Thursday, August 6, 2020

Happy Birthday PAUL ASMUTH !!!

2010 Honor Open Water Swimmer


Move over Abou Heif, Herman Williamsee and John Kinsella, the greatest mara-thon swimming racers the world had seen. That’s until Paul Asmuth ascended on the world scene in the 1980’s becoming the most dominant racer on the professional circuit and one of the world’s greatest professional marathon swimmers.

Growing up in the sunshine state of Florida, he swam his way through school as an age-group swimmer with the Fort Myers Swimming Association and continuing in college at Auburn and Arizona State with career stops at Mission Viejo, Bolles Sharks and Santa Barbara Swim Club. Along the way, he had some of the world’s greatest coaches: Ginny Duenkel, Gregg Troy, Eddie Reese, Ron Johnson, Mark Schubert, Larry Leibowitz and Charles “Red” Silvia. With his own mental toughness, he grew to become one of the world’s greatest professional marathon swimmers.

One of the first to utilize speed techniques from the pool into open water, Asmuth became  the marathon swimmer to beat on the professional circuit during the 1980’s. He won the 23 mile Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City an unprecedented eight times in water temperatures ranging from the low 60’s F to the 80’s F. He has a record six wins in the 27 mile Traversee Memphremagog, in Canada, holding the record from 1980 to 1994. He won the granddaddy of marathon swims, the Lac St. Jean crossing in Roberval, Quebec two times at 21 miles and once at 40 miles setting a record of 17h 6m in 50 degree water. He won the 20 mile Capri-Napoli Swim three times and holds the record at 6h 35m. He won four times and set the course record for the 50 degree F 14 mile Les Quatorze Mille de Paspe-biac Swim at 5h 35m. All totaled he has seven World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Titles.

His solo swims include three English Channel crossings including the men’s record (8h 12m), the only swimmer to complete the 31 mile Nantucket to Cape Cod Massachusetts and the first person under seven hours around 28 mile Manhattan Island.

Happy Birthday Soichi Sakamoto

1966 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD: Great Hawaiian coach who developed many of the world champions between 1948-1956.  All of his swimmers became National Champions during this period.

Soichi Sakamoto is the great coach responsible for modern Hawaiian swimming success.  Hawaiian swimmers dominated the sport from 1912, but Buster Crabbe, in the 1932 Olympics, was their last champion of that long illustrious era.

Then came a drought and Japanese-Hawaiian Sakamoto, starting with children in an irrigation ditch, was developing new ideas of pace and rhythm with a metronome.  His young swimmers were not the greats of Punaho School, then and still going on to Yale, but a new breed of public school swimmers going on to Ohio State and Indiana--Hirose, Nakama, Smith, Konno, Oyakawa, Onekea, Cleveland, Woolsey, Tenabe, Miki and the girls Kalama Kleinschmidt, Kawamoto and Hoe.  All became national champions, most made the Olympic teams of 1948, 1952 and 1956.

During this period, Sakamoto was sought out by swimmers all over the world, journeying to Hawaii in search of the magic touch.  They found technique, method dedication and conditioning, which produced champions at all strokes and distances, but as the coach told all in his somewhat difficult-to-understand English, "Magic, No!"

"The swimming stroke is a 'working tool'," says this master coach, "and therefore it must be one which must be sound in its practical use--to get the most out of a given effort.  It must be simple and efficient, and one which can be controlled at will by the individual. . . Swimming with and not against the water."

"Patience, above all, is tantamount and a rule," Sakamoto continues, "as improvement, growth, speed and success come only at a snail's pace.  First, it is learning to swim, training and conditioning, competing and going through the bitter experiences of defeat and chagrin.  The light of success comes only when everything seems hopeless and wasted."

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Happy Birthday TAMAS FARAGO - Mr. Water Polo!!!


FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1972 silver, 1976 gold, 1980 bronze; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1975 gold, 1978 silver; EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1970 silver, 1977 gold; FINA CUP: 1979 gold; JADRAN CUP: 1971 silver; TUNGSRAM CUP: 1972 gold, 1980 silver.

In the opinion of many international judges and players, Tamas Farago is one of the best athletes to ever play the game of water polo.  Known for his amazing attacking and shooting skills Farago was the single most reason for Hungary's Olympic medal performances of 1972, 1976, and 1980.

Water polo is Hungary's national sport, and games are played with the same intensity as football games are played throughout Europe.  Because of its strong teams of the 1970s, Hungary was always considered a contender for a medal in any tournament, and Tamas Farago was the main reason why.

After Hungary's close gold medal loss to the Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympics, Farago and company returned in 1973 to the first World Championships in Belgrade to defeat the same Soviet team for the gold medal.  Again in Montreal, at the 1976 Olympics, Farago returned to lead his team to a 6-to-5 gold medal victory in the first game of the final round against Italy.  Farago, who led all scorers with a total of 22 goals, added the winning goal in the final seconds of the game to secure the gold medal.  Four of the six goals for Hungary were scored by Farago in the championship game.  Farago also played on the silver medal-winning teams of the 1985 and 1978 World Championships and the gold medal-winning teams of the 1974 and 1977 European Championships.

It is because of players like Tamas Farago that Hungary was able to win a medal at every Olympic Games from 1928 through 1980.

Monday, August 3, 2020


Shelley Taylor-Smith (AUS)
2008 Honor Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (25K); Women's Number 1 World Ranking in Marathon Swimming: 1988- 1995; Honorary Secretary FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (2000-present); Author of Book Detailing Training and Mental Preparation for Swimming a Marathon;

Born in Perth, Australia in 1961, she was so passionate about swimming, she would sneak off to bed each night in her bathers. Not overly talented and diagnosed with crippling scoliosis, her determination over ruled what her doctors predicted and her swimming took off to heights which no one but she anticipated.

Her introduction to Marathon swimming began at the University of Arkansas in 1983. Her first professional race was in 1985 and by 1998, she retired as a seven-time World Marathon Swimming Champion. In 1991, she was the only woman of any sport, world wide, to hold the world’s number one ranking for both men and women. For seven consecutive years, 1988-1995, she was ranked as the number one World Marathon Swimming Champion in races ranging from 30 to 90 kilometers, set 15 world race records, scored 51 first places in international marathon swims, set the record for the around Manhattan Island Swim and swam the English Channel.

Shelley Taylor-Smith had become one of the world’s most coveted female marathon swimmers. From athlete to contributor, she has served since 2000 as Honorary Secretary for the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and was instrumental in the IOC’s decision to include the 10 kilometer swim in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She was a FINA Athlete Representative for 12 years. As Director and founder of Champion Mindset Consulting, she is a motivational teacher, mental toughness coach and international best selling author.

Honor Diver Vicki Draves makes Google Doodle

On August 3rd, 2020,  Google Doodle is launching a Doodle celebrating ISHOF Honr Diver and friend, Filipino American diver and coach Victoria “Vicki” Draves, the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic medal. On this day in 1948, Draves won the gold medal in the women’s 3-meter springboard event at the London Summer Olympics. 

1969 Honor Diver

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1948 gold (springboard; platform); NATIONAL DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1946, 1947, 1948 gold (platform); 1948 gold (springboard); First woman in Olympic to win both springboard and platform diving crowns in same games.

Victoria Manalo Draves was the first woman in Olympic history to win both springboard and platform diving crowns in the same games.  She was the only swimmer or diver to gold medal in two individual events at the 1948 London Olympiad. Her rise to No. 1 in the world was meteoric but far from easy.  Vickie was a twin born in San Francisco to an English mother and Filipino father.  When Vickie was 16, she and her sisters would take the trolley car to Fleishhacker Pool to swim and admire the divers.  Admiration was mutual as one of the boy divers introduced her to Phil Patterson, coach of then national champion Helen Crlenkovich.  Vickie learned rapidly under Phil, but her biggest hurdle was not on the diving board.  Her diving club on Nob Hill required that she drop her father's Filipino name and take her mother's maiden name, Taylor.  Finances were another problem and a year later, she joined Charlie Sava's famed Crystal Plunge team where she worked with Jimmy McHugh.  McHugh left coaching and on Sava's advice, Vickie crossed the bay to dive with Lyle Draves and his star pupil Zoe Ann Olsen at the Athens Club in Oakland.

With a third diver, Gloria Wooden, Draves took his girls to the 1945 Indoor Nationals in Chicago and they placed 1, 2, 3 in the 3 meter springboard.

Wartime duties, another Nob Hill meet argument over Vickie's Filipino parentage, and Draves returning to Southern California left Vickie once more without a coach.  There followed some commuting to Los Angeles, a second and a third at the Outdoor Nationals, and then, on the death of her father, Vicki retired and returned to San Francisco and to her old job as a secretary in the Army Port Surgeon's office.

When the war ended, Vickie finally moved to Southern California for good.  She married her coach and her winning ways began immediately with the national Tower Diving Championship (10 meter platform), in 1946, 1947 and 1948.  In 1948, she won her first springboard national title.  She made the team but was not first at the Olympic Trials in either springboard or platform.  She was the first woman of oriental ancestry to win an Olympic gold medal in diving.  The first man was Korean-American Sammy Lee, who, like Vickie, stands 5'1" when he stretches.  The incredible performances of these two Asian-Americans helped heal the scars of an Olympic-canceling World War, and personified the Olympic revival of individual competition regardless of race, creed or national origin.

@google #GoogleDoodle

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Abouheif: Crocodile of the Nile

Abdellatief Abouheif (EGY)
Honor Open Water Swimmer

Considered one of the greatest open water swimmers of all time, Abouheif was a superstar in his home country of Egypt.  Read his fascinating story here:

In a country where marathon swimming is the premier sport, Abdellatief Abouheif is Egypt's national hero.  Revered and respected, his fellow countrymen bow down to him, streets and buildings are named after him and when the great Abouheif speaks, people listen.  To the rest of the world, he is an extraordinary phenomenon.

Very few other marathon swimmers can match the achievements of this amazing long distance swimmer.  His death defying distance swims and open water races have been held in most of the major bodies of water in the world and under extreme conditions.  For example, in a swim hosted by ISHOF Gold Medallion recipient Jim Moran, Abouheif accomplished the 60 mile Lake Michigan Crossing of 1963, spending 34 hours 45 minutes in the chilly 52 degree F. water.  In 1962, he spent over 9 hours in the 84 degree F. water, completing the 23 mile Mar Del Plata swim in Argentina.  But like all of his swims, he endures, takes himself to the limit and recovers.

Between 1953 and 1972, he competed in over 68 international races of lengths from 30k to 80 kilometers.  In 1964, 1965 and 1968, he was the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Champion of a circuit of races held in Canada, United States, Italy and South America.  Of these 68 races he most often finished first and in only 12 races did he finish below third place.  International competitions were hosted by France, Argentina, Lebanon, England, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Holland.

Abouheif was born in 1929, the eighth of fifteen children and the son of a school teacher and Parliamentary member.  He received his secondary education at Eaton and Sandhurst Military Academy in England.  He returned to Egypt to serve in the army rising to the rank of colonel.  Along the way he learned to play the piano, speak six languages, marry a beautiful Greek opera singer and become the world's professional swimming champion.

Abouheif's five foot ten inch frame that weighs between 200 and 240 pounds, is well covered with fat to endure the exposure to cold water.  His eating had no rules and he would eat anything that smelled good at the time, which, before a race, could include two whole roast chickens and a quart of orange juice and milk.

He was held in awe by every swimmer on the circuit.  If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not a race could be completed, due to weather conditions, Abouheif would erase that doubt and battle the elements to the finish line.  No body of water was too difficult a challenge for him, either fresh or salt water.  He has crossed or traversed the English Channel, Lac St. John, Capri-Naples, Canadian National Exposition, La Tugue, Quebec City, Chicoutimi, the Nile River, the Seine River and many more.  His trademark was a flurry of strokes and a finish sprint that carries him to the finish line to strive with unyielding competitiveness and to endure in the battle with mother  nature.

If an emblem were made that represents Abouheif and his feats, it would have a big set of beautiful white teeth amidst a friendly grin and a picture of a huge stomach. He became the greatest marathon swimmer in the history of the sport and set the standards for today's open water swimmers.

FOR THE RECORD: Abdellatief Abouheif, Honor Open Water Swimmer

World's Great Marathon Swimmer from 1953-1972;
Longest Distance Swim -  60 miles of Lake Michigan in 34 hours, 45 minutes;
Competed in over 68 International Races between 30km and 80km in length.
1964, '65 & '68 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Champion.
Famous swims, with first place finishes, include:
1953 - Seine River (Paris) France, 18 miles,  5:46.40;
1954 - St. Nazaire LaBaule, France, 26 miles, 7:41.15;
1955 - English Channel (France to England), 21 miles, 11:44.00;
1955 - St. Nazaire - La Baule, France, 26 miles, 9:32.00;
1956 - Nile River, U.A.R., 42 miles, 17:01.01;
1956 - Ouvers, Oise, France, 11 miles, 4:24-00;
1956 - Seine River (Paris) France, 18 miles, 6:37.50;
1957 - Saida, Beirut, Lebanon, 25 miles, 13:05.00;
1961 - Saida,  Beirut, Lebanon, 23 miles, 10:47.00;
1962 - Lake Ohrid, Yugoslavia, 21 miles, 9:27.07;
1963 - Capri, Naples, Italy, 23 miles, (tie) 8:49.35;
1963 - Lake Michigan USA, 60 miles, 34:45.00;
1963 - Toronto (CNE) Ontario, Canada, 15 miles, 7:37.26; 1964 - Capri, Naples, Italy, 23 miles, (tie) 10:43.57;
1964 - Rio Corond,  Argentina, 38 miles, 10:38.50; 1964 - Toronto (CNE) Ontario, Canada, 30 miles, 19:00.00;
1965 - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 10 miles,  5:18.54.2; 1965 - Lac St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, 25 miles, 8:34.35;
1965 - Rio Parana, Argentina, 55 miles, 10:31.41; 1966 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada (30 hr. team race), 251 laps;
1968 - Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, 28 miles, 9:10.00; 1968 - Molson Sprint, 10:44.08;
1968 - Narragansett, Rhode Island, 15 miles, (tie) 8:11.00; 1969 - Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, 28 miles, 10 hr.;
1969 - LaTuque, Quebec, Canada, 24 hr. team swim, 62.5 laps.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Save The Dates: ISHOF Hall of Fame ’20 and ’21 Classes Will be Inducted in Spring and Fall of 2021

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is inviting the entire aquatics community back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 16-17, 2021 to celebrate the belated induction of its Class of 2020 Honorees, Paragon Award winners, and ISHOF recognitions.

“We have secured an agreement with the City of Fort Lauderdale and the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa to host 450 people in the spring of 2021.  We are being very proactive and optimistic that the Coronavirus will be under control,” said Brent Rutemiller – President and CEO for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.  “We have negotiated some exit clauses in our agreement, but for now we encourage everyone to “Save The Dates”!”

Expanding on ISHOF’s 2021 calendar, the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame will be held in conjunction with next year’s 2021 United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on September 24, 2021.  The names of those Honorees will be forthcoming early next year.
Rounding out the 2021 calendar year, ISHOF has secured a fall date to celebrate its International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2021 with an expanded program.  The fall ISHOF induction will return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on October 8-9, 2021.  We are in the early stages of combining our event with other entities and possibly having an official celebration of the renovated aquatic center and construction of 27-meter-high diving tower.

Here Are the International Swimming Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees Now scheduled on April 16-17, 2021:


Rowdy Gaines and Debbie Meyer Confirmed As Induction Event Co-Emcees

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with ISHOF Honoree and Sullivan Award Winner, Debbie Meyer, and double Olympic gold-medalist, ISHOF Honoree, and everyone’s favorite Olympic swimming broadcaster, Rowdy Gaines acting as co-emcees and hosts of the induction.
Rowdy Gaines and Debbie Meyer will co-emcee the 2021 ISHOF Induction Ceremony Photo Courtesy:
Make your plans now!  ISHOF Members can purchase the Complete Weekend Package (see below) and save! (Get info on membership here.) Can’t attend the event? Donate to ISHOF to support our honorees.

Here Are The Paragon and ISHOF Award Recipients That Will Be Honored on April 16th, 2021:

Pentair Logo
The Paragon Awards are part of ISHOF’s 56th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, April 16-17, 2021.  For ticket information visit or call 570 594-4367.  For more information about the Paragon Awards,
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:

ISHOF Specialty Award Recipients:

The Induction Weekend Schedule, Reservations and Ticket Information

Friday, April 16, 2021
Paragon & ISHOF Awards Night
  • 5:30 pm Cocktails
  • 6:30 pm ISHOF and Paragon Awards
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Honoree Induction Day Luncheon – Meet Rowdy Gaines and go on a behind the scenes tour of the Aquatic Complex construction.
  • 11:30-1:00 pm Luncheon
Official 56th International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner
  • 5:30 pm VIP Reception – Ocean Terrace
  • 6:30 –10:00 pm Induction Ceremony & Dinner – Ocean Ballroom

Ticket Information

Questions: contact Meg Keller-Marvin at or 570-594-4367