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Q. What makes Charlie swim? A. Jelly beans
William F. Reed Jr.
March 24, 1969
Indiana's Charlie Hickcox (above) won three gold medals and a silver at the Olympics and holds two world records, but he is best known on campus as the guy who used to coach the Phi Delta Theta bike team
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March 24, 1969

Q. What Makes Charlie Swim? A. Jelly Beans

Indiana's Charlie Hickcox (above) won three gold medals and a silver at the Olympics and holds two world records, but he is best known on campus as the guy who used to coach the Phi Delta Theta bike team

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They had to get out of bed at some ungodly hour, like 6 a.m., and now they are shivering and grumbling outside the Monroe County Municipal Airport. It is cold and dark in Bloomington, and the Indiana University swimmers are saying that nobody knows the troubles they've seen. Just look at what they have to fly in—a DC-3, yet! "On dates here we don't go parking," says one swimmer, casting a forlorn glance toward the runway. "It's more exciting to come out and watch the planes take off."

Charles Buchanan Hickcox II, sleepyeyed and uncharacteristically quiet, shows up wearing an outfit that seems immoderate for the time of day—a red stocking cap, suede jacket and cream checkered slacks. This is the Charles Hickcox who holds two world records, led Indiana to its first NCAA swimming championship last spring and won three gold medals—in the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 4x100 medley relay—and a silver in the 100 backstroke at the Olympics in Mexico City. Now Hickcox is saying that he didn't sleep particularly well because his wife (the former Lesley Bush, who won a gold in the 10-meter dive at the '64 Olympics) pulled off all the covers.

This morning the Indiana team, which will play host to the NCAAs next weekend, is heading for Minneapolis, where it is 15� below and where the University of Minnesota team undoubtedly is still in bed. Soon the DC-3, called the "Flying Prof," is careening madly down the runway, and the swimmers are bobbing around in their seats chanting, "We're up. We're down. We're up. We're down." As soon as the plane is airborne and (slowly) leaves Bloomington behind, Hickcox is out of his seat, bumming 15� off his coach, James E. (Doc) Counsilman, so that the team's floating poker game can resume. "Gimme 15�, Doc," says Hickcox, "before I slap you in the head."

The respect and affection Counsilman and Hickcox have for each other is usually disguised by a put-on enmity. For example, at practice Hickcox pretends to balk at the edge of the pool because the water is too cold, and Counsilman, brandishing his belt, chases his star around and around the deck until he finally jumps in.

Suddenly there is a hubbub from the vicinity of the poker game. "Hey, Doc, I'm going to swim like hell today," someone says. "Am I ever winning money." It is Hickcox, who has been running up his 15� investment. "Boy, $5! Is Lesley ever going to love me!" Counsilman stands up and points a finger. "Shut up," he roars. "You sound like Phyllis Diller."

Charlie Hickcox and his bride live in an apartment on South Walnut Street, just outside the Bloomington city limits. The first thing you see when you come in the door is a new color TV set, a wedding gift from the swimming team. The Hickcoxes broke it in by inviting the team over to watch the Super Bowl. Now it is Thursday night and this means TV night in the Hickcox household. Charlie is lounging on the sofa, watching Perry Mason. Lesley is standing by the stove, whipping up what she believed to be chocolate chip cookies. However, she has just realized she has been following a recipe for chocolate fudge.

The Hickcoxes started seeing each other at the 1967 University Games in Tokyo, when Charlie taught Les how to play water polo and Les showed Charlie how to dive. "We were having such a good time that we didn't really think about what was happening," Charlie says. "She got the hook inserted."

"Now wait a minute," says Les. "You like that, don't you? You like people to think I just couldn't resist you, don't you?"

When they both made the Olympic team last September, they decided to get engaged. They were married last Dec. 14 and spent their honeymoon in Uruguay as members of a touring U.S. swimming team. Total cost of honeymoon abroad: $88.

"I've always wanted to be a football player," Charlie says, changing the subject. "I'll have another semester of eligibility left after this spring and I'm really thinking about going out for spring practice."

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