Swimming, 100-meter Freestyle (Competed but did not qualify for the event final)
1952 Olympic Games
Outrigger’s Olympic hopes in 1952 were pinned on Richard “Spoofy” Cleveland, a Punahou graduate (1947) who entered the U.S. Army in 1948 and was stationed at Schofield Barracks. Cleveland joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1949 but competed for the Army or unattached in local meets as Outrigger no longer had a swim team.
In the fall of 1949, Cleveland entered the University of Hawaii as a freshman to swim for Coach Soichi Sakamoto where he quickly began setting Hawaii records in the sprints. Cleveland set his first American record in the 110-yard freestyle at the National AAU Championships in 1950 with a time of 58.2. He was named to the U.S. team to compete in an invitational meet in Japan.
Cleveland entered Ohio State University in the fall of 1950 as a transfer student. At OSU he set four NCAA records, three Big Ten Conference records and was an AAU First Team All-American six times.
Dick dropped out of OSU in the spring of his sophomore year after the National AAU Indoor Swimming Championships to train full-time for the 1952 Olympics with Coach Sakamoto at the Waikiki Natatorium. Dick earned his place on Hawaii’s Olympic trials team by winning the 100-meter freestyle at the Hawaii AAU meet in June 1952. In the Olympic tryouts, Cleveland finished second to qualify for the U.S. team.
In the preliminary heat for the Olympic 100-meters in Helsinki, Dick won his heat in 57.8. In the semifinals, he finished third in 58.6 and did not qualify for the Olympic finals.
After the Olympics, Cleveland returned to Ohio State where he pioneered weight training for swimmers. He set a total of four world records in the 100-meters, 100-yards and freestyle relay. He won a total of eight AAU National Championships, three Gold medals at the 1951 Pan American Games; and set ten American records.
After college, Dick returned to Hawaii and became active in the Outrigger Canoe Club. He served on the Swimming Committee and was elected to the OCC Board of Directors in 1960 for a two-year term.
He was named to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1991, the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002.
100 Yards Freestyle, :49.3, Columbus, Ohio, 1/26/1952
100 Yards Freestyle, :49.2, Columbus, Ohio, 2/23/1952
100 Meters Freestyle, :54.8, New Haven, Conn, 4/1/1954
300 Yard Medley Relay (3×100), 2:47.1 (anchor leg), 2/6/1952
400 Yard Medley Relay (4×100), 3:55.1 (anchor leg), 2/6/1954
400 Yard Medley Relay (4×100), 3:48.0 Ohio State U., (first leg), 1/22/1955
*World records provided by ISHOF 2019