that Baughman says, "I think we have to train more then any other type of athlete, except somebody said maybe figure skaters."
Asked why be endures long-distance training. Baughman pointed to his quite normal bicep and explained. "I have no choice but to swim long distances. I don't have any power."
Indeed, at 6 ft. 2 in, and 160 lbs. Baughman has an appearance of smooth agility rather than power. Despite a voracious appetite. Baughman's weight has lagged behind his growth during recent years.
During the summer he trains near his home in New Trier East, a suburb of Chicago. He still swims under the AAU program in his area, an amateur organization responsible for his first serious interest in swimming at the age of eight.
Not Overly Academic
A probable government or economics major. Baughman is not overly academic, even when he has time to be. He says, "I don't know what I'd do without swimming. I can't just sit down and read a book for six hours."
Precluding an accident. Baughman will be one of the few Harvard swimmers to travel to West Point for the NCAA's from March 23-25. After that he will take a brief rest before he begins to train for the Olympic trials in early August.
The world record for the 1500 meter freestyle is about 30 seconds below Baughman's best time. Considering his improvement by ten seconds over the last year, the goal does not seem too unreasonable.