Ubbo van der Valk '60
Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, van der Valk entered Grove City College in 1955. He became the first swimmer to earn All-America honors for Grove City when he was certified to be eighth in the nation in the 100-yard breaststroke following the 1958 NCAA Championships. He graduated in 1960 with a mechanical engineering degree.
As a freshman on the football team, he played in the final two games and was recruited for the swim team, although barely able to swim the length of the pool. He lettered for the track team in spring 1956.
Starting with summer workouts to improve his technique, his development and record-setting times in only his third season have become legend.
In only his second year, he captured the 200 breaststroke at the Penn-Ohio Championships with a meet record. The team finished 10-1. In 1958 and 1959, he was first in both the 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly at the Penn-Ohio Championships.
In dual-meet competition in 1958, he lowered nine different college pool records. At the AAU National Junior Swimming Championships that year, he finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke at American University. This feat earned him an invitation to the AAU National Senior Indoor Swimming Championships, held at Yale University. He placed 7th.
Coach Jim Longnecker submitted his AAU time in competition for All-America honors. It ranked Ubbo eighth among all NCAA college and university swimmers in that event and he became the College's first All-American swimmer.In 1985, van der Valk was the inaugural member inducted into the Grove City College Menís Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.