Friday, May 12, 2017

THE INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES THE 2017 PARAGON AWARD RECIPIENTS, Presented by Pentair Aquatic Systems

Fort Lauderdale –  Sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today the recipients of the 22nd Annual Paragon Awards.  The Paragon Awards are presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics in six categories. This year’s recipients are Ron Van Pool for Competitive Swimming; Terry Sayring for Water Polo, Linda Paul for Competitive Diving;  The National Swimming Pool Foundation for Aquatic Safety; Stefania Tudini (ITA) for Synchronized Swimming and Juliene Hefter for Recreational Swimming. This year’s awards will be presented on Friday evening August 25, 2017, in ceremonies at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

“Pentair is honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and to recognize leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of aquatics”, said Jim Drozdowski, Institutional Aquatics Sales Manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems.

“The annual Paragon Awards bring some of the most interesting and fascinating people each year to the Hall of Fame,” said ISHOF President/CEO Bruce Wigo. “These are the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible, who save lives, who promote water safety and further aquatic education. “
The Paragon Awards are part of ISHOF’s 53rd Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, August 25-27.
For ticket information visit www.ishof.org or call 954-462-6536.  For more information about the Paragon Awards, see: http://www.ishof.org/awards/paragon.html

About Pentair Aquatic Systems: Pentair Aquatic Systems is a world-wide leader in the manufacture of residential and commercial swimming pool equipment including PARAGON™ Competitive Starting Platforms, which have been the leader in innovation, design and quality for over 50 years. Pentair is a proud sponsor of the ISHOF “Paragon Awards” since 1996. For more information about the Paragon Awards, see: http://www.ishof.org/awards/paragon.html

About ISHOF:  The International Hall of Fame, founded in 1965 and recognized by FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, is a not-for-profit educational organization. Its mission is to Preserve swimming history, Celebrate the heroes and to Educate the public about the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to water safety, fitness, good health, quality of life; and to Inspire Swimming For All, Swimming For Life! and “Every Child A Swimmer™” . For more information about ISHOF, see www.ishof.org

About this years Paragon Award Recipients:

Competitive Diving
Linda Paul (USA)
Linda Paul has been a part of USA Diving for more than 16 years. She joined the organization as Director of Business Development in 2001 and since has been involved in nearly every aspect of the organization, from managing USA diving teams in international competitions and events, to coordinating sponsorship services and serving as a liaison between the national office and the U.S. Olympic Committee.  In 2010 she was named President and CEO of the organization, leading a return to the podium in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.  She announced her retirement in 2017, and will be remembered for assisting in the growth and success of the organization through many challenges.

Synchronized Swimming
Stefania Tudini (ITA)
Stefania Tudini has served on the FINA Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee (TSSC) since 1992 and has been their chairman since 2009. She was also the chairman of the LEN TSSC and was honored by them for her years of service. “Cicci” is the director of Synchronized Swimming for the Italian Swimming Federation. Participation in the sport has grown exponentially in Italy under her leadership.

Water Polo
Terry Sayring (USA)
Terry started officiating Water Polo in 1963 and has officiated over 6,000 games, including FINA World Championships, FINA World Cups, FINA Jr. World Championships, Pan American Games, NCAA Championships and AAU National Championships. He was the manager of the 1980 and 1984 USA Water Polo Olympic Teams and was the competition manager for the 1996 Olympic Games. He was elected into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1986 and received the USA Water Polo Award in 1988, the organization’s highest honor.  In 2015, he founded American Water Polo Collections, Inc. a California non-profit dedicated to preserve the history of water polo in America.  

Competitive Swimming 
Ron Van Pool (USA)
Ron Van Pool has been a volunteer for USA Swimming for the past 30 years, serving as an official at high level meets such as the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials. He was elected to the USA Swimming Board of Directors in 1998 and served as President from 2002-2006.  Ron also served as the USA Swimming representative to the USOC and the National Governing Body Council for over 10 years. He was also a member of the USSIC Board of Directors from 2002 to 2014.He was the founding director of USA Swimming Foundation in 2004 and has served on the Foundation BOD since 2010. In addition to serving on several committees, including International Relations and Task Forces , including Governance and the CEO Search, in which he is the chair. In 2013, he received the USA Swimming Award, considered to be USA Swimming’s highest honor.

Recreational Swimming
Juliene Hefter (USA)
Juliene has a long and illustrious career in aquatics and park and recreation administration. She has been the Deputy Director for the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association for the past 8 years and is the Executive Director/CEO for the Association of Aquatic Professionals. The AAP is a non-profit corporation that exclusively promotes and advocates policies, practices and procedures that contribute to safer and improved aquatic education, aquatic recreation activities, programs, and facilities; provides and supports quality aquatic education opportunities; coordinates and conducts research in the field of aquatic management and safety; promotes coordination and cooperation between established aquatic associations responsible for all aspects of aquatic programming, aquatic management, aquatic operation and maintenance and aquatic facility design, as well as providing and annual conference and educational workshops for communities on drowning prevention and education.

Water Safety: 
The National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Step Into Swim™ Campaign
In 2012, The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) introduced its Step Into Swim™ program, a 10-year, learn-to-swim initiative to create 1 million more swimmers in an effort to improve public health and reduce drowning by teaching children, adults and minority populations to swim. The campaign asks aquatic businesses, associations, and the public sector to sponsor organizations that are already teaching people to swim. To help the public and private sector understand the importance of learning to swim, the NSPF issued a white paper, which explains the benefits of creating more swimmers, and how more people swimming can relieve increasing healthcare costs propelled by physical inactivity, an aging society and troublingly high drowning rates.

Monday, March 20, 2017

ANDY COAN PASSES AWAY

World Record Holder At 17, World Champion at 18


FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) sadly reports that Andy
Coan has passed away after a long illness in a Hospice facility in Boca Raton. He was 60 years old. In 1975, at 17 years of age, while representing the Pine Crest High School and swimming for ISHOF Honor Coach Jack Nelson, he broke Jim Montgomery’s 12-day old world-record in the 100 meter freestyle.

Later that year, Coan won three gold medals representing the USA at the 1975 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Cali, Colombia, as a member of the 4 x 100m freestyle, the 4 x 100m medley relays and an individual gold in the 100m freestyle. He continued his winning run at the 1975 United States National Swimming Championships, where he won the 100m free.

After graduation from Pine Crest in 1976, Coan attended the University of Tennessee on a swimming scholarship. At UT he won seven NCAA Championships, including the 50 and the 100 freestyle twice.

Andy missed two opportunities to compete in the Olympic Games. He came up short in 1976 and then shortly after the 1979 championships, Mr. Coan suffered broken wrists in an automobile accident. Despite wrist bones held together by two metal plates and nearly a dozen screws, he lost the 100 and 200 free to Gaines in 1980 but pulled off a surprising win over Gaines in the 50. When the Carter Olympic boycott was announced he chose not to participate in the post Olympic Trials.

Until health issues prevented him from doing so, Andy could be found on the pool deck helping Sid Cassidy and Jay Fitzgerald coach their teams at the Saint Andrews School and at his alma mater, Pine Crest.

He was diagnosed with Guilain Barre disease several years ago and had gone from total paralysis to a point where he was able to travel to Santa Clara, California for a reunion of the USA’s 1975 World Championship team, organized by the ISHOF.  But then came a battle against liver cancer that ultimately took his life.

“Andy was a great friend of swimming and the Pine Crest School,” said the schools coach, Jay Fitzgerald.  “He was always generous with his time and always positive - even through all his health issues. He will be missed.”

Coan still holds the Pine Crest School records for the 50y and 100y freestyle at 20.19 and 43.99 respectively, dating to 1975.  Amazingly, times that would have won the 2016 state titles, with-out a tech suit or underwater starts and turns.

Andy leaves behind his 13 year-old son Richard and his girlfriend, Karen Britton, who faithfully stood by him through all of his health problems.

A memorial service is being planned to take place at the ISHOF, in Fort Lauderdale in late April.  

ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

Thursday, March 16, 2017

AMERICA’S IAN CROCKER - GREAT RIVAL OF MICHAEL PHELPS ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME

FIRST STATE OF MAINE SWIMMER TO SWIM IN THE OLYMPICS - HELD 100M FLY WORLD RECORD FOR SIX YEARS


FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Crocker in Omaha at Olympic
 Trials 2016 (credit Kurt Keeler)
 announced that America’s Ian Crocker will join 16 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Crocker is the final name to be announced to the class that will be honored in ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN), Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), Leisel Jones (AUS) and Laure Manaudou (FRA), divers Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson (AUS), synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier (USA) have been announced.

Crocker, with music producer Jim Thompson
and Ryan Lochte (credit Jim Thompson)
Ian Lowell Crocker is one of the greatest butterfliers in history, but he didn't exactly grow up in a swimming hotbed. He was born August 31, 1982, in Portland, Maine, a state that has more than 35,000 square miles, yet not one Olympic-sized pool. The pool at the Portland elementary school where he somehow developed his Olympic aspirations was not much more than a 25 yards-long “hole in the ground.”  His parents recognized early on that their son suffered from a learning disorder and they felt it was necessary to have him involved in activities that would give him self-esteem outside of academics and keep him well rounded.  So Crocker jumped into to the pool, pursued playing the guitar and when he grew old enough to drive, developed an interest in cars. 

In 1997, he broke onto the national age group scene with a 13-14 US National record in the 200m freestyle. The next year he became the first U.S. 15-year old to break 1:50 for the 200m free and finished fourth at the 1998 USA Swimming Summer Nationals.  The next year, at the same meet he finished 23rd in the 100m butterfly and people started telling him that if he wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, he'd have to leave the state and train in a bigger pool. But he had enormous talent, desire and was blessed with a coach, Sharon Power, who knew what she was doing.

As a 17-year old, Crocker had entered the 2000 US Olympic Trials with a view to gain experience for 2004, but he left the meet winning the 100m fly and breaking Matt Biondi’s Trials record in the process.  In Sydney, he finished fourth, but broke Neil Walker’s American record and was a member of the USA’s 4 x 100m medley relay that captured the gold.

Now swimming for Eddie Reece, at the University of Texas, Crocker won  the 100y fly at the NCAAs and claimed the silver medal in the event at the FINA World Championships.  But at the 2002 Phillips Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, 17-year old Michael Phelps rallied in the final yards of the 100m fly to best Crocker and claim the American record.  Thus began an incredible rivalry that would last through the Beijing Olympic Games and become the subject of a behind the scenes, feature-length documentary film released in 2005, “Unfiltered: Michael Phelps & Ian Crocker - The Story Behind Their Rivalry.”  

At the 2003 FINA World Championships, Crocker watched Phelps break the world record in the preliminaries of the 100m butterfly, but Crocker came back to win the gold and set his first individual World Record in the finals, becoming the first in history to break 51 seconds. Phelps was reportedly so bothered that he tore Crocker’s photograph from a magazine and hung it in his bedroom as a motivator.

At their next confrontation in Santa Clara, in the early summer of 2004, Phelps came out on top. But at the 2004 Olympic Trials, Crocker got revenge, easily beating a tired Phelps (swimming in the last of his 17 races) and lowered his own world record to 50.76.  He also qualified to swim in the 100m free, finishing second behind Jason Lezak.

Their race in Athens was ridiculously close, with Phelps taking the gold, with brilliant touch at the wall that had become his trademark and a time of 51.25 to Crocker’s 51.29 seconds.  But be-fore the race, it was clear that Crocker had not been feeling well or swimming well. In his first swim, he had a dreadful first leg of the 400m freestyle relay that left the team in dead last and having to struggle to get the bronze medal.  In his individual 100m free race, he failed to even get past the preliminaries. In fact he suffered from a sore throat when he arrived at the Olympic village. Finishing second in the butterfly had also knocked him off the relay, which he had been a part of since 2000.  But in a magnanimous gesture of grace and sportsmanship, Michael Phelps
2004 OG: Crocker, with teammates Aaron Peirsol and
Brendan Hansen (credit Donald Miralle)
 stunned the swimming world by giving up his medley spot to Crocker.  Phelps justified his actions by saying that Crocker had a better relay start, but also that he had taken Crocker’s malaise into consideration.  “He wasn’t feeling too well,” said Phelps. “He deserved another shot.” The gesture brought Crocker to near tears and he didn’t disappoint, splitting a world best time of 50.28 to help his team win the gold and set a new world record.

In 2005, Phelps had backed off a bit on training, while Crocker, having graduated from UT and wanting to redeem himself, was wholly focused on the FINA World Championships. In the much anticipated rematch, Crocker took the lead and had a half body-length lead at the halfway mark. Instead of reeling Crocker in down the backstretch, Phelps actually lost ground to Crocker.  In the final 10 meters, Crocker’s finish was compared to Secretariat finishing the final stretch at the Belmont Stakes horse race to win the Triple-Crown in 1973. He was untouchable, and finished a full body-length ahead of the field, winning with a 50.40. It broke his world record by more than three tenths of a second and was an amazing 1.25 seconds ahead of Phelps.

“When you’re racing (Phelps), you have to always assume it’s going to take a world record to win,” Crocker said after the race. “It’s faster than I thought I could go. You can’t put limits on yourself.”

“What happened here,” said Phelps after the race, “I’m going to use for motivation, and hopefully by next summer. I’ll be able to give (Crocker) a race.”

In the much anticipated re-match in 2006, at the US Nationals in Irvine, Phelps came from behind in the final meters to out-touch Crocker.  “When we race each other,” said Phelps after the race, “we bring out the best in one another.”  Later that month, Crocker, without Phelps in the race, claimed the Pan Pac title in the fastest time in the world for the year.

The showcase event at the 2007 Phillips USA Swimming Nationals in Indianapolis was the Phelps-Crocker rivalry.  But just before the start, a photographer’s strobe light inadvertently flashed causing Crocker to flinch. It left him last off the blocks and would result in his disqualification.  Still he caught Phelps and eventually took the lead on the first lap, only to have Phelps chase him down on the homestretch for the victory.  At the 2007 World Championships, Crocker beat Phelps in the semi-finals, but in the final it was Phelps on top again, with a time of 50.77 - the second man in history to break the 51 second barrier.

By 2008, Phelps was confident and in control, and he faced a new rival in Serbian Milorad Cavic. But lost in their historic finish at the Beijing Olympic Games was that Ian Crocker just missing the bronze medal by the same 1/100th of second that decided the gold medal.  Despite not earning a medal in his signature event, Crocker swam in the prelims of the USA’s 4×100m medley relay and received his third Olympic relay gold medal.

Ian Crocker retired after the Beijing Games with 21 medals in major international competition, spanning the Olympics, the FINA World Aquatics Championships and the Pan Pacific Swim-ming Championships. He is one of the only swimmers in history to win the same event (100y butterfly) at NCAA’s all 4 years of college.  He set two long-course world records (50m & 100m butterfly) and three short-course records (50m & 100m fly and 100m free). He also retired holding the world record in the LC 100m butterfly.  But as was the case with many world records, Crocker’s 100 fly mark was taken down in 2009 by Michael Phelps in the fullbody tech-suit era. Though the sub-50 second swims by Phelps and Milorad Cavic in the 2009 World Champion-ships were astounding, it’s worth noting that Crocker’s 50.40 from the 2005 worlds remained the only swim in the top 10 performances in 100m butterfly history until Joseph Schooling’s gold medal swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, not done in a polyurethane suit.   

Ian Crocker enters the Hall of Fame as one the greatest butterflyers in history and one of Michael Phelps’ greatest rivals. He held onto the 100m fly world record for 6 years and challenged the greatest swimmer in the history of our sport to achieve unimaginable success.

Crocker with Josh Davis at a Mutual of Omaha Break Out 
Swim Clinic (credit Swimswam/ MOO BOSC)

Since retiring, Ian continues to be involved in swimming as a coach, swim school operator and clinician for Mutual of Omaha.  He also pursues his many other interests, including singing and playing the guitar, tinkering with cars and reading. 







ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org


  

Monday, March 13, 2017

FRANCE’S LAURE MANAUDOU ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME - FIRST FRENCH WOMAN TO WIN OLYMPIC GOLD IN SWIMMING BROKE THE “UNBEATABLE” RECORD OF JANET EVANS

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Laure Manaudo of France will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Manaudou is the sixteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA) and Australia’s Leisel Jones (AUS), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poe-nisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Manaudou with coach Phillipe Lucas
Laure Manaudou was born on October 9, 1986 in Villeurbanne, France. She swam for the club of Ambérieu-en-Bugey, in Ain, from the age of 6 to 14 years old.  In 2000, coach Philippe Lucas spotted her and convinced her parents that he would make her a champion. She then left the family nest to join her new coach in Melun, and a year later she won two silver medals at the European Junior Championships in Malta. Everyone started talking about her enormous potential.

On the podium in 2004
In 2003, at the age of 16, Manaudou won her first French national title in the 50m backstroke, at the French championships. The following year she took gold in the five individual events (400m, 800m, 1500m, 50m back and 100m back) at the French Nationals and qualified for her first Olympic team.  In Athens, a few months later, she won the gold medal in the 400m freestyle.  It was France's first gold medal ever in women's swimming and the first swimming gold medal won by a French athlete since Jean Boiteux's victory in the 400m men's freestyle event at Helsinki in 1952. Manaudou also won the silver medal in the women's 800m freestyle and the bronze medal in the women's 100m backstroke, thus becoming only the second Frenchwoman to win three medals in a single Olympic Games, Summer or Winter.

In 2005, she defended her world title in the 400m freestyle at the 2005 FINA World Champion-ships. At the French Championships in 2006, she did what many thought was impossible. For eighteen years, women swimmers had been chasing the seemingly untouchable record set by America’s Janet Evans in the 400m freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. There was rea-son to believe it would last for eternity, but Laure Manaudou finally broke it and she lowered Evans' standard again at the European Championship three months later.

She confirmed her status as a favorite to repeat as Olympic champion in Beijing, by winning 5 medals including 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze at the 2007 World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Shortly thereafter, she signed a sponsorship contract for 5 years for a sum of money that would be close to 1 million euros a year. The same year, on May 6, 2007, she decided to part with coach Philippe Lucas to train in Italy.

Manaudou was the star of French swimming and a real hope of multiple medals at Beijing 2008, but by her own admission 2007 was a crazy year as personal issues interfered with her training. After a season where she had four coaches and a loss of motivation, Laure finished a disappointing 8th in the 400m final and 7th in the 100m backstroke.

Entre Les Lignes
She announced her retirement in early 2009, but living in the United States two years later, start-ed training again and although she qualified for the London Olympic Games in the 100m and 200m backstroke, she failed to advance beyond the preliminaries.  She announced her retirement and left the international aquatic stage as she started it, after winning the 50m backstroke at the European (SC) Championships in November of 2013.

In 2014, Laure released her autobiography, Entre Les Lignes (Between The Lines).  It is a can-did, honest account of her life in competitive swimming, with its sacrifices, its ups and downs, her relationships with her brothers, coaches and lovers and the challenges she faced dealing with fame at an early age.

Triple Olympic medalist, three-time world champion, 18-time European champion and 58 times champion of France, Laure Manaudou enters the ISHOF as the best female swimmer of France history.



ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org


Friday, March 10, 2017

AUSTRALIAN LEISEL JONES ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME - WINNER OF 9 OLYMPIC MEDALS, 7 WORLD TITLES

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that
Australia’s Leisel Jones will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Jones is the fifteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

When Leisel Jones qualified for the London Olympic Games in 2012, she became the first Aus-tralian swimmer to compete in four Olympic Games.  Along with Ian Thorpe, she holds the record for the most Olympic medals (9) won by any Australian, in addition to winning seven FINA world championships.

Sydney Morning Herald depicting 15 year old Leisel Jones
Leisel Marie Jones was born on August 30, 1985. As a ten year-old Brisbane school girl, she watched Samantha Riley win the bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  Less than four years later, she ousted her idol from the Australian Team by winning the 100m breaststroke at the 2000 Australian Olympic trials at the age of 14. Shortly after her fifteenth birthday, she swam the race of her life to win claim the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke and added another silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay at the Sydney Olympic Games. For the next eight years, Leisel was the most dominating female breaststroker in the world, setting 6 world records, 3 in the 100m and 3 at 200m. Named world swimmer of the year in 2005 & 2006, the pinnacle of her career came with her individual gold medal in the 100m breaststroke, silver medal in the 200m and a second gold medal in the 4 x 100 medley relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Cover of Leisel's book
"Body Lengths" penguin books
Cover of Good
Weekend Magazine
Nicknamed "Diesel"and "Lethal Leisel," she candidly recounts in her 2015 autobiography, Body Lengths, that her achievements were not without their challenges. In her book she tells what it was like to be thrust into the limelight so young and under constant pressure from an early age to be perfect — from coaches, from the media and from herself. Despite the highs of her swimming stardom, she suffered depression, and at one time planned to take her own life. In London, she was criticized in the media for her weight, but she handled herself with great composure. She has emerged with maturity and good humor, having finally learnt how to be herself and live with confidence.  She also hopes that by telling her story, other female athletes will understand they are not alone.

ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ANASTASIA DAVYDOVA SELECTED FOR THE HALL OF FAME - MOST DECORATED SYNCHRO SWIMMER IN HISTORY

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Russian synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Davydova is the fourteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi Halo Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Anastasia Davydova—nicknamed “Asya”— was born on February 2, 1983. She is a five-time Olympic champion, thirteen-time world champion, seven-time European champion in synchro-nized swimming.. Davydova’s specialty was the duet event and she is the only swimmer in his-tory to repeat as an Olympic duet champion. Her routines were on the cutting edge of choreog-raphy, as well as being technically superior. In 2010, FINA declared her the best synchronized swimmer of the XXI century and in 2012 she was the standard bearer of the Russian Olympic team at the closing ceremony of the Games in London. 

Anastasia’s first sport was figure skating. Then she saw artistic gymnastics on TV and she left the ice for the ribbon and mat, but not for long. At the age of six, her mother took her for swim lessons where she was exposed to synchronized swimming. She loved the sport so much that she even gave up her favorite foods: chips, cakes and chocolates.  You see, she was a little chubby and the coach put her on a trial period to see if she would lose weight. While she really wanted the “bad food,” she loved synchronized swimming more and the rest, as they say, is his-tory.


In a sport that usually forces athletes to be patient as they build international reputations, Anastasia Davydova did not have to wait very long to move to the top. At age 15, she was paired with Anastasia Ermakova (ISHOF 2015). Because they were very successful at the junior level, judges were familiar with them by the time they became seniors. At their first major senior international event, they placed second in duet at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. The next year they performed a nearly flawless routine, including five perfect 10s in the final free program, to win the European Championships. At the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Davydova and Ermakova won their first senior world duet title; the Russian team was also victorious. Davydova won team and duet at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens in April 2004 and the European Championships in Madrid in May 2004. At the Olympic Games in Athens, Davydova and Ermakova won gold with an impeccable routine, scoring a perfect 50 for artistic impression (receiving a score of ten from all five judges). In the team event, they also won gold, even after a music malfunction required them repeat their performance. 
 
Leading up to the Beijing Games, Davydova, Ermakova and the Russians were unbeatable, winning every event they entered. At Beijing, the pair again won duet gold, earning a combined 99.251 and all perfect 10s for technical merit. The Russian team also won, leaving Ermakova and Davydova with a record four gold synchro medals.

After Ermakova retired, Davydova began training with Svetlana Romashina. But after the pair won at the 2011 FINA World Championships, Davydova stepped aside in favor of Natalia Ishchenko to focus on the team event, her studies at the Moscow Institute of Economics, Politics, and Law and on coaching youth at her local club. When She announced her retirement after winning gold in the team event at the 2012 Olympic Games, she also announced that she would turn her energy to coaching.  She wanted to be part of keeping the Russians on top. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Russia won both gold medals.

Today, Anastasia Davydova is the director of the Olympic Synchronized Swimming Center, she is a Cavalier of three Russian state orders, is vice- president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Chairman of the Council of Assistance to the Russian Olympic Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Russian Olympic Committee.  She also still avoids eating her favorite bad foods and is in great shape.

About the ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org