Duane R. Swisher, 55, former swim coach at Western Boone Jr.-Sr. High School, died Saturday after his bicycle was hit by a Jeep about 8:28 a.m. in rural Fountain County.
Swisher was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Crawfordsville, where he was pronounced dead, according to Fountain County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott M. Rainey. The sheriff’s department had no additional information as of 8:10 p.m. Saturday. The accident was under investigation, the sheriff’s department said.
Those who knew Swisher talk about his caring heart and discipline for the athletic endeavors that were such a big part of his life.
“He was a very caring person,” said his cousin, Tammy Clanton, of Advance. “He was always there for other family members.”
Swisher was a physical education teacher at Western Boone for 24 years, teaching with his lifelong friend Brian Bowerman, who teaches seventh-grade social studies.
“He’s one of those guys who makes everyone around him better,” Bowerman said. He and Swisher knew each other since they were elementary students on the school football team. Bowerman shared his love of cycling. “We trained together all the time.”
Swisher enjoyed competing in triathlons, often placing in the top of his age group.
In fact, he was an elite athlete, having made the U.S. kayak team for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, said Western Boone Principal Rob Ramey. The United States boycotted the games that year, so Swisher wasn’t able to compete.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.