Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
DICK KIMBALL (USA)1985 Honor Coach/Diver
FOR THE RECORD: NCAA CHAMPION: 1957 (1m,3m springboard); U.S. OLYMPIC COACH: 1964, 1980, 1984; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COACH: 1978; 1972 "Mike Malone Memorial Award". 1972, 1976 "Fred A. Cady Memorial Diving Coaches Award"; Past president American Diving Coaches Association; US Diving Olympic Committee; Rules Committee of US Diving; NCAA Chairman of the Women's Diving Rules Committee; Diving Coach at the University of Michigan for 25 years; NCAA Women's & Men's Diving Coach of the Year 1984; Big Ten Women's Diving Coach of the Year 1984.
While Dick Kimball was a double N.C.A.A. Champion in 1957, he never reached his diving peak until six years later, when he won the Professional World's Championship. He was considered the all-time world's greatest acrobatic diver. Kimball, also a trampoline champion, was the first to put a spotting rig over a diving board. He developed many new dives, first using the mini-tramp, then the mini-board and ultimately off the tower. He was the first to develop many of the newer dives in today's optional list.
Likewise, Kimball's divers learned new dives in the process of winning it all. Micki King and Lani Loken were the first women (9167) to do a complete men's list off the women's tower. They, along with Phil Boggs and Ron Merriott, were among the Kimball divers to do a new dive first. Kimball's divers won the Olympic gold three times--Hall of Famers Bob Webster '69, Micki King '72 and Phil Boggs '76.
Twenty-five Kimball divers have represented the United States on international trips. His men and women have won 13 National Collegiate Championships, 37 U.S. and A.A.U. Nationals, three Olympics, two Pan Americans, three World Championships and one World Student Game. His divers finished second in these various championships 54 times.
As a show diver, Kimball became the straightman for comic Hobie Billingsley after the tragic death of Bruce Harlan. When Billingsley retired four years later, Kimball teamed with Ron O'Brien. Presently Kimball runs a successful summer diving camp in Brandon, Florida. Two of his world class divers have been his own son, Bruce, and daughter Vicki.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
SIR FRANK BEAUREPAIRE (AUS) 1967 Honor Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1908 silver (400m freestyle), bronze (1500m freestyle); 1920 silver (4x200m freestyle relay), bronze (1500m freestyle); 1924 , silver (4x200m freestyle relay), bronze (1500m freestyle); WORLD RECORDS: 14 (200m, 500m, 1000m, 1 mile freestyle); Principal organizer of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
In the gigantic task of preparing for and staging an Olympiad, no swimmer has come close to the late Sir Frank Beaurepaire, Lord Mayor of Melbourne and guiding genius of the 1956 Olympic Games. Were not Beaurepaire the outstanding swimmer of his considerable time, he might qualify for the Hall of Fame as the ex-swimmer who had done most to further the Olympics as an organizer.
As it is, we honor him as the top competitor who swam longest, "mostest" and perhaps even "bestest." If anyone were to call him the greatest swimmer of his era, the natural question would be, which era, or maybe, which eras, for Beaurepaire swam the trudgen in a competitive career lasting from 1903 to 1924. He won a total of 6 Olympic medals, the last at age 33. Holder of 14 world records, he traveled extensively, writing, talking, teaching swimming wherever he went. In 1910 he toured Europe undefeated.
Just as with the Cavill Family, Barney Kieran, Fanny Durack, Annette Kellerman, Freddy Lane in the early 1900s, Beaurepaire was part of Australia's leading export -- swimmers. Three different times, "Bogey" was invalided by sickness and told he would never be able to participate in sports again. Each time he swam his way back to health and to world records.
Beaurepaire set 5 world records from 200 to 500 meters in 1910, his best year, but was still setting records 11 years later, this time in the 1000 meters and the mile. He won more than 200 first class swimming championships and his fastest times were done when he was past 30.
Returning from the 1920 Olympics via Canada, Beaurepaire became interested in the tire business, took the money awarded him for rescuing a man from a shark off Sydney Beach, and started his own re-treading shop in Melbourne. His studious enterprise, thoroughness, and persistence -- all characteristics of his swimming -- got him through the Great Depression, as he ultimately captained Olympic Consolidated Industries, a 10 1/2 million pound consolidation of his companies. He became Melbourne's Lord Mayor and was a principal organizer of the 1956 Olympics. He died of a heart attack in a barber shop in the middle of a typically full day in May 1956, just 5 months before "his" Olympic Games.
SHARON WICHMAN (USA) 1991 Honor Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1968 gold (200m breaststroke), bronze (100m breaststroke); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 (100yd, 200yd breaststroke).
If you had two wishes that might come true, what would they be? This was the question Sharon was asked on a guidance questionnaire in 1965 at Chester T. Lane Junior High School. Sharon's first wish was, "To get a gold medal in the Olympics." Little did she know that her wish would come true.
Unlike most of us who have blown our big chance because we didn't prepare for the unexpected, Sharon was ready to take the reins when world record holder and teammate Catie Ball, became very ill and could not compete at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. Sharon won the 200 meter breaststroke in Olympic record time and became the first American woman in the history of the Olympic Games to capture the 200m breaststroke title. She also won the bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke, barely out-touched by gold medal winner Djurdica Bjedov of Yugoslavia by three tenths of a second.
Sharon began her career at Club Olympia in Fort Wayne, Indiana at age eleven. In 1966, Sharon's father was transferred to Mexico City and she missed the expert coaching of breaststroke specialist and Hall of Famer, Stefan Hunyadfi. Despite the advantages that could be obtained from high altitude training, Sharon's training was minimal and she returned home one month early to train with Hunyadfi for the U.S. Summer National Championship of 1967.
Although she returned to Mexico to compete in the Olympic Games in 1968, Sharon was a scared and homesick sixteen year old. It was the Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs and the encouragement from Olympic Coach Frank Elm, that prepared Sharon for the competition. "He said just the right thing because his words were all I though of the last length," said Sharon.
Having continued success in 1969, Sharon captured the national short course title in the 100 meter breaststroke and placed in the top three in all national competitions. She went on to win international titles at Bremen, Germany in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events. Sharon's attitude was not so much to beat someone, but to have a good race, and she had many good races.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
CARL ROBIE (USA) 1976 Honor Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1964 silver (200m butterfly); 1968 gold (200m butterfly); WORLD RECORDS: 4; U.S. NATIONAL AAU Outdoor Long Course CHAMPIONSHIPS: (6) 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968 (200m butterfly); 1965 (500m freestyle); U.S. NATIONAL AAU Indoor Short Course CHAMPIONSHIPS: (2) 1965, 1966 (200m butterfly); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1965 (400m individual medley); 1967 (200m butterfly).
Carl Robie, the Philadelphia flyer, also won nationals in freestyle and individual medley in a long career of national and international swimming; he won his first nationals in 1961 and his last in 1968. His world records were set from 1961 to 1963. When he finished second to Kevin Berry in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the silver medal he wore around his neck, to him, was a symbol of failure rather than success.
When Carl graduated from college as Michigan captain in 1967, he was expected to retire. But Robie kept on. During his freshman year in law school, he worked out by himself at a YMCA without a coach and came back to make the 1968 Olympic Team as "the old man of swimming" at 23. His gold medal was the most popular come back victory of the 1968 Olympics. "Over the hill" in 1964, he won it all in 1968, co-captaining the US team.
No one except a cherished few thought that he would win. "It was the happiest moment of my life," said Carl. "You know, I've won everything -- the Pan American Games, meets all over the world, but this one I didn't win until my last race. I am a lucky guy!"
Carl has a civil trial practice in Sarasota, Florida and is admitted to 9 bars in 6 states. His interest in swimming continued as his children (Mandy and C.J.) pursued their own swimming goals at the national and international level. He is married to Chris (his paralegal) since 1968 and enjoys many hobbies together with his family.
PAT MCCORMICK (USA) 1965 Honor Diver
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1952 gold (springboard, platform); 1956 gold (springboard, platform); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1955 gold (springboard, platform); U.S. NATIONALS: 77 (springboard, platform); Babe Zaharia's Woman Athlete of the Year; Helm's Hall North American Athlete of the Year; Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year; AAU's Sullivan Award.
Pat was born as Pat Keller in the small town of Seal Bach, California. Throughout her younger years, she was kept very active in trying to keep up with her older brother Bob. In 1947 while diving in Long Beach, Pat was seen by Mrs. Aileen Allen, then the diving coach at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and was invited to try out for the team. At the club, she not only enjoyed the advantages of formal coaching and excellent facilities, but also received help and inspiration from such diving stars as Vicki Draves and Sammy Lee.
After taking a surprising second in the 1947 National Platform event, Pat went back to Detroit for the 1948 Olympic tryouts. Although still a rookie in diving circles, she missed the team by less than 1 point.
In 1949, Pat formally changed her status from Miss to Mrs. and continued her diving career as Pat McCormick. In 1949, Pat won her first big meet, taking the National Platform event in San Antonio, Texas. Then in 1950 she startled the diving world by not only successfully defending her national platform crown, but also by winning the one meter and 3 meter national championships on springboard. The following year, she scored an all time first in competitive diving as she won all five national titles (2 indoor and 3 outdoor) in one year.
In 1951, Pat competed in her first international meet at Buenos Aires, taking the gold medal in the Pan American Games platform event, 2nd in the springboard. In 1952 Pat McCormick gained world-wide recognition by winning both the Olympic platform and springboard gold medals in Helsinki, Finland.
Throughout the next four years, Pat continued to dominate the diving scene, winning a total of 77 national championships as well as the platform and springboard gold medals in the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
In 1956 at Melbourne, Australia, Pat successfully defended both her Olympic platform and springboard championships, becoming the only person, man or woman, in diving history ever to score a "double-double" in Olympic competition. It was Pat McCormick's Olympic double-double that led the Swimming Hall of Fame's 52 coach nominating committee to pick her as the world's premier woman diver, the first selected in the Swimming Hall of Fame.and international competition he entered.
Like many athletes, Greg anticipated the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Unfortunately, the United States government boycotted the Games in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Disappointed, but not discouraged, Louganis decided to continue to pursue his dream.
In 1984 Louganis became the first man in 56 years to win two Olympic gold medals in diving. Hall of Famer Pete Desjardins of Miami had done it at the 1928 Games in Paris. In 1988, competing against divers half his age, Louganis became the first man to win double gold medals for diving in two consecutive Olympic Games, a feat duplicated only once in Olympic history by women's champion Pat McCormick in 1952-1956.
GUNNAR LARSSON (SWE) 1979 Honor Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1972 gold (200m, 400m individual medley); WORLD RECORDS: 3; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 gold (200m individual medley); EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m freestyle; 200m medley; 400m individual medley), silver (200m freestyle); SWEDISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 21; NATIONAL AAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 2.
Gunnar Larsson failed to make a final in the 1968 Olympics then came on like a surprise bombshell to be the best swimmer in Europe two years later. At Barcelona in 1970, he set World Records in the 400m freestyle and 200m medley plus another gold medal in the 400 I.M. and a silver in the 200 freestyle. In the 1972 Munich Olympics he won the "decathlon" events of swimming coming from behind to win gold medals in both the four-stroke 200 and 400 individual medleys over Tim McKee by two thousandths of a second in the 400 and by 1.2 seconds in the 200 in World Record time. Once more Gunnar pulled it off in the First World Championships in Belgrade in 1973. Larsson's best time before the meet was unlikely to make the finals but he again won the 200 individual medley. Coached by Don Gambril at Long Beach State and Harvard and by Lars-Erik Paulsson at home, Larsson must rank with Arne Borg as one of Sweden's two greatest all-time swimmers.