An accomplished Olympic swimmer, Jane Barkman Brown won three National Championships—one in 1965, and two in 1968. She represented the United States as a 17-year-old at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where she received a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay along with relay teammates Linda Gustavson, Sue Pedersen and Jan Henne. They set a new Olympic record of 4:02.5 during the Olympic finals. Individually, Brown also received a bronze medal for a third-place performance in the women’s 200-meter freestyle behind American’s Debbie Meyer and Jan Henne to complete a U.S. sweep of the event.
Brown attended Salem College from 1970 until graduation in the spring of 1974, having taken time off to train for the 1972 Olympics. While at Salem, she trained under Coach Leo Ellison and the men’s swim team at Wake Forest University. She graduated from Salem with a psychology degree and an early elementary teaching certificate. At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, she was again part of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay, along with teammates Sandy Neilson, Jenny Kemp and Shirley Babashoff. This team set a new world record of 3:55.19 in the final, narrowly edging the East German team. Brown served as a tri-captain of the 1972 U.S. Olympics team and later served as a Torchbearer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Outside the Olympics, Brown’s international competitions included swimming in Europe, South America, New Zealand and China.
Brown served as swim team coach at the University of Tennessee and Princeton University and the assistant men’s and women’s coach at Old Dominion University. In addition, she was the assistant men’s swim coach at Penn State University for 10 years beginning in 1984. Brown has been teaching swim lessons at Penn State for more than 30 years, most recently at Centre Hills Country Club. She has two sons, Dan and Chris, and a daughter, Jen. Brown has taught kindergarten and/or first grade in State College and Penns Valley, Pennsylvania, since 1998.