WATERBURY, Conn, August 29. HOOSIERS, the true story about an overachieving boy’s basketball team from a small Indiana high school that went on to win their state championship, is a truly inspiring film. What they accomplished one year in Indiana, was the track record of Jim Farrar’s charges in swimming for a dozen years, reports one of Farrar’s charges from his days at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury.
In 1947, Jim Farrar was hired by Sacred Heart High School (SHHS) of Waterbury, a factory town in central Connecticut, to start and coach a boy’s swim team. This small, poor Catholic school had very limited resources, and no athletic facilities.
Coach Farrar worked in a factory by day to support his wife and four children. He and “his boys” traveled significant distances to practice every night at another high school. Most of us had never swum competitively, and coming from factory families, had to cram in our homework between afternoon jobs and nightly training. We had little equipment and hand me down sweat suits that the homeless wouldn’t wear. Our competitors we’re from much larger well-known schools and arrived by bus, while we traveled to away meets in a caravan of parent’s cars.
That first year team had a 3 and 8 record. The next year went 8 and 3. From 1949 to 1954, SHHS was undefeated; setting a national record of over 70 dual meet wins in row that ended at our last 1955 event. The 1956 to 1962 teams went 101 and 11, which included 2 undefeated seasons. When in 1962 SHHS terminated the program for financial reasons, Jim Farrar’s record of achievement was…
7 undefeated seasons… 5 CIAC State Championships…7 CHHSA State championships…2 New England Championships, and 4 runner ups….25 State and New England swimming records…countless pool records…with the vast majority of “his 180 boys” going on to college.
Coach Farrar continued to successfully coach high school swimming in his neighboring hometown of Naugatuck, CT. Unfortunately, he’s never been honored for his o
outstanding record. Now 90 years old, Jim’s retired and splits his time between Naugatuck and Florida.
Last night, his former swimmers honored him at a testimonial in Waterbury. Most hadn’t seen Coach Farrar, or each other, since they graduated. Now in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s…and having lived a little… they came to thank him for his positive influence on their lives. They came from all over the country – Georgia, Florida, Iowa, California and several other States. They returned as doctors, scientists, engineers, attorneys, teachers, businessmen, etc.
Through sacrifice and example, Farrar had instilled in his charges the principals of hard work…the pursuit of excellence…integrity…and sportsmanship. Following graduation, the practice of these disciplines resulted in better lives for most all of them…their families… and in many cases, made notable contributions to their professions and communities.
That’s really the true measure of Jim Farrar’s coaching career.
It’s a great story about a great man…
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SwimInfo adds its congratulations on a remarkable life.