Called by his coach "far and away the best swimmer this school has ever seen,"John S. Hudson, '78, owns the distinction of being the most honored swimmer in Washington and Lee history.
Hudson made history in 1976 when he became W&L's first-ever NCAA national champion, winning the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events at the NCAA college division swimming championships. Hudson, who also finished second in both the national 500 and 1650 in 1975 and 1977, remains one of only three W&L athletes to earn the distinction of national champion.
A native of Lancaster, Pa., Hudson was named All-America 17 times, a mark that is still the W&L record. Hudson set or helped set six W&L records, including two (for the 500 and 1650) that are still the school standards. Co-captain of the team his junior year, Hudson led the swim team to a combined 33-9 record in his four years at W&L, including top-10 national finishes in all four years. He led the Generals swimmers to a 10-1 record in 1978, the most successful season in W&L swimming history.
A Virginia state champion swimmer eight times in his W&L career, Hudson was named W&L's outstanding swimmer each of his four years. He led W&L to a fourth place finish in the Virginia State Championships in 1977 and a third-place finish in 1978. He was selected W&L's freshman athlete of the year in 1976 and W&L's outstanding senior athlete in 1978.
Hudson was a Dean's List student as a junior and a senior and also served as assistant head dormitory counselor during his senior year.