Thursday, April 15, 2021

Happy Birthday Dara Torres !!!

Dara Torres (USA) 2016 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100 m freestyle); 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (4×100 m medley), bronze (4×100 m freestyle); 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100 m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100 m freestyle, 4×100 m medley), bronze (50 m freestyle, 100 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly); 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (50 m freestyle, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×100 m medley); 1986WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): silver (4×100 m freestyle); 1987 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100 m freestyle, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×100 m medley); 1983 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (4×100 m freestyle); SIX WORLD RECORDS: three individual (50m free), three relays (4x100m free, 4x100m medley)

Dara Grace Torres grew up in Beverly Hills, California, where she learned to swim in her family’s backyard pool. At the age of seven, she followed her brothers to swim practice at the local YMCA. During her junior year of high school, Torres moved to Mission Viejo, CA, to train with Hall of Fame Coach Mark Schubert, and in 1983 she broke the world record in the 50-meter freestyle. The next year, while not yet a senior in high school, she won her first Olympic gold medal as a member of the USA’s 4x100 freestyle relay team.

Swimming for Randy Reece at the University of Florida, Torres earned 28 NCAA All-American swimming awards and at the 1988 Olympic Games, she won two silver medals swimming on relays. She finished her collegiate athletic career playing volleyball and took two years off before returning to win her second Olympic relay gold medal in Barcelona, Spain during the summer of 1992.

After 1992, Torres lived what appeared to be a glamorous life. She moved to New York City, worked in television, and as a Wilhelmina model she became the first athlete model in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Then in the spring of 1999, despite not having trained in a pool for seven years, she decided to give the Olympics one more try.

Training with coach Richard Quick in Palo Alto and Santa Clara, Dara made the Olympic team for the fourth time, at the age of 33. She returned home with five medals, more than any other member of the team, including three in individual events, and retired.

In 2005, while pregnant with her first child, Dara began swimming three or four times a week at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, to keep fit. After giving birth to her daughter, Tessa Grace, in April 2006, she entered two Masters meets and posted times that emboldened her to try another comeback. She asked Coral Springs coach Michael Lohberg if he would coach her, and a little over a year later, she won the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Three days later, she broke the American record in the 50-meter freestyle for the tenth time - an amazing 24 years after setting it for the very first time. In 2008, Dara qualified for her fifth Olympic team and at the 2008 Beijing Games, she became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics. Dara returned home with three silver medals, including the heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the gold by 1/100th of a second.

In 2009, Dara won the ESPY award for “Best Comeback,” was named one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated magazine and became a best selling author with the release of her inspirational memoir, Age is Just a Number.

Dara continued swimming after recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and with the encouragement of coach Lohberg, she set her sights on making a record sixth U.S. Olympic swim team. When she just missed making the London Olympics by nine-hundredths of a second in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2012 US Swimming Olympic Trials, she announced her retirement with a smile on her face and her six-year old daughter Tessa in her arms.

Olympian, television personality, fitness guru, Queen of the Comeback, best-selling author and mother. Dara Torres is many things to many people, but above all, she is an inspiration.

Happy Birthday Enith Brigitha !!!

Enith Brigitha (NED) 2015 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1972 OLYMPIC GAMES: 8th (100m freestyle), 6th (100m backstroke), 6th (200m backstroke), 5th (4x100m freestyle); 1976 OLYMPIC GAMES: bronze (100m freestyle), bronze (200m freestyle), 4th (4x100m freestyle relay), 5th (4x100 medley relay), 10th (100m backstroke); FIVE SHORT COURSE WORLD RECORDS: 2 (100m freestyle), 2 (200m freestyle), 1 (400m freestyle); 1973 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (100m freestyle); silver (200m backstroke); 1975 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle); 1974 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (100m freestyle, 100m backstroke), silver (200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle); 1977 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle).

Enith Brigitha was born on the West Indian Island of Curacao, where she first learned to swim in the Caribbean Sea. By the time she moved to Holland with her mother and brother in 1970, she had become the island’s most promising swimmer.

Two years later, swimming for Coach Willie Storm at the Club Het Y in Amsterdam, Enith qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and reached the final in four events, and this was just the start of her success. At the 1973 inaugural FINA World Championships in Belgrade, she claimed a silver medal in the 200 meter backstroke and a bronze medal in the 100 meter freestyle. At the 1974 European Championships she won five medals, including four individual medals for the 100 and 200 meter freestyle and backstroke events. In 1975, at the II FINA World Championships in Cali, Columbia, she added three bronze medals to her collection, including individual pieces of hardware in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle.

At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, she earned individual bronze medals in both the 100 and 200 meter freestyle, and at the 1977 European Championships, she won a silver medal in the 100 meter freestyle.

Enith was a genuine superstar in an era dominated by women swimmers from the German Democratic Republic. All told, she set five short course world records and collected 21 Dutch titles in the freestyle, backstroke, medley and butterfly events. She won the Dutch 100 meter freestyle title seven years in a row, was twice named Dutch Sportswoman of the Year - and has the distinction of being the first person of African descent to win Olympic medals in swimming.

Still, her accomplishments have for too long been diminished by the dazzling success of the East Germans. Of the 11 individual medals Enith won at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships - only East German swimmers finished ahead of her in 10 of those events, the one exception being America’s Shirley Babashoff, in the 200 meter freestyle at Munich.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dr. Werner Franke and his wife Brigitte Berendonk, discovered files from the Stasi – the East German secret police – documenting the fact that all of the East German swimmers who finished ahead of Enith Brigitha had been systematically doped, without the knowledge or consent of them or their parents, as a matter of national policy. To the GDR’s rulers, these young athletes were nothing more than pawns in a global chess game, sacrificial lambs on the altar of East German ideology. Had the world known this at the time, the steroid and testosterone enhanced performances of the GDR’s athletes would have resulted in their disqualification, and Enith’s record would be even more stellar than it is. She also would be recognized today as the first black Olympic champion in swimming history, beating Anthony Nesty of Suriname to the top of the podium by 12 years.

There’s more to life than just swimming, of course. After hanging up her swimsuit and retiring from the sport, Enith married and had three daughters. She moved back to Curacao, where she opened her own swimming school and taught children to swim. Once her daughters were ready to go to University, the family moved back to Holland, where they remain today. Enith says, “With the girls in Holland and with our three grandchildren, it’s not so easy to leave Holland again.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

1998 ISHOF Honor Swimmer, Anthony Nesty assumes Head Coaching duties of both Men and Women at the University of Florida, when UF Women's coach departs......

Anthony Nesty adds women’s head coaching duties after three successful seasons as the head coach of the men’s team, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin announced on Tuesday.

The men’s program has won the Southeastern Conference championship all three seasons under Nesty and finished third at the 2021 NCAA Championships. With Nesty helping lead the way, the men’s team has won nine straight SEC titles.

anthony-nesty

Anthony Nesty. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Nesty, who swam at Florida and was a gold medalist in the 1988 Olympics, has been on staff with the Florida swimming and diving program since joining as an assistant coach in 1999. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2006 and stepped in as men’s head coach in 2018 following the retirement of Gregg Troy.

“Anthony has proven himself to be an elite head coach with his success, and I know he’ll bring the same passion and abilities to overseeing Florida women’s program as he has the men’s,” Stricklin said. “He has a long and proven track record of bringing out the best in Gator student-athletes and helping them reach their potential athletically, academically and as people. He is the right person to lead our women’s team and push them to achieve at the highest levels.”

“I am honored and excited to be entrusted with the women’s swimming and diving program,” Anthony Nesty said. “The men’s and women’s teams have worked closely throughout my time at Florida, and I appreciate the opportunity to lead both programs. We will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards and push ourselves to be excellent in everything we do.”

The women’s team finished second at the SEC Championships and 17th at NCAA Championships in 2021.

Jeff Poppell, UF’s women’s head coach from 2018-21, moved on to South Carolina where he had the opportunity to lead both the men’s and women’s programs for the Gamecocks.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Florida Swimming & Diving. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

On this day in 1931, the great Canadian Open Water Swimmer, Cliff Lumsdon was born......

Cliff Lumsdon (CAN) 2013 Honor Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: FIVE-TIME WORLD PROFESSIONAL MARATHON CHAMPION: 1949-1954; ATLANTIC CITY 22 MILE (35.2K) PROFESSIONAL SWIM: 1st (‘56, ‘59), 2nd (‘54, ‘55, ‘58, ‘60, ‘62), 3rd (‘61), 4th (‘63, ‘64); 10 MILE CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION (CNE) PROFESSIONAL SWIMS: 1st (‘49, ‘50, ‘52, ‘53), 3rd (‘51), 5th (‘48); 1955 32 MILE CNE SWIM RACE: Only Finisher in Field of 35 Swimmers; CROSSING OF STRAIGHTS OF JUAN DE FUCA: 1956.

Perhaps it was something in the water that drew him to it. At the young age of 16, he turned professional, becoming one of the world’s greatest professional marathon swimmers in the world.

At 18, he won the World Marathon Championship, his first of four wins in the Canadian National Exposition (CNE), beating 46 other world class competitors in this 15 mile Lake Ontario race. That same year he received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s outstanding athlete of the year. Swimming for the Lake Shore Swim Club and coached by the famed Gus Ryder, he made over $150,000.00 in prize money from 1949 to 1967, a consistent winner of marathon races.

He was known for his ability to swim in cold water, once going 32 miles in 18 hours with water temperatures ranging between 48 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, the only finisher in the 1955 Lake Ontario CNE Swim. In 1956, he swam 11 hours 35 minutes crossing the Straits of Juan de Fuca between Washington State and Vancouver Island, where the water temperature is 48 degrees.

Between 1949 and 1954, Cliff Lumsdon was the undisputed world professional marathon swimming champion, winning a total of five Marathon World Championships. From 1954 to 1964, he swam ten 23 mile swims around Atlantic City, finishing first or second in most of them. His swimming created a big chested, burly man who was well liked by everyone.

His wife Joan said that he hated to swim alone – he loved to race. He trained in the Credit River with his close friend Marilyn Bell, the first swimmer to cross Lake Ontario.

As a 30 year employee of the City of Etobicoke Recreation Department, he taught thousands of children to swim, including his daughter Kim, who swam across Lake Ontario herself in 1976.

He died young at age 60, but is remembered as a fierce, hard-to-beat competitor, yet a stellar human being and a gentle man.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Happy Birthday Masako Kaneko !!!

                                                          


Masako Kaneko 2015 Honor Synchronized Swimming Coach

FOR THE RECORD: 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: Synchro Team Leader; 1988, 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: Synchro Head Coach; 1996, 2000, 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: Synchro Team Leader; 1978, 1986, 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Synchro Head Coach; 1994, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Synchro Team Leader; 1979, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993 WORLD CUP: Synchro Head Coach; 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2006 WORLD CUP: Synchro Team Leader; 1980, 1982, 1985, 1991, 1993 PAN PACIFIC GAMES: Synchro Head Coach; COACH OF SWIMMERS WINNING: OLYMPIC GAMES – 2 silver, 6 bronze, WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1 gold, 8 silver, 14 bronze, WORLD CUP – 9 silver, 16 bronze, PAN PACIFIC GAMES: 2 gold, 3 silver, 13 bronze.

Masako Kaneko was born in Tokyo, Japan on April 17, 1944 and has contributed as both a swimmer and coach since the beginning of synchronized swimming in Japan.

Masako began her synchronized swimming career with the Tokyo Synchro Club in 1959. After graduating from Tokyo Kasei Gakuin University in 1967, she stopped swimming for the club and became its coach. By 1982 Masako was the National Team Coach and Director. From that time to the present, she has coached or been the team leader of almost every competition in which Japan has competed, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships.

Masako’s first overseas trip was to Santa Clara, California in 1972, as the Japanese National Coach. In 1979 she was selected as the Japanese Synchronized Performance Director. She was the team leader for the 1984 Olympic Games, in Los Angeles, and again in 1988, Seoul and Barcelona, in 1992. She was head coach in Atlanta in 1996, and at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games she served on the delegation of the Japanese Olympic Committee. She was team leader again for the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

As a coach, she has developed her swimmers from beginner to Olympic levels and is the only person to have coached swimmers to medals in every Olympic Games from 1984 (Synchronized Swimming’s first Olympics) to 2004 and has had medal winners in every World Championships from 1978 to 2007 (with the exception of 1982). Her swimmers include Hall of Famer Mikako Kotani, Junko Hasumi (solo bronze-1978 World Championship), Yuki Ishii (solo bronze-1979 World Cup), Miyako Tanaka and Megumi Itho (duet bronze-1988 Olympics, Tanaka/Kotani), Fumiko Okuno and Aki Takayama (duet bronze-1992 Olympics), Fujii, Fujiki, Jinbo, Kawabe, Kawase, Nakajima, Tachibana, Takeda, Tanaka (team bronze-1996 Olympics),Jinbo, Egami, Fujii, Isoda, Tachibana, Takeda, Yoneda, Yoneda, Tatsumi (team silver-2000 Olympics), Fujimaru, Suzuki, Kitao, Tachibana, Takeda, Tatsumi, Harada, Yoneda (silver team-2004 Olympics).

In 1996, Masako became the first female Director of the Japan Swimming Federation and is held in very high esteem. 

For her contributions to the sport, she has earned many awards including the Women’s Sports Order from the International Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Education’s Sports Achievement Award, Citizen’s Cultural Award and the Avon Award.

Although she retired as the Synchronized Swimming Chairperson in 2009, she continues to teach at the Tokyo Synchronized Swimming Club where she is a club director and serves as a supervisor for the Japanese Swimming

Federation. She is also a visiting professor at the Women’s College of Home Economics.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

One hundred and fourteen years ago, Honor Diver, Pete desjardins was born.......

PETE DESJARDINS (USA) 1966 Honor Diver

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1924 silver (springboard), 6th (plain high diving); 1928 gold (springboard, platform); NATIONAL AAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3m springboard, 10m springboard, plain high diving; After turning professional, he was star performer for Billy Rose's World's Fair Aquacades; produced his own Water Shows.

Billed as "The Little Bronze Statue from the Land of Real Estate, Grapefruit and Alligators", Pete Desjardins, 16, representing the Roman Pools, Miami Beach, Florida, arrived in Chicago for the 1924 Indoor AAU Swimming & Diving Championships.  He placed second to Al White in the 3 meter dive.  Pete took second to White again at the Olympic Tryouts, and again in the Paris Olympics.

At the 1925 Outdoor Senior National AAU Championships, Desjardins won 3 First Places in the diving events -- the 3 meter Springboard, the 10 meter Platform and for the first time ever held in America, the National Plain High Diving Contest consisting of four swan dives, two from the 5 meter and two from the 10 meter levels.  This type of contest was a European idea which the AAU held in 1925 and 1927.  Desjardins won both of these titles, and this new event enabled him to tie Johnny Weissmuller for the high point trophies with 3 wins each.

In between, the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial was host for the 1926 Outdoor Nationals where Pete successfully defended both  his 3 meter and 10 meter titles.  He won nine Senior National titles while still a Miami High School student.  Stanford's Ernst Brandsten put the finishing touches to Pete Desjardins' diving, which resulted in the highest scoring ever by a diver in the Olympic Games.  In the 1928 Olympics springboard event, Pete received all 10s as a perfect score in two of his dives, the half-gainer and the gainer 1 1/2.  He received four 10s and a 9 in his back dive.  His average for the 10 dives was 9.2.

In the 10 meter event, Desjardins was closely contested by Farid Simaika of Egypt, who had learned all of his diving while a student at UCLA.  The method of scoring at that time was such that at first it was announced that Simaika had won the 10 meter event.  While the Egyptian's national anthem was being played, it was abruptly interrupted with due apologies to the Egyptian officials who announced that an error had been made and that Desjardins had won first place from four out of five judges.

Pete Desjardins shares two titles, most U.S. Diving Nationals--13 (with Helen Meany) and a grand slam of all available diving crowns in one year (with Earl Clark).

After the 1928 Olympics, Desjardins was declared pro for appearing in Miami water shows along with Johnny Weissmuller, Martha Norelius and Helen Meany.  This ended his chance to continue his diving dominance possibly through the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games, since he was still taking on all comers in the Billy Rose Aquacades of the late 1930's and was still featured in diving shows in to the 1960s.

On this day in 1945, Aussie Swimmer Kevin Berry was born!!!

KEVIN BERRY (AUS) 1980 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1964 gold (200m butterfly), bronze 9medley relay); WORLD RECORDS: 12 (200m, 110yd, 220yd butterfly); NATIONAL AAU: 1 (relay); COMMONWEALTH GAMES: 1962 gold (200m, 200m butterfly; relay); AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 6 (100m, 200m butterfly); AMERICAN RECORDS: 1 (100m butterfly).

Australian press photographer Kevin Berry likes to take action pictures of swimmers.  He has been at home (and abroad) on both sides of the camera but he still has a way to go before his medal count for winning photography reaches that he set as an Olympic gold medal and world record holding swimmer.  Berry was a specialist in the finest sense. His 12 World Records, 2 Olympic medals (one gold and one bronze in Tokyo), 3 Commonwealth gold medals (Perth), 6 Australian Championships, and one American record were all in the butterfly stroke (24).  He was finishing Indiana University the year before Mark Spitz started.  Berry's longest world record, the 200 meter butterfly set against Carl Robie in winning the Olympic title at Tokyo (1964), lasted a remarkable three years until broken in 1967 by (you guessed it) Mark Spitz.  Berry's coaches were Don Talbot and "Doc" Counsilman.