(New Haven 1942 Second Printing Before Publication. 8vo., ...)
New Haven 1942 Second Printing Before Publication. 8vo., 131pp., photo illustrations, printed cloth. Good, light soiling on cloth, corners a bit worn, no DJ.
Robert graduated from Tonawanda High School in 1909. During the summer he studied physical education at Silver Bay, New York (1911), Harvard (1912), and Buffalo (1913 - 1916). He continued his studies in Sweden and Germany in the 1920's.
In 1914, Dr. W. G. Anderson, the head of Yale's athletic department, hired the short and heavily muscled Kiphuth as a physical education instructor. In 1917, he was asked to coach Yale's swimming team. Initially reluctant because he had no background in swimming, Kiphuth ultimately agreed, and in 1918 he became the varsity swimming coach. He later said, "I must have read a million books on the subject during the months right after my appointment. " As a coach, Kiphuth defied the prevailing convention, which held that bodybuilding was harmful, by developing exercises to make swimmers strong and loose-limbed. His program included calisthenics and the use of pulleys and medicine balls. Swimmers had to churn water for weeks before they were allowed to swim. The emphasis on conditioning resulted in sixty-five straight victories for Yale in dual meets from 1918 to 1924, when the streak ended with losses to the United States Naval Academy and Princeton.
He coached the United States Olympic women's swimming team in 1928, and his reputation was enhanced when American women won five swimming titles in Amsterdam. In 1932, the year he was promoted to assistant professor at Yale, Kiphuth wrote The Diagnosis and Treatment of Postural Defects with Dr. Winthrop Phelps. That same year, Kiphuth was head coach of the United States Olympic swimming team in Los Angeles; the men won three titles and the women six.
Kiphuth served as chairman of the Amateur Athletic Union's swimming commission from 1933 to 1935, and he coached the American swimming team competing in Japan in 1931, 1934, and 1935. Kiphuth kept detailed charts on each swimmer's conditioning. He never cut anyone from his Yale team: cramps did that. In the gym, Kiphuth was tough and demanding. He was no less hard on himself. On the way to Berlin in 1936, Kiphuth ignored his streptococcal fever and continued to direct the United States men's Olympic team, practicing in the ship's pool. John Macionis of Yale was a member of the American squad that won two gold medals that year. Yale's Timothy Dwight College made Kiphuth a fellow in 1936. From 1924 to 1937, Yale swimming teams won 175 straight dual meets, until upset by Harvard.
In 1940, Kiphuth was promoted to associate professor, and he became director of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, opened eight years earlier and already the site of many world records in swimming. While barking orders during calisthenics, Kiphuth sometimes used dance terms. Kiphuth was again named head coach of the Olympic swimming team, but there were no games in 1940.
The year after the United States entered World War II, Kiphuth wrote How to Be Fit. According to the foreword by John Kieran, the book's aim is "to strengthen arms that they may fitly bear arms. " Many servicemen learned to swim by using the backstroke instead of the crawl, a stroke that Kiphuth disliked. He noted in his book Basic Swimming (1950; written with Harry M. Burke), "The thrashing victim is likely to arrive at the end of the course more dead than alive. " The army and navy located officer-training schools at Yale, and Kiphuth directed the physical training of a campus in uniform. A Yale winning streak ended in 1945, after sixty-three victories, when West Point won a dual meet that went to the final relay.
The next year, Kiphuth became Yale's athletic director. After a heart attack in 1949, Kiphuth continued to teach and coach but was succeeded as athletic director by his son, DeLaney Kiphuth, a Yale 1941 graduate. Two of Robert Kiphuth's younger brothers, Oscar and Carl, also worked for the Yale athletic department. In 1950, Kiphuth, who had never graduated from college, was promoted to full professor. Kiphuth stressed exercise for women, saying, "Women generally learn to swim more skillfully than men at almost any age. " He gave swimming clinics for the United States Army in Europe in 1951, 1952, and 1953, and in 1955 he went to Israel to help train the Israeli Olympic team. Kiphuth was popular with students and alumni, many of whom admired his collection of first editions, which emphasized American literature. In 1958, John Schiff, the business manager of the 1925 swimming team, donated a book to the Yale Library in honor of his coach: A Short Introduction for to Learne to Swimme, printed in 1595.
Kiphuth retired in 1959. Retirement included traveling around the world to give swimming clinics. He died in New Haven following an afternoon at the pool watching Yale beat West Point.
In 1910 Kiphuth became director of physical education at the Tonawanda Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He was also a member of the boards of trustees of the Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Hotchkiss School.
Kiphuth himself did not like to swim. His successor at Yale, Philip Moriarty, remarked, "Bob didn't go in the water because he didn't particularly like the water. So he never swam. "
On June 6, 1917, Kiphuth married Louise DeLaney. They had one child.