Yes, that would be me, the guy on the far right with the Roman numeral II shaved into his head. Someone had to do it. This was for the NCAA Division II Swimming Nationals in 1977. The picture was originally picked up by the Pittsburgh Press, then later the Associated Press, so it ran in papers all over the country. I was an All-American in 1976 in the 400 medley relay as a butterflyer, then a Pennsylvania State Champion in the same event in 1977.

After the 1977 national meet was over, I would walk into the dining hall on campus at the University of Pennsylvania at Clarion, and hear the whispers, "Hey, there's the guy with the 'II' shaved into his head." It was a great conversation starter.

What can I say except that I was young and very determined.


Story and photos copyright © Jack Niedenthal unless otherwise indicated.
Taken from the book, For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands, Second Edition.
Order from this direct ordering link at
For the Good of Mankind is also available for purchase and download as an Amazon Kindle edition.