The Ted Mullin Hour Of Power: Swimming For A Cure

Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @carletonswimdive

By Kaylie Williams, Swimming World College Intern.

Swimming may be an individual sport, but when adversity strikes, swimmers know how to band together and support one another as a team. Carleton College came together in 2006 to create the Hour of Power relay and fundraiser to honor and celebrate one of their fellow teammates, Ted Mullin, who passed away after a two-year battle with synovial sarcoma. Currently, with the help of about 160 different teams and clubs, the Ted Mullin Fund, along with other fundraisers, have raised over $1.25 million to fund ongoing cancer research at the University of Chicago.

Who Was Ted Mullin?


Photo Courtesy: Sara Rubinstein

Edward H. “Ted”  Mullin was born on May 5, 1984, in Chicago, Ill. He was a hard-working athlete all throughout his life, excelling in academics and extracurriculars while also swimming competitively. He began swimming in middle school, continuing through high school and eventually on to Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. At Carleton, he devoted his time to the study of history, swimming, a weekly radio show and many other activities. Mullin received the Patricia V. Damon Merit Scholarship for his exceptional academic and extracurricular achievements, and his team elected him captain of the men’s swimming and diving team two years in a row.

During his sophomore year at Carleton, Mullin was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma – a rare form of malignant tumor that affects connective tissues in the body such as bone, muscle, fat, peripheral nerves and soft tissues. The tumors can originate anywhere in the body. Mullin’s tumor first appeared behind his right knee in the spring of 2004. He had to find treatment quickly, so his family turned to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy, radiation and surgery in hopes of terminating his rare form of cancer.

Mullin achieved remission in time to attend his junior year at Carleton, but by the end of the year, his scans were showing that the cancer had spread to his lungs and was growing again. He underwent seemingly endless chemotherapy treatments as well as a series of lung surgeries, but this time, the cancer was unstoppable.

Despite his ongoing battle with cancer, Mullin devoted his time to funding the research and cure for cancer. He ran two “Relay for Life” events in Northfield, Minn. – both sponsored by the American Cancer Society – and volunteered his time coaching for swim clubs in Evanston and Winnetka, Ill. In September of 2006, he passed away after a long, arduous battle. He was 22 years old and remained strong and sustained by his family, friends and faith until the end.

What is the Hour of Power?


Photo Courtesy: Carleton Swim and Dive

After his passing, the swim and dive team at Carleton wanted to create an event that would serve as a chance to raise awareness and money for sarcoma research. Thus, the Hour of Power was born. The team chose to honor Mullin in the best way by swimming his favorite set—sprint 50s as fast as they could in a continuous relay for a full hour! The first Hour of Power was held on November 7, 2006, and Carleton invited many other collegiate swimming and diving teams to participate.

Today, some 160 teams ranging from collegiate, club, high school, international and even dry land sports participate in the annual Hour of Power fundraiser. About 8,000 athletes participate each year to honor Mullin, and each and every one of them leaves it all in the pool or on the field to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

The Ted Mullin Fund and Scholarship Program

When Mullin passed, his parents Rick Mullin and Mary Henry established the Ted Mullin Fund for Pediatric Sarcoma Research in order to secure funds to send to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, the same place where their son had received treatments. Increased awareness and support for sarcoma research in combination with the proceeds from the Hour of Power and other fundraisers have raised over $1.25 million to date. In fact, 60 percent of the funds raised originated from the many teams who participate annually in the Hour of Power.

With this amount of funding, The University of Chicago Medicine was able to launch its pediatric sarcoma research program. According to the fund’s website, the Ted Mullin Fund has also supported research concerning the following:

“…new ways to administer chemotherapy in this disease, techniques to visualize more accurately the tumor response in the patient, novel genomics strategies to identify high-risk sarcoma patients, molecular techniques to personalize therapy to maximize benefit while reducing treatment-related toxicity, and treatments for metastatic or resistant disease that use the patient’s own immune system to attack residual tumors.”

Due to the amount of funding provided, The University of Chicago and the Ted Mullin Fund offer an internship to work in the pediatric cancer laboratory every summer for students who have participated in the Hour of Power and have an interest in science and cancer biology.

What Can You Do?


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As a community, swimmers are some of the most supportive and caring people you could meet. They band together in adversity and stand strong to support those who need it most. Undoubtedly, a mutual respect exists between swimmers, no matter if you’re rivals. In times of struggle, swimmers have the numbers and character to support another team.

Carleton College swim and dive came together in 2006 to honor and celebrate the life of Mullin with the Hour of Power and Ted Mullin Fund. Both the fund and Hour of Power have provided valuable opportunities for students pursuing science and cancer biology as well as athletes. Most importantly, they continue to provide answers and treatments for sarcoma patients.

The Ted Mullin Fund may have reached over a million dollars raised for the research of sarcoma, but it could always use more support! Wondering how you can help? Get your team together and participate in the annual Hour of Power or donate straight to the fund!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Charlene Tallen
5 years ago

Andrew Eggersgluss this would be cool for DPU

Andrew Eggersgluss
5 years ago

I’ve brought this up, but I guess we had a meet during the day that it happened. I did this in college

Charlene Tallen
5 years ago

Andrew Eggersgluss maybe next year!

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