Wally Lundt

A loved coach and friend Wally Lundt passed this week.  He will be remembered by many.

A loved coach and friend Wally Lundt passed this week. He will be remembered by many.

Wally Lundt (1927-2011) coached the CHS water polo and swimming teams for 35 years as part of his 60 year long career. Coach Lundt also served on the P.E. board, occasionally working as a teacher. His consistent efforts to cultivate a love for the water among not only CHS students but members of the greater St. Louis community cannot be understated. 

While Lundt attended Beaumont High School from 1941 to 1945, he joined the Meramec River Patrol and saved over 200 lives over the course of his tenure. It was at this point that Lundt gained a lifelong passion for aquatics, despite only learning how to swim at the age of nine. 

After graduating from high school, Lundt began attending Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the swimming team’s captain during his senior year. He graduated with a master’s degree in Physical Education before joining the Marine Corps. It was there that Lundt was selected to compete in the mile swim as part of the All Navy Swimming Team, winning events in Guam, the Mariana Islands and even Shanghai, China, later becoming a finalist at the 1946 All Navy Championships.

As seen in his extensive swimming career in his youth, Wally Lundt was consistently dedicated towards swimming, even later in his life. “One thing that I remember is that after we had our swim practice, he would always do 5 or 6 [laps]” said Paul Orland, ‘08. “He would do his swim workout even though he was like 81 years old.”

From all of his gained experience in water sports and physical education, Lundt began his career as a high school teacher and a water sports coach in 1952 at Normandy High School. Five years later in 1957, Coach Lundt came to CHS, where he also taught physical education, scuba diving, canoeing, and lifeguarding courses for years, while also coaching the CHS water polo and swimming teams. 

Coach Lundt had always prioritized the fitness of the students he’d mentor. “Originally my first interaction with Wally was when I was in grade school, learning how to swim,” said Ricky Bliss, ‘75. Many swimming and water polo alumni initially had Lundt teach them how to swim, after giving swimming lessons at the Shaw Park Aquatic Center. 

 Alumni remember Lundt for his dedication and encouraging demeanor as a coach. “He was a person of high expectations and integrity,” said alumnus Ari Schneider, “but he could also be very playful by telling his favorite jokes or listening to his favorite aria sung by Pavarotti.” 

Lundt played a vital role in spreading water polo as a sport in Missouri. Dubbed “the Godfather of Water Polo,” Coach Lundt founded water polo in the St. Louis area back in 1960 by convincing three school districts in the area to offer the sport. Charlie Beard, ‘11, recalled a moment where Coach Lundt was overseeing a local water polo tournament and a referee tried to call a foul. “[…] One time, he got into an argument with a referee about the rules and he objected. He said, ‘I know the rules. I wrote the rules.’” In 2004, Lundt was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame.