Class Notes

National Champion Vegan Masters Swimmer ’56

June 16, 2014

My first experience of competitive swimming began at Deerfield in 1952 under Latin teacher and coach Jack Pidgeon, later to become headmaster of the Kiski School for a period of years exceeding Mr.Boyden’s iconic Deerfield tenure.
I swam on the Harvard Varsity for four years , 1956-1960, under coaches Hal Ulen and Bill Brooks.
After a 37-year absence from swim racing, Bob Gibbon, captain of our 1956 Deerfield team visited with me “out of the blue” in Northern California. He told me about the existence of Masters swimming. Bingo! I was back in the pool working out. After two years competing “unattached,” I joined Walnut Creek Masters coached by Kerry O’Brien.
I celebrated my 70th birthday, significantly an age up year (70-74) by becoming a vegetarian and finishing first in two races at Masters nationals.
I celebrated my 75th birthday, again an age up year (75-79) becoming a vegan activist and national champion in the 50 breaststroke.
Most gratifying for me was realizing we don’t need ANY animal protein for strength and stamina. We have been sold a lifelong load of promotional information by the meat and dairy industries, as mendacious and predatory as the cigarette companies were for decades assuring everyone that there were no harmful effects to smoking, or that nicotine was even addictive!
In fact, a plant-based diet is far healthier for human beings, reversing the onset of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc; reversing the on-going desecration to Earth’s environment, and sparing the lives of billions of enslaved animals raised and netted for human consumption every year. Animal farming is a holocaust of cruelty and pollution. It is uncaring violence for profit. Out of compassion for the well-being of our own spirits, let’s NOT subsidize the consumption of animal products. Delicious and far healthier substitutes are now available, as well as the abundant encouragement by those who already appreciate their enhanced food choices.
Be happy, go vegan, live fully, and swim for life!

Jim Perilman