Cliff Brown was the 1978 recipient of the Glen S. Hummer Award recipient, an award given to the individual who makes the greatest contribution to the open water swimming in the United States.
He can be considered as the Founding Father of Master's Open Water Swimming. In 1977, using the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), then governing body of all United States Amateur Sports activity, Long Distance Rules for guidelines, he modified the prescribed 400 meter straightaway to a 200-meter length. He petitioned, with success, the AAU to recognize his Masters Maximum Two Mile (3.2K) race in a Sussex Wisconsin Limestone quarry as the first Masters Open Water National Championship Event in the United States. Through his forethought, dedication and leadership master's open water swimming made major gains in recognition and participation. Brown also participated in several open water events until his death