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Spartan Olympians: Linda (Gustavson) McGuire

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Summer 2008

LINDA (GUSTAVSON) MCGUIRE, Member, U.S. women’s swimming team, 1968 Mexico City Summer Games, Gold Medal, 4x100-meter freestyle relay; Silver Medal, 400-meter freestyle; and Bronze Medal, 100-meter freestyle

            A native of Santa Cruz, CA, Linda Gustavson McGuire, ’72, was a key member of the powerhouse Santa Clara Swim Club—along with the likes of Don Schollander, Mark Spitz and Donna De Varona. A freestyle swimmer, she won three medals at the 1968 Mexico City Games—a gold (4x400-meter), silver (400-meter) and bronze (100-meter).

            She and Floridian swimmer Pam Kruse became good friends during international competition and decided to attend MSU together.  Both were members of MSU’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. 

            “We did swim at MSU but it was real low-key,” explains Gustavson, director of the teenage parent high school program in the Santa Cruz school district.  “By then I had reached my goal, and was getting tired of swimming.  It was time to move on.”

            She recently attended an alumni reunion at the Santa Clara Swim Club.  “That was so much fun,” she says.  “Coach George Haines coached both men and women.  It was the mecca for swimming worldwide.”   

            “We had eight men and eight women make the Olympic team,” she adds.  “At one point I held the world record in the 200-meters freestyle (1968, 2:07.9) and couldn’t make the team (for the event).”

            Gustavson’s two grown children were athletes, but not swimmers.  Since MSU, she taught briefly at Humboldt State before returning to Santa Cruz.  “This is my 28th year working with the teenage parent program,” she notes.  “I absolutely love it.  But I’m getting ready to retire.”