Deryk Snelling, legendary Canadian swimming coach, has died at age 87. His daughter announced his death on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
“This is Leslie Snelling Scabar. I just wanted to let my dad’s Facebook community know that he recently passed away at home from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He lived a long, healthy and fulfilling life until the very end. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and a Celebration of Life will follow when Covid restrictions are lifted,” she wrote.
Former Canada Swimming CEO Pierre LaFontaine shared the message from Scabar, adding one of his own.
“I’ve been blessed to have worked with him, he was my best Man, Mentor, help shape Canadian swimming but also helped create world people and great competitors. Thank you for your passion!” Pierre LaFontaine wrote on his Facebook page. “It’s also time that we rekindle the Canadian Swimming Hall of Fame. We lost some great people/coaches in the last few years that need to be remembered, celebrated for the next generation of Coaches – National Coaching week in Canada.”
Deryk Snelling was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1993. More from the ISHOF files:
DERYK SNELLING (CAN)
1993 Honor Coach
Born in Darwin, England, Deryk Snelling took his beginning as a British national swimmer and English champion to develop into one of swimming’s most successful coaches.
From 1962 at the Southampton Swimming Club in England to the current University of Calgary Swim Club in Canada, Deryk has placed 57 swimmers on Olympic teams, nineteen of them earning Olympic medals. Fifty of his swimmers have swum on World Championship teams, ten earning medals, and 53 swimmers winning 65 Commonwealth Games medals. His swimmers have set six world records and 72 of his teams have won Canadian National Team Championship titles with 417 individual and relay national titles going to his swimmers.
Snelling is known as the individual medley coach and his book, All About Individual Medley, stresses the importance of training all four swimming strokes. His world-ranked swimmers fill all four stroke events. Leslie Cliff won the 1972 Olympic silver medal in the 400-meter I.M., Bruce Robertson took the 1972 butterfly silver medal behind Mark Spitz and, 20 years later, Mark Tewksbury won the gold medal in yet another stroke at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning the 100-meter backstroke. Along with Mark, Snelling also coached backstroke world record holder Wendy Cooke.
Since 1970, Snelling has been the Canadian Olympic coach six times, serving as head coach at four of those Games. He has been coach of five Commonwealth teams and one World Championship team.
He has encouraged many of his swimmers to take up coaching. Among his proudest, his former swimmer David Haller, named British Olympic Coach and British Coach-of-the-Year.
During Snelling’s tenure at the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club, Etobicoke Swim Club, the Calgary Swim Club and the University of Calgary Swim Club, Deryk has been the Canadian Swim-Coach-of-the-Year four times, C.I.A.U.–University Coach-of-the-Year five times and is a recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada Award.
In addition to his coaching duties, he has been a featured guest at numerous clinics and symposiums across the world. Dery Snelling’s dual British and Canadian citizenship has produced dual successes in his swimmers–great athletes and great citizens.
On the same day that synchronized swimming pioneer Joy Cushman died at 98, another pioneer in the sport also died. Dawn Bean, who along with Cushman were instrumental in the development of synchronized swimming as an international sport, died at 94.
Bean, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996, had battled several forms of cancer over the years. She and her daughter Lea were both honorees as Lea was inducted into the Masters ISHOF as a Masters Synchronized Swimmer in 2016.
Dawn and Lea attended most Honoree Induction since their own ceremonies. Whenever she was battling cancer, she would say, “I just hope I feel well enough to travel to Fort Lauderdale to the Induction Ceremony!”
FOR THE RECORD: Synchronized swimming editor, publisher, administrator, judge, coach/teacher, official, athlete for over 50 years; Publisher of “Synchro Info”; FINA “A” Official; 1955 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (team).
You can synchronize your watches and you can synchronize your plans, but you can’t find anyone who can synchronize swimming better than Dawn Pawson Bean has synchronized swimming.
She began her career in 1941 as a water ballet swimmer on San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel Team. Then, for the next eight years, she competed in speed swimming before devoting herself exclusively to synchronized swimming. From 1947 to 1955 she was both swimmer and coach along with her husband Ross who coached the girls to their first U.S. National Team Championship in 1952 while at the Athens Athletic Club of Oakland, California. They went on to win four more national championships.
In 1955, her team won the gold medal at the Pan American Games, the first international competition in Synchronized Swimming. Dawn’s two sisters, Joan and Lynn, were a part of the team, making it a real family affair. Between 1958 and 1983, she established and coached the Riverside Aquettes and Tustin/Irvine Meraquas where her swimmers were national Team finalists for 22 consecutive years producing five National Team members.
But her involvement went far beyond coaching. In 1963, to promote communication in the sport, she began publishing “Synchro-Info” which, by 1992 had grown to become a 68 page publication with international distribution in over 50 countries. It is considered to be the single largest contribution which helped lead the development of Synchronized Swimming as a world-wide sport.
Beginning in 1959, Dawn chaired many U.S. Synchronized Swimming committees including Olympic International, which established the U.S. National Team concept in 1979. She served eight years on the U.S. Olympic Committees Executive Board. She was the editor of the official rule books, directories, scoring and training manuals. She is author of the “Athletes Handbook,” “Coaching Synchronized Swimming Effectively” and three other United States Synchronized Swimming publications which became models of expertise.
As an official, she has been an international judge since 1971 at three FINA World Cups, four Pan American Games, five Pan Pacific Championships and eighteen other international competitions in over eight countries. She has been a judge at the World Championships in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1992 and at the 1988 Olympic Games. At the 1984 Olympic Games, she was the Competition Director, as she has been for eight other international competitions. She has instructed international coaching and judging seminars in over eight countries and lectured in many more, including all continents of the world. She was one of FINA’s first three “A” rated judges.
With her husband and three daughters supporting her, Dawn Bean has been involved and served the sport of synchronized swimming for more than 50 years as an athlete, coach, teacher, administrator, official judge, publisher and editor.
Joy Cushman, International Swimming Hall of Fame honoree, died on Wednesday. She was 98.
She was a member of United States Synchronized Swimming, and represented the group on the United States Olympic Committee’s Executive Board from 1956-75. She was the USSS Chairperson from 1958-63 and was the FINA Synchro honorary secretary from 1960-72.
She was honored by ISHOF in 2018 as a pioneer and contributor.
From the ISHOF files:
Joy Cushman was born in 1924 into an aquatic family that had a summer beach house in Galveston, Texas. It was there she developed an early love for swimming, fishing, surfing, and waterskiing. Back in Houston during the school year, she joined a swimming team. Like most female swimmers in those days, she performed water ballet routines for her club’s annual water shows, starting in 1939. It was the great heyday of water shows and the Aquacades that helped popularize swimming and make Hall of Famers Johnny Weissmuller, Eleanor Holm, Buster Crabbe and Esther Williams superstars.
It was also an era when water ballet was morphing from the world of entertainment into the physically demanding sport of synchronized swimming – and Joy fell in love with it.
In 1946, when the AAU officially recognized synchronized swimming as a sport, Joy Cushman won the Texas championship in solo, duet and team competitions. Then when the Shamrock Hotel opened in 1949, with its incredible swimming pool, Joy performed for the Opening Gala before a slew of Hollywood celebrities and tens of thousands of guests. Shortly after that, she started coaching the Shamrock Hotel Corkettes Synchronized Swimming Team.
Under Joy’s guidance, the Corkettes established themselves as one of America’s top synchro teams for many decades. They also performed, along with divers, clown divers, and dancers at every convention, banquet and cocktail party held at the hotel poolside. The funds earned from these shows enabled her and the team to organize workshops, clinics and competitions to promote synchronized swimming.
Joy Cushman’s great strengths were as an administrator, official and promoter of synchro as an international sport in its formative years. She conducted many synchro workshops and hosted international swimmers and teams from Mexico and South America for clinics and competitions in Houston which helped put synchro in the 1955 Pan American Games as an official sport. For the 1959 and 1963 Pan Am Games, Joy served as coach and manager of the USA Synchronized Swimming Team. Her Pan Am experiences led to a charter position and member of the ASUA Synchronized Swimming Technical Committee for many years. She also served on the FINA Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee for 12 years, eight as Vice Chairman, and four as Honorary Secretary, beginning in 1960.
Joy also gave clinics in Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, and in 1966, she developed the first Japanese-American dual meet.
She was the Chair of AAU Synchronized Swimming from 1958-1963 and served on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors from 1956-1975. She was head chaperone for the American delegations that competed in the 1971 Pan Am Games and 1972 Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
During her career, Joy Cushman served as Chief Official for synchronized swimming at six Olympic Games, nine Pan American Games and four FINA World Championships. Among the many awards she has received over the years are the FINA Silver Pin and the Lillian MacKellar Distinguished Service Award from United States Synchronized Swimming.
Olympic Champion Brooke Bennett Wins Female Title At Swim For Alligator Lighthouse
More than 460 national and international participants competed in clear ocean waters off the Florida Keys Saturday during the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse, an 8-mile open-water challenge.
Tampa Bay, Florida, resident Connor Signorin, 29, emerged from the Atlantic Ocean as the top individual swimmer with a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds. The top female finisher was Olympic champion Brooke Bennett, 41, of Clearwater, Florida, who completed the race in 3:19:20. The distance star captured three Olympic gold medals during her career, titles in the 800 freestyle in 1996 and 2000, and a gold in the 400 free in 2000.
In other divisions, Tampa residents Andrew Lashlee and Robert Skaggs posted the fastest two-person relay time at 4:03:58.
Photo Courtesy: Florida Keys Media
Swimmers Michelle Dalton, Sara McLarty and Misty Bacerra, all of Clermont, Florida, won the three-person class in 4:15:32.
The winning four-person team was a mixed relay of male and female competitors from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tim Shead, Harold Wagner, Serge Wenzel and Ann Kilpatrick posted a time of 3:34:42.
Athletes swam to Alligator Reef Lighthouse off Islamorada, rounded the beacon and came back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.
Founded by Florida Keys artist “Lighthouse Larry” Herlth, the annual race is staged to raise awareness about the need to preserve the almost 150-year-old Alligator Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys. The event also raises college scholarship funds for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.
Recently, the Islamorada community-based organization that hosts the annual swim was approved to take ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Restoring it is likely to take five to seven years and cost up to $9 million, according to organizers. Fundraising efforts have already begun at savealligatorlighthouse.org.
Constructed to warn ships away from the Florida Keys reef tract, the lighthouses are no longer maintained, as their function has been replaced by modern Global Positioning System navigation.
Australian Chloe McCardel Chases Record 44th English Channel Crossing
Australian marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel will pursue a world record 44th crossing of the English Channel over the next month.
McCardel has made the 34-kilometer crossing of the Channel on 41 occasions. That is more than any man in history and trails only the 43 crossings made by Alison Streeter. McCardel is aiming for crossing No. 42 later in September. If conditions allow, and anticipated August swims have already been pushed back due to high winds, she could be in line to make her 43rd and 44th crossings by early October.
“I can’t wait to get these final swims underway, the closer I’m getting, the more excited I am,” McCardel said in a press release. “I only have 3 swims remaining now, which I’m planning to carry out in September and October.”
McCardel first crossed the English Channel in 2009. The 36-year-old native of Melbourne surpassed the men’s world record of 34 crossings in 2020. She has persevered through the daunting passage so many times despite being hospitalized with hypothermia during a 2011 attempt.
She was the first Australian and only the fourth person to complete a triple non-stop crossing of the Channel in 2015, the first to do so in 25 years. Chasing Streeter’s record is a natural next step for McCardel.
“Alison Streeter was my idol when I was moving to Channel swimming – she inspired me to continue to push my boundaries,” McCardel said. “Australia has such a rich history in English Channel swimming and I’m so proud to represent my Country out in the Channel, a place which I see as my spiritual home. Although I’ve travelled alone for this challenge, I have such a great support network here in the UK who always get behind me and cheer me on!”
Chloe McCardel holds various world records, including the longest unassisted ocean swim (124.4 kilometers in the Bahamas in 2014), most English Channel crossings in one season (eight in 2016) and most Channel crossings in one week (three in 2015). She turned in the fastest crossing, male or female, of the 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2019 seasons. She also works as a coach and mentor to other open-water swimmer and a motivational speaker.
McCardel won the 2016 Poseidon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the year she was inducted to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. She is an inaugural member of the Australian Swimming Hall of Fame.
“I really want to inspire young people, especially girls, showing them that anything is possible – I only learnt how to swim at the age of 11 and I will soon have managed to swim the English Channel more times than anyone in the world, I want them to know that they can do anything too!,” McCardel said. “I think sometimes women don’t get recognised for their achievements as much as they should, to have female role models has been amazing for me and I really hope I can be that for other women and girls.”
Texas Dedicates Eddie Reese Outdoor Pool in Honor of Legendary Coach
Eddie Reese has been the head men’s swimming coach at Texas since 1978-1979, and in his third season, the Longhorns captured their first national championship. Since then, the team has raised its total to national victories to 15, and that has made Reese the most decorated collegiate swimming coach ever. So to honor their coach, the University of Texas constructed a new outdoor aquatic center named for Reese, and the pool was dedicated in a ceremony Saturday morning in Austin.
Donors, alumni, athletic director Chris Del Conte and Texas women’s coach Carol Capitani were all in attendance at the dedication. The pool actually opened last fall, but the dedication was delayed until now.
Reese is entering his 44th season as head coach at Texas after he turned 80 in July, so he has been at the helm in Austin for more than half his life. Reese announced his retirement in March, two days after his Longhorns captured the NCAA title with a 27-point win over Cal. However, two weeks after three Texas-trained college and pro swimmers qualified for the U.S. Olympic team (Townley Haas, Drew Kibler and Gunnar Bentz) and several others just missed (Carson Foster and Will Licon among them), Texas announced that Reese would be returning as Texas head coach after all and that Wyatt Collins would remain as Reese’s assistant.
In recent history, Texas had won four straight championships in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, most of them in completely dominant fashion, before Cal was victorious at the 2019 championships at Texas’ home pool in Austin. The 2020 meet was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Texas was back on top this past year, even though the Longhorns only won two events, the 200 free relay and one-meter diving. Reese’s Longhorns and Dave Durden’s Golden Bears are expected to once again battle for the national title at the 2022 championships in late March in Atlanta.
Wadley previously served on the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Board of Directors and was the past president for ASCA. He was named executive director of ASCA in October 2020, taking over for Steve Roush, who is now the project manager for the 65-year-old organization. Roush was hired at ASCA in July 2019, succeeding John Leonard who had held the position for 35 years.
In the pool, 19 of Bill Wadley’s swimmers have been named All-Americans and 63 have earned honorable mention All-America status. In 2010, while hosting the Big Ten Championships, his team brought home the first conference title since 1956 and the 13th in program history. Under his tutelage, he had a swimmer compete at seven consecutive Summer Olympic Games.
Former swimmers posted about Wadley’s death on social media.
“Sad to see the passing of my@OhioState swim coach Bill Wadley this morning. He was a great coach, he cultivated an ecosystem where I met my brothers and lead the team to a Big Ten Championship in 2010. He will be missed. #GoBucks,” Quincy Lee wrote on Twitter.
In addition to his time at Ohio State, Wadley also had plenty of international coaching experience, being a member of the USA team staff at the 1991, 1993 and 2009 World University Games, the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 2011 Duel in the Pool.
He resigned as ASCA CEO earlier this year following a series of incidents outside of the pool.
Prior to OSU, Wadley spent two years as the men’s swimming coach at Michigan State University, coaching the women’s team in his final year with the Spartans as well.
Wadley is a native of Rockford, Ill., and was a 1979 graduate of Austin Peay State University before heading to the Big Ten.