"The Bretscher family had a major influence on Valpo's swimming program in the 1970s. Joel remains a school recordholder in the 1,000 freestyle (1977), 1650 freestyle (1977), 100 fly (1979) and 200 fly (1979). He earned conference MVP honors four consecutive years - the first three in the Indiana Collegiate Conference (Charlie Erdmann Award) and in the Heartland Conference as a senior in 1979.
A dominant force in the pool, Joel is one of three Bretscher brothers (Paul and Seth) to have won at least three individual events in a conference championship at VU. He was a four-time conference champion in the 100 fly, a three-time champion in the 200 fly and a two-time champion in the 400 individual medley. Joel also captured conference titles in the 500 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, 200 individual medley and as a member of the 400 and 800 freestyle relays. In 1977, he helped Valpo to the ICC Championship.
He is currently the director of communications for Stephen Ministries in St. Louis, Missouri.