We’ve got a fun story for our readers about a former Ivy League swimmer by the name of Tony Blake. As you may know from reading our blog, we often share stories about Ivy Leaguers who have gone on to change the world, Ivy League graduates who have gone on to become captains of industry — in business, law, medicine, academia, etc. Nowhere in that sentence did we happen to mention the trucking industry. But now we have. Because a former Ivy League swimmer, in fact the very first African American All-Ivy League swimmer, has revolutionized his industry. And that industry is trucking.
Tony Blake had a dream as a young man. That dream was to represent the United States of America at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, ideally in his best event — the 100 meter freestyle. At the time, Blake would have been the first African American to represent the red, white, and blue on our Olympic swim team. But the Yale swimmer fell short of his goal and this would change the course of his life. He grew depressed. During his senior season, winning an Ivy League championship didn’t mean much to him. It wasn’t like an Ivy League title was an Olympic medal. He had lost focus. He had lost his way. And so he dropped out of school and traveled the world…for years. He’d go virtually everywhere. Some years later, he’d eventually return to Yale to earn his degree, supposedly not able to pay for housing so he slept in facilities of the swim team.
And with that degree, Tony Blake would become a trucker. Yes, a trucker. But Ivy Leaguers have a tendency to change industries. Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta changed baseball. Shonda Rhimes changed Hollywood. Mark Zuckerberg changed how people connect with one another. You get the idea. Well, Tony Blake changed trucking. As you may know, trucking isn’t a particularly healthy profession. Sitting for so long at a time in a vehicle can lead to obesity and a higher risk for many diseases. Tony wanted to change this. And so he started getting truckers, who live on average between ten to fifteen years less than most folks, into shape. By the dozen. He’s become a well known voice in the trucker industry to promote healthier living, to promote fifteen minute bursts of high energy exercise at rest stops. He’s saved lives.
Ivy Coach salutes former Ivy League swimming champion Tony Blake for making a difference in his pond, for marching to the beat of his own drummer. And for getting back into swimming to become a master’s national champion. Enjoy the video and be sure to read the article about this swimming champion in “Sports Illustrated” too. We sure did.