William Chase Putnam, Jr., son of William Chase Putnam, Sr. and Joan (née Cargill) Putnam, was born in Carthage on July 15, 1943. Bill Putnam, Jr. began competitive swimming at Camp White Earth, a summer camp in Minnesota owned by the head swim coach at the University of Minnesota. In 1958, Bill won the mile swim at the camp and was hooked. Later that summer, he participated in his first real swim meet at Broadview Country Club in Carthage, won all the swimming events he entered, and was named outstanding swimmer of the meet.
While attending Mercersburg (PA) Academy, Bill joined the swim team when high school swimming was in its infancy. In spring 1960 at a dual meet, he swam the 100-yard free in 58.9 seconds and the 50-yard free in 25.6 seconds, closely matching the Missouri state high school championship times of 58.9 and 25.4 respectively. The following year Bill was selected for Mercersburg’s 200-yard free relay and the team had the 9th fastest time in the nation (1:36.4) and was selected All-American. He also placed 8th in the 100-yard free at the Eastern Interscholastic Swim Championship with a time of 55.0.
Upon graduation from Mercersburg in 1961, Bill enrolled in Beloit College, a Division III university in Wisconsin, and continued competitive swimming. As a Freshman, he set 13 school records in 6 events and 2 Freshman Midwest Conference records. During his varsity career, he set 23 school or pool records and 1 Midwest Conference record. Upon graduation, he was the only swimmer in Midwest Conference history to have been champion in 4 different individual events. During his college swimming career, Bill competed in 106 races, finishing 1st 90 times and 2nd 10 times. In those 4 years, he had a record of 63-0 in conference dual meets. Bill placed 3rd at the NCAA Small College Regional Meet in 1963, qualified for the NCAA Small College National Meet in 1965, and was the High Point Swimmer at the Midwest Conference Meet for 3 consecutive years. In recognition of his stellar college swimming career, Bill was named to the Beloit College Athletic Hall of Honor in 1992.
While attending The University of Missouri in 1966, Bill served as an Assistant Swim Coach. He later coached age group swimmers for 9 years. Under his tutelage, the Broadview Country Club summer league team had 32 victories in 33 meets in 7 years.
Bill came out of “retirement” in 2018 to compete in the Missouri Senior Games. In the 75-79 age group, he placed 1st in the 100-yard free, as well as 3rd in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. He qualified for the National Senior Games in 2019 but was unable to compete due to an injury. Bill returned to the Missouri Senior Games in 2021, placing 1st in the 50, 100, and 200 free. In the 75-79 age group, he qualified for the National Senior Games in 2022.
Bill and his wife Cindy have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. He is a life-long and proud Carthaginian, also inducted into the Hall as a Citizen of Distinction for his contributions to our community as a successful businessman, philanthropist, and Carthage historian. Bill still swims a mile several times each week at the Fair Acres Family YMCA.