Phil Dodson, a multiple cancer survivor, swims for his own health when he isn’t raising funds to help others improve battle sickness through cancer care and awareness.
The Hinsdale Central Class of 1971 swimming star has realized over $300,000 for the Swim Across America campaign through his own contributions and a team of supporters he organized with the universal goal of conquering the disease forever.
“Your support today is your cure tomorrow,” said Dodson, whose family, including his father, has a history of cancer.
A certified public accountant living in Wilmette, Dodson has undergone numerous prostate, testicular and skin disorder procedures, ranging from mild to serious. Many could be treated less invasive today.
He guardedly believes he’s free of the disease today, thanks in part to the power of positive thinking and a never-say-never attitude.
His swimming certainly hasn’t suffered. Dodson recently finished first and second in two age-group butterfly events in the U.S. 60-to-65 Senior Masters Long Course championships in California. He was third and fourth in two freestyles.
“Phil is remarkable considering his circumstances,” legendary Central coach Don Watson said. “He has competed in many ocean- and lake-front meets, and swam on a few great relays at Central with John Kinsella, Mark Lambert and Gary Ferarro. One relay had the third-fastest time in the United States, including NCAA times.”
Dodson’s mother Nancy is remarkable in her own right. After she won two silver medals in the National Y’s Masters last year at age 94, she said, “I’ll be glad when I turn 95 to be in a new age group.”
She dominated there, too, recently winning the 50- and 100-meter freestyles, and the 50 backstroke.
“Mom is amazing,” Phil Dodson said. “She can swim the length of the pool faster than she can walk it. She gets cheered whenever she’s on the deck and gets asked for her autograph.”
The Dodsons aren’t the only Hinsdale products to make their masters’ marks this year. Andy Seibt continues to excel, including during a race across Lake Tahoe. Christie Plank Ciraulo, a summer age-group swimmer who moved to California before high school, won a freestyle event and butterfly in the 60-65 division of the Pan American International.
“I’m proud to have coached so many outstanding swimmers,” Watson said. “They’re all special to me.”