December 15, 1930 – October 11, 2012
A true "Gentle Giant", Bob was an international champion who never sought recognition. He was a remarkable and humble man whose footprint in life touched so many. A former Olympic swimmer, water polo player, water polo coach, beloved high school teacher and artist/sculptor, Bob was a quiet, engaging man who had a way of touching the lives of others with his honest and friendly nature.
He was born in Los Angeles, California on December 15, 1930 and graduated from El Segundo High School in 1948, where he held many national swimming records. He attended El Camino College in 1949/50 and then enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean conflict. After mustering out of the Coast Guard, Bob was recruited by the University of Southern California where he swam and played water polo for the Trojans from 1954 to 1956. He represented the United States in water polo with his El Segundo team at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland where his team earned 4th place. At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia as a dual water sport athlete, he was the U.S. Men's single entry in the 200 meter Breaststroke and on the U.S. Men's water polo team, where his team finished 5th. He is the only man in U.S. history to qualify at the Olympic Trials level and complete in two water sports at the same summer Olympic Games.
Bob was a three-time AAU ALL American Water Polo team member and a three-time AAU All American Swim Team member. He was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1976 as Charter Member, the El Camino College Athletics Hall of Fame, the California Community Coaches Hall of Fame and the University of Southern California Hall of Fame. He appreciated the historic consequences of his role in U.S. Olympic history and yet was a modest man who avoided the spotlight, choosing to lead a quiet, private life with his family and dear friends.
To learn more about Bob, order “Bob Hughes: The True Story of A Legendary Waterman”, available through Amazon.