National Champion Vegan Masters Swimmer ’56

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


Frequently Asked Questions

Upon graduating from Deerfield, alumni enter a diverse network of former Deerfield students. Deerfield alumni have ventured into almost every area of employment, and many are at the top of their respective fields. The advantages of this vast network are numerous and significant, as every member of the Deerfield family receives the following:

Alumni are also eligible for alumni awards, such as the Ashley Award, Heritage Award, and the Mimi Morsman Award.

There are no membership fees or dues for members of the Deerfield family, but Deerfield does ask for assistance in a few areas. First of all, in order for Deerfield to have the most up-to-date records possible, we encourage members to keep us apprised of their current contact info. Alumni are also urged to direct all concerns and suggestions regarding Deerfield’s operations through the Executive Committee, the governing body of the Alumni Association. The committee acts as the voice of the alumni body, and works closely with the school administration. In order to keep tuition affordable and the quality of a Deerfield education at its highest, the Academy depends upon the continuing support of alumni and their families. This support can take the form of annual or capital gifts, or time spent volunteering on behalf of Deerfield.

There are Deerfield Clubs in many major American cities. Please visit here for more information on specific clubs and their sponsored events. 

Of course! Be sure to read the latest issue of From Albany Road in your email’s in-box for current news of what is happening on campus. As we also send out periodic invitations, it’s always best to make sure we have your current physical address. And if you do plan on visiting campus, why not tell us ahead of time?

Contact the Office of Advancement

7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 306
Deerfield, MA 01342