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Marquette University Alumni Association

Intercollegiate Athletics Award Recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dale E. PetranechDALE E. PETRANECH, ARTS '57
Hammonton, N.J.

Dale ran cross country and track at Marquette, but he was destined to make waves in an entirely different sport.

Dale, a retired former Red Cross disaster worker, has been an influential voice in the world of open water and marathon swimming since he was named the first chairman of U.S. Swimming’s Open Water Swimming Committee in 1977.

He helped the sport grow as an administrator and showed he was a capable competitor himself, becoming the oldest swimmer to cross the Catalina Channel at the age of 50 in 1985. His definition of success, however, is not about his own accomplishments.

“I always considered myself as an administrator as opposed to leader,” he says. “I would rather see others succeed than myself.”

Dale was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in September 2014 and is helping the organization through a restructuring and reorganization process. He also was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Administrator in 1995.

A former member of the Marine Corps who went on to serve on Red Cross projects in Vietnam, Dale spent most of his career with the Red Cross. He was involved in several national and international assignments with primary experience in mass care and supply and as a government and volunteer agency liaison.

Dale lives in New Jersey but remains involved with Marquette through his support of the James M. Allen Endowed Athletic Scholarship. He considers his formative years at Marquette a critical part of the success he has enjoyed in life.

“They were paramount,” he says. “The background material in the various philosophy courses and examples demonstrated by the entire Marquette staff were inspirational, and they established themselves as role models for me to emulate.”