175 Makers of History: Edward J. Shea

Edward J. Shea 44G
Swim Coach

Edward Shea

Edward J. Shea was Emory's swim coach from 1942 to 1949. In 1947, his 300-yard medley relay team earned Emory its first national title in any sport.

Shea taught and coached at several universities and clubs, including Southern Illinois, where the natatorium bears his name. He retired from teaching in 1985 but not from the pool.

Shea later wrote a book, Swimming for Seniors, and lived his advice, setting twenty-nine International Swimming Federation world records and thirty-two United States Masters Swimming, YMCA, and Senior Olympic national records. He won nine world titles and earned seventeen All-America honors in masters swimming. His last, in the fifty-yard backstroke at the age of eighty-nine in 2003, came just a few months before he passed away.