Saturday, September 26, 2020

Happy Birthday to ISHOF Honor Swimmer Dick Roth!

DICK ROTH (USA)  1987 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1964 gold (400m individual medley); WORLD RECORDS: 2 (400m individual medley); AAU NATIONALS: 11 (200m, 400m individual medley; 1 relay); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 (200yd, 400yd individual medley; 1 relay); AMERICAN RECORDS: 12 (200yd, 400yd, 200m, 400m individual medley; 5 relays).

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics final in the 400 meter individual medley looked like an Army sick call with almost as many doctors as coaches hovering around the swimmers.  Dick Roth, the world record holder, certainly had a good excuse for not swimming.  On the night before the race, Dick had his appendix in ice packs and was told he must have an emergency operation.  "No!" said Roth.  "I'm  not missing the Olympic final no matter what happens."  Former world record holder Gerhard Hetz of Germany had pneumonia, and Roy Saari (USA) had a very heavy cold that was causing him to have a sub par Olympics.  They all swam.  "I forgot my hot appendix during the race," said Roth.  He won the 400 IM setting a new Olympic and world record with Saari second and Hetz third.  The five healthy finalists finishing behind.

Dick Roth's world record lasted four years.  He set seven American records between 1963 and 1967 during a period when the 200 meter individual medley was not recognized as a world record.  This Santa Clara and Stanford swimmer won 12 nationals in his all stroke specialty as well as making the finals in backstroke and swimming on seven national relay winners for coaches George Haines and Jim Gaughran.  His size 13 feet were too big for Japanese shoes and lots of swimmers could beat him at one of the individual strokes, but put the four in the pool together and versatile Dick Roth was King Richard of the I.M. for five years.

Dick Roth at ISHOF Grand Opening with
Esther Williams and Doc Counsilman

Happy Birthday GARY HALL JR. !!!!

 Gary Hall, Jr. (USA) 2013 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (4x100m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle), bronze (4x100m freestyle); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle), silver (4x100m medley); 1995 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle); 2003 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: bronze (50m freestyle); 1995 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (50m freestyle); FIVE U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1-50y freestyle, 1-100y freestyle, 2-50m freestyle, 100m freestyle.

 As a two year old, his dad carried him on to the pool deck of the Montreal Olympic swim stadium. Five years later, he was in Fort Lauderdale to see his dad’s induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Gary Hall, Jr. learned to swim at age three, but didn’t start competitively until he was 16. He grew to be six feet six inches tall, weighing 218 pounds and became known not only for his pre-race antics but for being one of the world’s fastest swimmers.

His Olympic career began in 1996 with two gold medals in the 4x100 meter freestyle and medley relays and two individual silver medals in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle, only .13 seconds behind Russia’s Alexander Popov in the 50 and .07 seconds in the 100.


Then, in March of 1999, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Doctors initially told him that his Olympic career was over. However, after consulting with Dr. Anne Peters Harmel, he resumed training for the Sydney Games in a new way. In addition to checking his insulin levels up to ten times a day, Gary and his Dad started the Race Club, a club concept for elite athletes in 2002. Training under coach Mike Bottom during this time in Islamorada, Florida, Gary went on to tie for the individual gold medal in the 50 meter freestyle with fellow American Anthony Ervin. He also won a bronze in the 100 meter freestyle along with gold and silver medals in the relays.


Four years later at the age of 29, the oldest American Olympic swimmer since Duke Kahanamoku in 1924, he capped off his Olympic career in Athens by standing on top of the 50 meter freestyle podium alone as Olympic champion.


Gary has ten Olympic medals to his name and joins his father as the only father and son duo to each win Olympic medals in three Olympic Games.

Gary’s relaxed ability to accept challenges head-on and conquer them is what won him countless awards and fans. His fans were always on the edge of their seats to see how he would emerge and perform in his next race. By achieving his dreams despite health challenges, he has been a great inspiration to the millions of people living with diabetes and would personally return calls, no matter the hour.

Friday, September 25, 2020

New York Breakers Donate to ISHOF & Join “One in a Thousand Club”


September 2020, 01:30pm

The New York Breakers recently sent a money donation to the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) to join the One in a Thousand Club, which helps keep the Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum.

The One in a Thousand campaign is designed to help the Hall of Fame during the COVID-19 pandemic, by calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment.

The New York Breakers last year partnered with ISHOF to donate a portion of all merchandise sales to the museum. Breaker fans can purchase gear for menwomenkids, and home living.


Regarding the announcement, New York Breakers General Manager, Tina Andrew, announced:

“For me, as I learned more about the Hall of Fame, our vision aligned. We are both very passionate about the sport of swimming. I love what they stand for and are all about – preserving history.

“I believe we are truly investing in the future of the sport and I know ISHOF’s biggest goal is to get more people involved in the sport and educate and celebrate the aquatic athletes that have made it so spectacular. I love everything they stand for so it is a very easy organization to align myself with because our visions, our mission and our goals align.”

The New York Breakers will be participating in the second season of the International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest, Hungary beginning on October 16. The team’s captain is USA’s Michael Andrew, who was the youngest ever swimmer to turn professional at age 14, and also the only swimmer to reach the final of all four 50’s at a single World Championships.

The team is also led by 2019 World Champ Boglarka Kapas of Hungary, who won the 200 butterfly at last year’s championships, and 2019 Worlds silver medalist James Wilby of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 100 breaststroke behind fellow Brit Adam Peaty.

“It feels like we have gone from being idle to being in high gear just in the last week,” Andrew said. “We didn’t quite know if things were going to come together and if they would happen because of COVID but now all of a sudden it is on top of us. It dawned on me yesterday, ‘we’ve got three weeks before we will all be together!’ The excitement that I have and feel from the athletes is indescribable. Most of them have not seen each other or raced and just want life to be back to normal.

“As for the New York Breakers, we had an incredible team last year. With coach Martin, we have put together a spectacular team in my opinion, and even with the changeover we have had recently, I still believe we have not lost any strength so we are super excited to see what we can do.

New York Breakers Notable International Swimmers:

  • Felix Auböck, Austria
  • Boglarka Kapas, Hungary
  • Marco Koch, Germany
  • Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark
  • Pieter Timmers, Belgium
  • Daria Ustinova, Russia
  • Kasia Wasick, Poland
  • James Wilby, Great Britain

Join the New York Breakers by donating to the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.


For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at

Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill Kent – Chairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Happy Birthday Sandra Bucha!!!!


         SANDRA BUCHA (USA) 2014 Honor Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: PROFESSIONAL MARATHON SWIMMING ASSOCIATION WORLD RANKING: 1973 (4th place), 1974 (2nd place); CHICAGO LAKE FRONT RACE: First Place (1973, 1974, 1975); LA TOQUE 24 HOUR RACE: First Place (1974, 1975); LAC ST. JEAN RACE: First Place (1974, 1975); LAVAL, CANADA RACE: First Place; ONE AMERICAN RECORD: 200m freestyle, S.C.M.

Like Annette Kellerman before her, this little girl earned her place in swimming history in the water and in the courtroom.

Sandra Bucha had been a top age grouper in Washington D.C. before her family moved to Illinois. Swimming under coach Don Watson, in Hinsdale, she became an American record holder and national champion. She trained with the boy’s high school team, as there were no high school swim teams for girls in the state of Illinois in the 1960’s; Before her senior year, with the support of her coach and parents, she filed suit against the Illinois High School Association to allow her to compete as a member of the boys team. Although she lost the suit, this was before the passage of the Title IX Amendments to the Civil Rights Act the famous battle of the sexes. It was a sign of things to come.

After just missing making the 1972 Olympic team, she decided to retire from swimming at 18 and focus on academics at Stanford University, which, like Hinsdale, did not have a women’s swimming team.

Returning home in the summer of 1973, Sandra saw an ad for a 10 mile lake swim in Lake Michigan with a prize purse of $5,000 for the winner and cash awards for second and third. She had never swum 10 miles straight before but Sandra thought this might be a good time to try. She trained only a couple of weeks and broke the race record. It was there, at the Lake Michigan swim where she first discovered that there was a professional circuit in Canada for open water swims.

In the nine marathon swims in which Sandra Bucha competed between 1973 and 1975, she finished first in the female events, undefeated in every race. Only once did she come in third to a male and every other swim she finished usually a close second to the first male swimmer. For the two La Toque 24 hour swims, she teamed up with her high school teammate and Hall of Fame Swimmer, John Kinsella, to set a record of 190 laps around the lake, winning the race for two years. She won two Lac St. Jean Races (26 miles) and two Laval Canada Swims (10 miles) and three Lake Michigan Swims (10 miles). Most of her swims were race records with only three males finishing ahead of her in her nine races. She retired in 1975 to pursue a career in law.

Her accomplishments in the water and as a social justice advocate helped pave the way for thousands of girls and women to participate in sports, the acceptance of women in the male dominated sport of marathon swimming and for marathon swimming to become an Olympic sport.

Monday, September 21, 2020

HAROLD "STUBBY" KRUGER was born on this day: September 21st

STUBBY KRUGER  (USA) 1986 Honor Pioneer Swimmer/Diver

As "King of Comedy Diving", Kruger barnstormed with Johnny Weissmuller, making swimming a spectator sport. Their exhibition at the 1924 Olympic Games had so many encores that show exhibitions were banned from future Olympic swimming.  Stubby was also king of the all-around swimming/diving pentathlon, a U.S. National Championship event in which he tied with Weissmuller in 1924 and won outright in 1925.  

Originally out of Hawaii, Stubby won eight AAU National Championships with the Illinois Athletic Club.  Kruger attended St. Mary's College in San Francisco, where he was a national water polo champion and member of six national relay teams. 

He briefly held a world backstroke record, and made two Olympic teams, in the 100 meter backstroke event.   He played on the U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team and was also a very accomplished diver.

He later starred as a comic in the Billy Rose Aquacades before becoming a full time stuntman in the movies.  His career in Hollywood  began in the era of silent films and lasted three decades, into the 1950's. Kruger was stunt double for huge stars like Douglas Fairbanks, and Spencer Tracy, as well as friends Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. He would play supporting roles in films as well.  All told, he was part of at least 20 films.  His last role was stand-in for Spencer Tracy in Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea".

Kruger died at the age of 68 and is buried near Diamond Head in Honolulu.  He was inducted into ISHOF in 1986 and to this day we have a great Stubby Kruger display and it is always a favorite of visitors.

ISHOF Honor Swimmer DICK CLEVELAND would have been 91 Today!

RICHARD CLEVELAND (USA) 1991 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: WORLD RECORDS: 4 (100m, 100yd freestyle; 1 relay); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 8 (100m, 100yd freestyle; 1 relay); 1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (100m freestyle; 2 relays); AMERICAN RECORDS: 10 (100yd, 100m freestyle; 5 relays).

Coach Soichio Sakamoto made a believer out of Dick Cleveland, and Dick Cleveland made a believer out of the swimming world.  Beginning his career in his native Hawaii and culminating at Ohio State University, Cleveland set four world and ten American records during his swimming career which spanned form 1946 to 1955.

At Ohio State, swimming under Hall of Famer Mike Peppe, Cleveland's honors flourished.  Dick set four NCAA titles, three Big Ten Conference titles, and was an AAU First Team All-American six times.

Success seemed to follow Cleveland's every footstep.  At the first Pan American Games held in Argentina in 1951, Dick won three gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle, and the 400 freestyle and medley relays.  At the 1950 USA/Japan dual meet held in Osaka, Dick was a five-time gold medal winner.

Nicknamed "Spoofy," Cleveland pioneered the use of weight training during the "off" season and bulked up his 6' frame from 140 to 195 pounds to reach his peak performance weight.

Dick left a lasting impression on the sprint freestyle event as his 100 meter freestyle world record spanned three years until John Devitt of Australia broke Cleveland's record in 1957.

Dick Cleveland was inducted into ISHOF in 1991.  He came to his induction from the big island of Hawaii with his wife Paulie with a giant smile, bearing chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  They were a wonderful couple, deeply in love and neither he, nor Paulie will ever be forgotten.

Friday, September 18, 2020

ISHOF Honor Coach HOWARD FIRBY would have been 96 today.....

                               HOWARD FIRBY (CAN) 1985 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD:  1946-1985 Canadian Coach; 1964 Olympic Coach; 1958 British Commonwealth Games Coach; 12 World Record holders & 300 Senior Canadian Record holders; 9 International Games Gold Medals; President of the Canadian Swimming Coaches Association (CASA); 1st National Technical Director; 1978 B.C. Sport Hall of Fame; 1979 Canadian Sports Hall of Fame; 1982 Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame; Writer/Illustrator/Lecturer.

Howard Firby was born in Alabama, but he is first, last and always a Canadian.  On his way to becoming a swim coach, he was a World War II pilot with the RCAF, where he studied aerodynamics, later translated to hydrodynamics.  He was a post-war polio patient who occupied his long convalescence by studying his muscle functions.  For all his adult life, he has been a professional artist.  He used this skill to illustrate his teaching as an amateur swim coach for 20 years and, more recently, as a professional coach, writer, illustrator and lecturer around the world (South Africa, Russia, Mexico, Wales, Tokyo, etc.) and into the Canadian hinterland, where he visited 206 grassroots swim clubs as Canada's first Swimming Technical Director.

Thus began the program that produced the current surge in Canadian swim success.  It further established Firby as the world's most prolific innovator of stroke drills for every occasion.  His several best-selling books, visually written and accurately illustrated, are the international legacy of Firby's depth as a technical coach's coach.  As a swimmer's coach, his record is best illustrated by the names and achievements of the people and the teams he has coached.  His twelve World Record holders include superstars Mary Stewart and Elaine Tanner, who made believers of those south of the Canadian border with impressive double wins at the U.S. Nationals.

He started a swim club--The Canadian Dolphins--in Vancouver, B.C., which set team records the equal of Mission Viejo and Santa Clara. Firby swimmers set over 300 Canadian senior records, won more than 100 Canadian championships and 10 International Games gold medals.