George Van Cleaf

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameGeorge W.•Van Cleaf
Used nameGeorge•Van Cleaf
Born8 October 1879 in Northfield, New York (USA)
Died6 January 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, New York (USA)
Measurements173 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsNYAC, New York (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


George Van Cleaf competed in swimming and water polo at the 1904 Olympics. Van Cleaf was a New York native who first represented the Knickerbocker AC. When that club was disbanded Van Cleaf joined the New York AC. He swam in the tank at the NYAC, but also did a lot of ocean swimming at Bath Beach, near where he lived. Van Cleaf was known to swim in early spring as soon as ice had cleared the water.

Like many of the 1904 water poloists, who competed in the pond that was also used for the Livestock Exhibition of the 1904 World’s Fair, Van Cleaf died of typhoid fever only a few months after the Olympics. His obituaries noted that he had won “over 200” trophies in swimming contests.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1904 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA George Van Cleaf
50 yards Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
100 yards Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
220 yards Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
440 yards Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
880 yards Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
1 mile Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
4 × 50 yards Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) New York Athletic Club #2 4
Plunge For Distance, Men (Olympic) DNS
Water Polo (Aquatics) USA George Van Cleaf
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) New York Athletic Club 1 Gold