Does Donald Trump Enjoy Swimming? Many Presidents Did
Swimming is a great way to exercise — it works all of your muscles simultaneously, it’s impact free, and it also helps you build your stamina. These U.S. presidents must have known that because quite a few swam competitively and many swam for leisure while they were serving in the White House.
It has been a tradition for the U.S. Olympic team to visit the White House following the Olympics, which surely delights any president who likes the sport. Keep reading to find out which of our presidents loved to swim — and find out about one who decidedly doesn’t on Page 6.
1. Franklin D. Roosevelt
According to Swimming World, Franklin D. Roosevelt swam a lot. He loved to swim so much, in fact, that he had the first swimming pool installed at the White House, which officially opened on June 2, 1933. Because FDR suffered from polio — which permanently paralyzed his legs — and swam as a form of therapy, the New York Daily News raised money to build a pool for him at the White House.
Fun fact: Activities at Roosevelt’s famous “stag parties” included clay pigeon shooting, fishing, and, wait for it … swimming naked.
Next: This president wore ‘water goggles.’
2. Harry Truman
FDR liked company when he swam, according to Swimming World. One of his guests included Harry Truman, who used to swim with his glasses on to make his staff laugh.
Fun fact: Truman started his day with a shot of bourbon, followed by a glass of orange juice. His physician advised it.
Next: Team Harvard
3. John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was on the Harvard swim team — the first one that beat Yale. JFK also had a history of back ailments, and he swam regularly to alleviate the pain. He, too, liked company when he swam, according to Swimming World. Unfortunately, he liked the company of women who were not his wife.
Fun fact: JFK kept the White House pool constantly heated to 90 degrees.
Next: More on JFK
4. JFK, part deux
According to Newsweek, JFK used to like to skinny-dip with his two female assistants, whom he called Fiddle and Faddle. The Secret Service was nearby and one day had to warn JFK that Jackie was on her way to the pool for a swim. The president and his assistants beat feet out of the pool and ran for cover. “You could see one big pair of footprints and two smaller pair of wet footprints leading to the Oval Office,” said a Secret Service agent
Fun fact: Before JFK made the Harvard swim team, he tried out for He tried out for the football and golf teams.
Next: Swimming with a nice view
5. JFK, part trois
JFK was so dedicated to swimming — he hit the pool twice a day — that in 1961, his father had Bernard Lamotte paint an enormous mural on the swimming pool room’s walls, according to The White House Museum. The mural depicted a Caribbean scene, featuring calm waters with lots of sailboats.
Fun fact: JFK liked to hold swimming races with his Cabinet members.
Next: Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for
6. Donald Trump
Donald Trump is an avid golfer — he owns a number of golf courses in the U.S. and abroad — and he’s regarded as a near scratch golfer. In fact, Golf Digest rated him the best golfing president. Trump is not, however, a swimmer. According to an interview with his butler, Anthony Senecal, in the Telegraph, he isn’t a “keen swimmer” and he’s definitely not a sun worshipper. All of this means that he rarely gets into swimming trunks.
Fun fact: In high school, Trump played baseball and football and the Phillies and Red Sox scouted him at one point.
Next: An ode to Trump
7. Trump might not like to swim, but he’ll be in pools everywhere
Beloved, the company that created the chest hair bathing suit, came out with a new model, the “Shocked Donald Trump” suit. Beloved posted the suit on Instagram and the comments rolled in like gangbusters. The suit costs $49.99, which seems like a small price to make a big splash at the pool.
Next: Everybody welcome
8. Lyndon Baines Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson loved to swim naked in the White House pool, according to The New Republic. And once, after he was sworn in, he asked Billy Graham to come to the White House for an “encounter that included both prayer and skinny-dipping in the White House pool,” according to Time. Johnson made sure that dozens of bathing suits in all sizes hung on the wall for guests to use.
Fun fact: LBJ had a penchant for interrupting meetings and suggesting a swim. He would make fun of anyone who didn’t want to get naked to “dive in a baptism in intimacy.”
Next: This president built a second pool.
9. Gerald R. Ford
Gerald R. Ford, Nixon’s successor, was such an avid swimmer that he had an outdoor pool installed at the White House in 1975. He swam almost daily, according to Swimming World. Today, first families still use the outdoor pool — which also has a cabana and a hot tub — frequently.
Fun fact: Ford loved to swim so much that he conducted press conferences while he swimming laps.
Next: This one is rather shocking.
10. John Quincy Adams
Another president known for swimming a lot, John Quincy Adams also liked to do it naked. Every day, he would get up at 5 a.m. — or 4 a.m. in summer — and take a naked swim in the Potomac, according to Swim World. The swims were no secret to Washington society, and Adams was strong swimmer who was very at ease in the water.
Fun fact: Rumor has it that one of the country’s first female journalists, Anne Royall, wanted to interview the president so badly that she met him at the Potomac and sat on his clothes until he answered all of her questions. She was the first woman to interview a president.
Next: This president followed in his predecessor’s footsteps.
11. Andrew Jackson
What is with presidents not wanting to wear swim trunks? Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams’ successor, loved to swim nude, too, according to Swimming World. And like John Quincy Adams, Jackson used the Potomac for his exercise. After he swam, he typically would unwind by weeding the White House garden. There is no information on whether he was clothed at that point.
Fun fact: Jackson was a notorious gambler — he would wager on horses, cards, dice, and even cockfights. Once, when he was a teenager, he made a trip to Charleston, S.C., where he gambled away his entire inheritance from his grandfather.
Next: This must have been so cold.
12. Teddy Roosevelt
Yup, Teddy Roosevelt was yet another skinny-dipping president. And, according to Swimming World, he no misgivings about inviting others to join him, including ambassadors and his staff members. Roosevelt formed the “Tennis Cabinet,” which began as a tennis club and morphed into members picking a point on a map to walk to — regardless of obstacles, which of course, included water bodies. The adventures often included swimming, sometimes across creeks filled with ice.
Fun fact: Roosevelt was the first president to win the Nobel Peace Prize — he won for his aggressive foreign policy, but he also saw America as a global peacemaker. He convinced Russia and Japan to attend a peace conference in 1906 in Portsmouth, N.H., to end their struggle.
Next: One seriously athletic president
13. Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was an athletic president. He coached football at Notre Dame and served as captain of the Eureka College swim team, which he ended up coaching when the coach had a stroke. In addition, Reagan served as a lifeguard from 1927 to 1932 in his hometown of Dixon, Ill., where he saved 77 lives. Needless to say, he loved to swim.
Fun fact: Reagan was the first divorced president elected. In the 1940s, he married actress Jane Wyman and they were divorced in 1948. In 1952, he married actress Nancy Davis.
Next: This president said bah humbug to swimming.
14. Richard Nixon
According to Swimming World, Richard Nixon had the pool covered with a floor in 1969. He turned it into a press briefing room. The cameras are in the back of the room under the pool’s shallow end and the podium is under the pool’s deep end.
Fun fact: Richard Nixon ended the Vietnam War and he was also the first U.S. president to resign from office, which he did on Aug. 9, 1974, as a result of the Watergate Scandal.
Next: This president installed something potentially naughty.
15. Bill Clinton
When Bill and Hillary Clinton lived in the White House, Hillary proposed renovating the pool that had been turned into the briefing room — but her idea never got past the initial planning stages, according to Gohlke Pools. Both Clintons enjoyed using the pool — Clinton used it to rehab a knee injury — and in 1997, Clinton decided to add a hot tub. The tub seats seven, features 25 jets, and holds 500 gallons of water.
Fun fact: Bill Clinton won a Grammy in 2004, he won for narrating the album Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks. In 2005, he won another one for a reading of his autobiography, My Life.
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