June 12, 2017
Columbus, Ohio— Bob Bartels, a former swimming coach at Ohio State, passed away on Friday.
An Ohio State Hall of Famer, Bartels was the head coach of the swimming program from 1963-67 and an assistant coach from 1959-62, helping lead the team to a national championship in 1962. As a student-athlete with the Buckeyes he was a letterwinner from 1949-51. He was a member of three Big Ten Championship teams and two national championship-winning teams (1949 and 1950). In 1949 he was named a first team All-American as one of the best breaststrokers in the country.
Bartels also served as head swimming coach at Kenyon and Ohio, leading the former to an Ohio Conference championship in 1954, the first such win for the program. A longtime official at Big Ten and NCAA Championship swimming meets, he was also the president of the Board of Directors of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, a position he was elected to in 1971. The CSCAA bestowed upon him the Distinguished Coach honor in 1972 and also named him the recipient of the Honor Award for Service in Aquatic Sports in 1980.
Locally Bartels served as Chairman of Safety Services for the Columbus Area Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1963-1980 and he was named Ohio State’s Associate Professor in Physical Education in 1967. In 1975 he created OSU’s first-ever Faculty/Staff Fitness Program, an entity he directed until 1989. He left an impact on so many during his time at Ohio State, and it was a point of pride for him that he served as a major advisor to nearly 60 Ph.D. graduates at the university.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Dr. Robert Bartels Men’s Swimming Performance Fund #482921, 1480 W. Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221