In February 2015, Smithsonian.com ran a story about the goldfish-swallowing fad that swept across campuses in 1939. What began as a lark — one Harvard student gulping a goldfish to win a $10 bet — quickly morphed into an all-out competition, with colleges scrambling to outdo one another. As the figures rose — 25 downed by a University of Pennsylvania student, 42 by a guy at MIT — it became apparent that the eventual winner would need to be a man with an iron gut and a nonexistent gag reflex.
According to the Smithsonian story, Clark University student Joseph Diliberto ’39 was such a man. In April of that year, Diliberto reportedly consumed a then-record 89 goldfish in one sitting and lived to tell the tale.
From Clark magazine, spring 2015