Remembering Jameson McMullen ’19

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Printed with permission of HW Athletics

Former team captain Jameson McMullen ’19 poses for his swim team photo.

By Averie Perrin and Connor Tang

Jameson McMullen ’19 passed away Oct. 13 at Brown University.

McMullen, 22, was entering his senior year of college at Brown. He was a member of the swim team there. He graduated cum laude from Harvard-Westlake and was captain of the Swimming and Diving team, holding records in the 100 and 200 meter free.

Athletic Director of Aquatics Darlene Bible said McMullen was talented and engaged and an important part of the school’s swimming program since his youth.

“Jameson or Jamo, is what everyone called him since he was little, was a bright, talented, thoughtful, beautiful young man,” Bible said. “He swam for me at Los Angeles Swim Club when he was young, and he later volunteered and lifeguarded for me with the [Summer Enrichment Program] SEP at the Middle School. I was his swimming age group coach when he was just a young man and of course followed his career and supported his swimming once he came here to Harvard-Westlake.”

Bible said that she found McMullen to be extremely kind, supportive and attentive during her time working with him .

“[During the lifeguard training], he was so great when he worked with the younger kids who did not have much experience in the pool,” Bible said. “He was patient and caring. He was shy, but athletic and competitive. I remember him as a young swimmer listening well, working hard, being a natural in the water and loving his teammates.”

During his time at the school, McMullen set multiple school records, competing individually in the CIF Division 1 finals and qualifying as an All-American.

Head of Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving Jason Schwarz said McMullen had been one of the most talented swimmers at the school of all time.

“[Jameson] graduated as one of HW’s best swimmers of all time,” said Schwarz. “[He] had a tremendous understanding of his own body and what he needed from a training standpoint to continue to improve.”

Schwarz said McMullen’s presence as a competitor and a leader in the Swimming and Diving program had a lasting impact on other athletes.

“With the team, he led by example and was so positive with his teammates.” Schwarz said. “He was encouraging to our younger athletes and would spend time with them, sharing his knowledge. [Jameson] was always ready to race and compete in the biggest meets like CIF and State. He was so dependable in that way. We always knew he would get his best when we needed it the most.“

Schwarz said his fondest memory of McMullen was a practice where he had finally achieved a goal he set.

“Practices are the most memorable for me,” Schwarz said. “That’s where relationships and careers are built. Once we had been trying to achieve a training pace for his goal in the 100 free, we had been trying for weeks to hit the goal pace, and we were just struggling to get there. One day it all just clicked and he was unstoppable. [Jameson] just kept hitting his pace on repeats. That day he and I both knew it was going to be a breakthrough year. He was so excited that day and left practice with a huge smile, a smile I will never forget.”

Math Teacher Catherine Campbell said McMullen was an engaging participant and a great student despite being the only junior in her senior-filled math class.

“He was a really great student in a class where everybody else was a senior,” Campbell said. “He was the only junior in there, and for some kids that can be intimidating, but he didn’t let that intimidate him. He worked really hard, and he did very well in class and interacted with everyone. If I didn’t know that he was a junior, I wouldn’t have thought he was in any way different from the other kids.”

Swimmer Benji Ham ’23 said he remembered McMullen personally as a role model, who left a lasting legacy on the swimming program.

“I was shocked and extremely sad at the news of Jameson’s death,” Ham said. “He was well known within the Harvard-Westlake swimming community and my club team, so I’ve heard many stories about his fast swims and practices. Although I wasn’t really close to him, I got the chance to hang out with him once this past summer with some old teammates. We had conversations about collegiate swimming, and he had such a great vibe, which made the news of his death more shocking. I’ve gained so much respect for him because of his work ethic and leadership skills that he displayed throughout his time at Harvard-Westlake and in college.”

A GoFundMe started to bring McMullen home and host a celebration of his life raised $87,861. The celebration will be held at Bel Air Church on Nov. 26.

This story was originally published on The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle on November 22, 2022.