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James Price McLane, Jr

James Price McLane, Jr., husband of Carol (Cogliani) McLane of Ipswich, passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday December 13, 2020 at the age of 90. 

James P. McLane was born during the depression in Pittsburg, PA, and later raised by a single mother in Akron, OH. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, via a scholarship for swimming.  He then went on to Yale University where he competed on the swim team. There he was a member of the Skull and Bones, Aurelian Society, Elizabethan Club and the Pundits. He was a graduating member of the Class of 1953. During the Korean Conflict he served in New York with the U.S. Army Intelligence. He swam for the U.S. Army for two years. During this time he married his first wife, Barbara Hamby who passed in 1981.

“Jimmy” McLane’s swimming career extended from 1944 through 1955.  One of his greatest contributions to the sport was competing as a high school boy wonder. He was the youngest ever Men's AAU swimming champion when he won the National Long Distance title at age 13, swimming for Akron's Firestone Swimming Club. He was the forerunner of a youth movement that put U.S. swimming back on top. In the years from 1945-1948 he completely dominated U.S. Outdoor Middle Distance swimming, with 13 National and 2 Olympic Championships, and he was perhaps the greatest tactician in swimming in his era. He was most proud of competing in the London Olympic Games in 1948, and the Helsinki Games in 1952, during which he won three gold and one silver medal. Attending Yale University shaped McLane’s personal, professional, and athletic life. His coach, Bob Kipputh, also a Hall of Famer, supported McLane as his guardian during his years at Andover and Yale. He ended his swimming career as the U.S. team's oldest Pan American champion at 24 by winning three gold medals. In 1970, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. 

McLane had a distinguished career in business, working for Life Magazine and General Mills. He retired in the middle of his adult life due to Multiple Sclerosis, but stayed active and fully embraced life every day. He was a devoted husband, an adored hero to his children, and lifelong friend to many athletes, classmates, and colleagues who knew him. In an interview, McLane’s advice to aspiring Olympians is to enjoy swimming for what it is and take pride in the work not the reward. “Medals are important to the average person they are not very important to me, when I remember my achievements, I remember the work and training not the medal, that’s what is most valuable.”

In addition to his wife Carol of sixteen years he is survived by three sons,  James McLane III of CA, Peter McLane and his wife Beth Ann of MO, Mathew McLane and his wife Cathy of MN; a daughter, Susan McLane of NY; a brother, Timothy McLane of OH; sister Noel McLane of WA; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

A private funeral service will be held graveside in the Southside Cemetery in Ipswich. Arrangements by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Ipswich YMCA, 110 County Road, Ipswich, MA 01938.


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