By John McElligott
I made the Swim team at MHS when I was a sophomore and decided not to play football.
The 1st Captains of the team were Rhodney Schultz and Fred Durham. Both were seniors and swam with the Midland Aquatic Club which I swam on when I was 9 yrs. old. I also swam with the 12 yr. old group but always came in last. Although we never placed, I did make the finals each time.
Rhodney and Fred always placed in the top 3 each time we raced. I looked like a midget compared to the 12-year-olds but was a fast free styler and always was able to swim against the 12-year-old guys most of whom were behind me. I always was trying to keep up with Rhodney and Fred!
I had to hitch hike to Hogan Park Pool where the Aquatic Club worked out. I never had a ride home, so Rodney would always take me home with him. He took me to the pool the next day for the swim meet with other towns swimming from all over Texas.
The best teams were Austin and Houston and that’s where I learned to swim butterfly with a dolphin kick years later. By the time I was 12, I was All State in the 12 year old age group. Rhodney had already moved on and I was in what was called the midget division, all under 12.
I was 9 when I started winning along with another swimmer named Doug Russell who eventually won the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City beating Mark Spritz in the butterfly finals. By then, I was home from the Military coming home from Vietnam. In Vietnam, I was still flying but, in a helicopter, (UH 34 D) as a Navy Medic with the US Marines in the DMZ the summer of 1967. See picture below.
So I have never saw Rhodney or Fred again but I never forgot who made me fearless and helped me save many wounded Marines because I never blinked, just like when I was swimming butterfly at MHS!!.
I never could find Rhodney or Fred, so if you know them or about them, please let me know.