Joe began swimming at the age of seven at the Pawtucket Boys’ Club under the instruction of Ed Mungeon and  continued swimming, instructing, and volunteering there until the late 1950’s.  He retired the Charles H. Lawton Junior Cup by winning the 220 yard freestyle for boys 15 and under for three consecutive years. He was the individual champion in the 100 yard freestyle for the New England Boys’ Club League and was on the championship 200 yard freestyle relay.

Swimming at the Pawtucket Boys’ Club and at Pawtucket West Senior High School concurrently, Joe was the New England AAU Junior Champion in the 220 yard freestyle, the 440 yard freestyle, and the 100 yard freestyle. He was also the interscholastic league champion in the 100 yard freestyle and the 500 yard freestyle at the annual Meehan Championships.

 Joe helped the Pawtucket Boys’ Club capture its first ever New England Boys’ Club Championship in 1947. He won the Charles K. Shaw trophy in the 440 yard freestyle for three consecutive years.

Pawtucket West High named Joe captain of its team in his Senior year, and in 1948 he was named to the Rhode Island Interscholastic All State team in the 200 yard freestyle and the 200 yard freestyle relay.  That same year he was picked for the RI Coaches  and Officials Association first ever All Star Team in the men’s 200 yard freestyle.

In the 1940’s, Joe volunteered at the Pawtucket Boys club’s highly successful “Learn-to-Swim” campaign and was instrumental in helping many other younger swimmers.

Post high school activities included participation in annual Block Island swims and a 15 mile swim at the Canadian Exhibit at Lake Ontario, Canada.