Sunday, February 28, 2021

Happy Birthday Jeff Farrell !!!

JEFF FARRELL (USA) 1968 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1960 gold (4x200m freestyle relay; 4x100 medley relay); Appendectomy 5 days before 1960 Olympic Trials; 1960 had world standard times in 100yd, 100m, 110yd, 200yd, 200m, 220yd freestyle; WORLD RECORDS: 4x200m freestyle; 4x100m medley relay; NATIONAL AAU CHAMPION: 1960.

No man ever overcame a greater handicap to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team than Jeff Farrell, the world's premier freestyle sprinter at the time of the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.  Farrell, with world standard times at 100 yds, 100 meters, 110 yds., 200 yds., 200 meters, and 220 yds., was considered a shoo-in for the Olympic team when he came down with acute appendicitis six days before the Olympic Trials at Detroit.  The operation was a success, but Farrell, wrapped in yards of adhesive tape, was considered in no shape to swim.  He refused a special dispensation and took his chances in the sudden-death trials that mark U.S. team selection methods.  Farrell placed fourth, and qualified for the relays.  By Rome, Farrell was fully recovered and anchored both U.S.A. men's relays to Olympic and world records for his two Olympic gold medals.

Farrell's whole swimming career was a classic example of determination.  A good high school swimmer from Wichita, Kansas, he enrolled at Oklahoma, talked athletic director Bud Wilkinson into hiring Matt Mann, the retired Michigan coach.  Under Mann, Farrell became a Conference champion, worked his way up to the finals in NCAA and NAAU championships.  Just about the time Farrell was ready to make his run for the top, he wrecked his shoulder in a dormitory wrestling match.  His senior year in college, with a long scar marking the shoulder operation, he was a solid third in the Nationals.  Pretty good swimming, but Farrell was not ready to quit.  He became a Navy ensign and was assigned to the ROTC at Yale where he worked out with retired Yale coach Bob Kiphuth, and finally reached his potential without injury.  Farrell was unbeatable that winter at Yale, winning the National AAUs.  Everyone--Matt Mann, Bob Kiphuth, the swimmers--agreed it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  Even Farrell must have figured he was finally home free until the appendectomy came to handicap him once more.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Happy Birthday Keena Rothhammer !!!

KEENA ROTHHAMMER (USA) 1991 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1972 gold (800m freestyle), bronze (200m freestyle); WORLD RECORDS: 2 (400m, 800m freestyle); NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 12 (200yd, 400m, 500yd freestyle; 7 relays); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 gold (100m freestyle), silver (400m freestyle); AMERICAN RECORDS: 13 (200yd, 400yd, 400m, 500yd, 800yd, 800m freestyle; 5 relays).

A talented freestyler with a racing range from 200 meters to 1500 meters, Keena Rothhammer's performances were unpredictable except for the fact that she always won something.  At a time when Shane Gould of Australia and Shirley Babashoff of the United States were swimming all the freestyle distances as well, this trio of swimmers flip-flopped their way down the event list, each pushing the other to new heights.

As youngest event gold medalist in both Olympic and World Championship competition, Keena, with the help of her Santa Clara coach, Hall of Famer, George Haines, set the world on fire.  At age 16, Keena had accumulated an Olympic gold and bronze medal, two world records, fifteen U.S. National championships, ten American records, and a gold and silver medal at the first World Championships in 1973.

At the 1972 Munich Olympics, Keena was America's third fastest 800 meter freestyler, but she captured the gold medal with a world record of 8:53.68.  As the top seeded American in the 400, Keena came in sixth, but maintained her place in the 200 b3hind Gould and Babashoff to take the bronze medal.

The swimming dominance of Rothhammer allowed her to use her fame to convince the Amateur Athletic Union to change its strict, long-standing rule on women's racing suits.  The American suits were required to have a skirt around the hip, while the East Germans competed in skin tight suits--and won!  Due to the Rothhammer family's lobbying efforts, the AAU changed its tune and submitted to faster and more water resistant suits.

Keena's forced retirement was due in part to severe migraine headaches which began in junior high school.  After her retirement at age 17, she traveled around the country working with Special Olympics programs.  Although just a teen, Keena maturely stated she would much rather be remembered for her work with children than anything she did in swimming.

Happy Birthday Jenny Thompson !!!

Jenny Thompson (USA) 2009 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (100m freestyle); 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x200m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x200m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); SIX WORLD RECORDS: 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, two – 4x100m freestyle, two – 4x100m medley; NINE WORLD RECORDS (25m): three – 50m butterfly, four –100m butterfly ,two–100m individual medley; 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m freestyle); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (4x200m freestyle); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle), silver (50m butterfly, 4x100m medley), bronze (100m freestyle); 1997 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (25m):gold(100m freestyle, 100m buttefly, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 4x100m medley, silver (50m freestyle); 2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (25m):gold(50m butterfly, 100m butterfly),silver(100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle),bronze(4x100m medley); 2004 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (25m): gold (50m butterfly), silver (4x100m medley), bronze (100m butterfly); 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 19 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: individual and relay titles.

When Jenny Thompson finished her swimming career following the 2004 Olympic Games, she was the most decorated U.S. Olympian with twelve medals, eight of them gold. From 1992 to 2004, she competed on four Olympic

Jenny Thompson Teams winning gold medals all as a member of relay teams, but in the process she set 15 world records mostly in individual events.

In 1999, she broke one of swimming’s most revered records, Mary T. Meagher’s 18 year old world record in the 100m butterfly. All totaled, she set 15 World Records – six long course in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly with four world records on relays and nine short course, all individual freestyle, butterfly and individual medley events.

Jenny swam for Mike Parratto (Seacoast Swimming Association, Dover, NH) from 1985-1991. She then swam for Richard Quick at Stanford University where she accrued 19 individual and relay NCAA National titles. When not at the University, she swam for John Collins at the Badger Swim Club. She competed in her last Olympic Games at the age of 31 in 2004 Athens where she won silver medals in the 4 x 100m freestyle and medley relays.

Thompson was the 1998 World Swimmer of the Year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

On this day in 1882, Honor Contributor, Dr. Frederick W. Luehring was born.....

DR. FREDERICK W. LUEHRING (USA) 1974 Honor Contributor

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1932 (Secretary of Men's and Women's Swimming Committee; Referee of the Olympic Trials); 1936 (Chairman of the Men's Olympic Swimming Committee; Referee of the Olympic Trials); Swimming and Water Polo Coach at Princeton, 1911-1920; started the swim team at Nebraska, 1921; First editor of the Intercollegiate Swimming Guide, 1916-1922; NCAA Rules Committee member, secretary and chairman from its founding until 1944.

Dr. Frederick W. Luehring was born in Hanover, Kansas, on the Oregon Trail in 1881 and he has been hiking uphill ever since.  He was run over by a wagon when he was 4 years old and his success at swimming and running himself back to health directed him into a long life dedicated to physical fitness.  At 82, he was the oldest ever to complete hiking the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail.  Hiking week-ends and vacations when he could spare the time, it took him 14 years to get from Maine to Georgia.  It is a tribute to his persistence.  At 93 he was still going on 15 and 20 mile weekend hikes.  "The distance," he says, "depends on how steep the mountain."  He has hiked the C & O Canal three times with Justice Douglas going 20 miles or more a day.  He has also hiked the 184 mile tow path along the Lehigh Canal.  At 92 he led the Philadelphia March of Dimes Walk-a-Thon for miles.

Enough about Fred Luehring's dryland exercise.  Forget this walk-a-thon and talk about his Swim-a-Thon,

the oldest swimmer at U.S. Pan American Coach Frank Keefe's Suburban Swim Club where non-believers offered $5.00 a length for as long as Luehring could swim.  "I don't swim as much as I hike now," observed Luehring, "but I swam a mile before breakfast every day during my vacation last summer and I enjoy half hour swims in the ocean after my 8 mile hikes with the Trail Club in New Jersey."

Luehring's Doctoral dissertation at Columbia became a published book "Swimming Pool Standards."  As Chairman of the Men's Olympic Swimming Committee, he wrote the report on the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  He was secretary of the Men's and Women's Swimming Committee in 1932 and Referee of the Olympic Trials in both 1932 and 1936.

Fred Luehring was a football and track star at North Central College and at the University of Chicago under Amos Alonzo Stag.  He has coached almost all the college sports.  At Ripon College (Wis.) in 1906-1907, he needed a settee rather than a chair for his duties as Professor and Director of Physical Education.  For $800 a year, he coached football, basketball, track and spent his evenings as Proctor in the men's dorm.  He coached swimming and water polo at Princeton from 1911-1920, started the swim team at Nebraska (1921), made swimming and life saving conferences for summer camps at Minnesota, Wisconsin, NYU, and others.

Fred Luehring's biggest contribution, however, was the prestige of his physical education background lent to swimming as a worthwhile educational sport activity.  He was the first editor of the Intercollegiate Swimming Guide from 1916-1922.  He served on the NCAA Rules Committee as member, secretary, and chairman, from its founding until 1944.  Fred Luehring is honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame for more years in service to swimming than any other physical education leader.

On this day, in 1872, John Arthur Jarvis, British Olympic gold medalist in swimming was born.....

JOHN ARTHUR JARVIS (GBR) 1968 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1900 gold (1000m, 4000m freestyle); 1906 silver (1 mile freestyle), bronze (400m freestyle; 4x250m freestyle relay); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1907 gold (500m freestyle); His 108 swimming championships included: Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee 1-mile championship; German Kaiser's Championship of Europe; Austrian Emperor's World Championships at Vienna; the King of Italy's World's Distance Championship; the Queen of Holland's World's Championship at 4,000m; King Edward VII coronation Cup One Mile; English Mile Championship - six year in succession; English Long Distance Championship (7 miles) - eight years; Half Mile Championships - 4 times in succession; 500yd Championship - 4 times; 400yd salt water championship- twice; plunging championship of England, 1904; 2 gold cups for 15 mile swim through London; Grand Prix of Antwerp, 1000m; Cup de la Meuse, Belgium; holder of the Royal Humane Society's Medal for Life Saving.

John Arthur Jarvis called himself "Amateur Swimming Champion of the World" and he had 108 swimming championships to prove it.  In 1900 (Paris), he was the first Olympic triple gold medal winner as he touched first at 100 meters, 1000 meters and 4000 meters.  He followed with a gold and a silver at the 1906 Athens Olympics.  Jarvis swam the overarm sidestroke and all races were "freestyle."  Jarvis and Joey Nuttall, the English professional champion, developed a special kick to go with this stroke which became known as the Jarvis-Nuttall kick.  Some of Jarvis' records with this stroke lasted 28 years.

After the 1907 world championships at Charenton, a newspaper report states: "The event of the day was the exhibition made by Jarvis in the 500 meter championship.  The Englishman at once took the lead and swam with a regularity so perfect as to seem absolutely mechanical.  He covered the 500 meters in 7 min., 43-4/5 sec. and turning, watched as an interested spectator, the struggle for second place.  Boin arrived 46 seconds later, and Gegoire was third in 8 minutes, 50-1/5 sec."

Jarvis saved innumerable lives in his later career teaching lifesaving including one famed rescue in which he brought in twin sisters.  He introduced lifesaving techniques to Italy on one of his many international trips with the English water polo team.  His other achievements and awards included Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee one mile championship; German Kaiser's Championship of Europe; Austrian Emperor's World Championships at Vienna; the King of Italy's World Distance Championship; the Queen of Holland's World's Championship at 4000 meters; King Edward VII Coronation Cup One Mile (presented by His Majesty); English Mile Championship--six years in succession; English Long Distance Championship (7 miles), eight years; Half Mile Championship, four times in succession; 500 yards championship, four times; 400 yards salt water championship, twice; plunging championship of England, in 1904; two gold cups for 15-mile swim through London, open to the world; Grand prix of Antwerp, 1000 meters; Cup de la Meuse, Belgium; holder of the Royal Humane society's Medal for Saving Life.

At the period when English swimming was first and swimming was a most important wonder of sport, J. A. Jarvis was certainly the wonder of English swimming.  He was later respectfully referred to as "Professor Jarvis" and 3 of his daughters, all swimming teachers, came to Fort Lauderdale to represent him at the induction ceremonies.


Happy Birthday Coach Skip Kenney !!!

SKIP KENNEY (USA) 2004 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: Head Coach Men’s Team; 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: Assistant Coach Men’s and Women’s Team; 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: Assistant Coach Men’s and Women’s Team; 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Assistant Coach Women’s Team; 1993 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: Head Coach; 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: Head Coach; Coach of Stanford University (1979-present) winning a total of 7 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS; Coach of 18 OLYMPIC SWIMMERS winning 16 OLYMPIC medals.

Skip Kenney was never a competitive swimmer, but he surely knew how to coach them. He developed all of local, state, national, collegiate and Olympic champions not only as individual champions, but also team champions.

Born February 24, 1943, he grew up in Fresno, California attending Fresno High School, playing baseball and doing a little diving. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Marines, went through boot camp and served in Viet Nam in the mid-1960s.

Kenney’s first swim coaching position was as Don Gambril’s assistant from 1968-1971 at Phillips 66 Long Beach. He also coached at Long Beach State during that time. When Gambril moved to Harvard University so did Skip, and he stayed there for one season before taking his first head coaching position at the Houston Dad’s Club in Texas. After a few years, Skip moved to Charlie Keating’s Cincinnati Marlins where he coached Renee Magee and Charles Keating, Jr. to the 1976 Montreal Olympics and Glenn Mills, Bill Barret and Kim Carlisle to the 1980 Olympic Team that was never able to compete due to the boycott.

In 1979, Kenney became the head coach of the Stanford University Men’s Swimming Team, a position he has held now for a quarter of a century. In collegiate swimming, he has won seven NCAA National Team titles and a record 23 PAC-10 Conference titles. He is a 15-time PAC-10 Coach of the Year, coached 93 All Americans to 785 All-America honors and developed over 63 NCAA champions. In his first 24 years at Stanford, Kenney has recorded a 177-35 overall record, including an 88-5 record (.946) over the past 11 years.

In the international arena, Coach Kenney was head coach of the U.S. Men’s Team at the 1996 Olympic Games after serving as the assistant coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics. He was the assistant coach of the women’s team at the 1994 World Championships and head coach at both the 1993 Pan Pacific Championships and 1987 Pan American Games. Skip will be the men’s coach for the U.S. Team at the 2004 Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis.

Kenney has coached 18 swimmers to Olympic competition winning ten gold, three silver and three bronze medals. His swimmers in World Championship competition have won five gold, three silver and two bronze medals. Some of his swimmers include Dave Bottom (American record holder); Ray Cary (1996 U.S. Olympian); Wade Flemons (1980 Canadian Olympian); Kurt Grote (1996 Olympic gold medalist); Joe Hudopohl (1992 and 1996 Olympic gold medalist); Jeff Kostoff (1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympian); John Moffet (1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympian and world record holder); Pablo Morales (three-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world record holder); Jay Mortensen (1988 Olympian); Anthony Mosse (1988 Olympic bronze medalist); Sean Murphy (1988 Canadian Olympian); Eddie Parenti (1992 and 1996 Canadian Olympian); J. Plummer (1988 Australian Olympian); Brian Retterer (American record holder); Jeff Rouse (1992 and 1996 Olympic gold medalist and world record holder); John Simons (1980 U.S. Olympian); Derek Weatherford (American record holder); and Tom Wilkens (2000 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist).

Skip’s international coaching achievements are held in high esteem by his peers and he is respected for his ability to teach as well as coach. His strong sense of character is revered by his swimmers.

Skip is also a great clinician whose purpose is to promote swimming better at all ages.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

ISHOF salutes Black History Month and Harry N. George

The General Slocum steamship disaster was the greatest single catastrophe in New York City’s history until 9/11. On June 15, 1904, the Gen. Slocum was taking a group of almost 1400 passengers, mostly women and children, on a trip of New York City's East River to a picnic on Long Island. The ship caught fire shortly after leaving dock.  Most of the passengers tried to escape the fire by jumping into the water, and because they didn't know how to swim, they drowned. Bodies of mothers, grandmothers, and girls washed up on the shorelines for days.  One of the forgotten heroes, saving some of the passengers, was Harry N. George, an African American. 

The lesson from the Slocum disaster wasn't lost on the nation: "Learn to swim!" commanded an editorial in the New York Herald that was repeated throughout the country. "That should be the resolve of every intelligent woman who does not already know how, upon reading the pitiful story of how woman after woman drowned within just a few feet of shore.

As a consequence of the Slocum disaster, the American Red Cross were moved to being its water safety and lifesaving programs and swimming became an essential part of public education.  Unfortunately, most African Americans were denied the same opportunities to learn to swim, as virtually all pools and beaches were closed to non-whites during the first half of the 20th Century, in spite of the heroics of Harry N. George.  It would not be until the 1930s when the first African Americans were certified as Red Cross Water Safety instructors and Lifeguards.