Sunday, July 14, 2019

Willard “Wink” Lamb added to 2019 Masters Hall of Fame Induction

The Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame (MISHOF), is pleased to announce the addition of Willard “Wink” Lamb (USA) to the class of 2019 Honorees.  Lamb will be part of a group of nine (9) outstanding individuals who be inducted on Friday evening, September 13th, 2019, beginning with a cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 7:00 p.m.  
This year’s event will be held at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, in conjunction with the 2019 United States Aquatic Sports Convention. The prestigious MISHOF class of 2019 includes five swimmers, one diver, one synchronized (artistic) swimmer, one water polo player and one contributor, from five (5) different countries.  The countries include, the USA, Lithuania, Canada, Brazil and Japan.  The event will be hosted by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and is open to the public and free of charge.
In high school, Willard “Wink” Lamb set a Washington state record in the 220-yard freestyle. The event was discontinued a few years later, so that’s one record he knows will never be broken.
A few of the Masters world records he has set recently might also stand the test of time. Lamb set 17 world records in 2017 (11 events) in the 95-99 age group. In long course, he broke every freestyle and backstroke record.   For the 50-100-200 back, he set Masters standards for his age group of 58.63 and was the first 95-99-year-old to break a minute. In short course, he added records in the 100 and 400 free.
Between high school and his return to Masters swimming, Lamb was out of the pool most of his life. It wasn’t until he retired in 2002, that he returned to swimming and didn’t begin competing until he was 83 years old, in 2006!!!
Since then, he has never stopped, and if he stays healthy, he has no plans to do so. He will even keep swimming the 1500 free. “I swim a mile every day, so you kind of keep in shape for distance,” Lamb said. “I figure, swimming a mile, I might as well enter the 1500.”
Willard has swum in four age groups (80-84 through 95-99) and has set 58 FINA world records, 26 Long Course and 32 Short Course.  His world records are mostly in the Freestyle, and Backstroke but has set a few in the I.M.  He has been named to the Top Ten 26 times.
The purpose of the MISHOF is to promote a healthy lifestyle, lifelong fitness, and participation in adult aquatic programs. MISHOF recognizes the achievements of individuals who have participated in Masters programs through at least four different masters age groups.  Most must pre-qualify by an objective point system based on world records performances, world top 10 rankings and World Championship performances.  The MISHOF is a division of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, please visit:
The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. (ISHOF), established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.  It was first recognized by FINA, the International Olympic Committee’s recognized governing body for the aquatic sports, in 1968.  ISHOF’s mission is to collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate history, showcase events, share cultures, and increase participation in aquatic sports.
For more information, call Meg-Keller-Marvin at 570 594-4367 or e-mail: or visit

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

An interesting foreshadowing?

In June, 1969, Swimming World and Junior Swimmer published an issue that was dedicated to the Swimming Hall of Fame.  It is interesting to see this old photo of the Hall of Fame and way it used to be.  A beautiful new aquatic complex placed right on Fort Lauderdale Beach in the center of it all!  Fort Lauderdale was still a relatively young city with a small town feel.  Who knew that when Swimming World published their Swimming Hall of Fame Issue, back in 1969, that ISHOF and Swimming World would one day join forces almost 50 years later?

How many remember when it looked like this?  I do! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

ISHOF Construction Updates - Moving Right Along

Renovation update – The renovation at the ISHOF Aquatic Complex is moving along!!!

Since the complex has closed, the (City of Fort Lauderdale) pool staff and the Swim Fort Lauderdale (swim team staff) have moved into the ISHOF offices in the original museum (back building) and we are all living together. Everyone is getting along great in our rather “close quarters”.  The worst part is having no parking!

Fortunately, Summer is typically a slow time around ISHOF so it makes things a bit easier to begin our closure now.  The ISHOF gift shop, in the front building, (on Seabreeze Blvd.) however, is OPEN DAILY.  Our online gift shop / swim store is also available 24/7 for you to purchase all your favorite items, so please remember us when you need to buy anything from swim suits, to caps, goggles, fins, ISHOF apparel  and gifts for that favorite swimmer! We carry most everything!  Visit us at:

Renovation updates:   the pools are empty, the bleachers have been removed, fences are down, the filtration systems have been dismantled, and metal is getting recycled…….

EXCITING NEWS:  We now have a dedicated website with a time lapse video of the ISHOF renovation project for you to follow along.  The cameras were recently installed and the website is still a work in progress but feel free to visit it and visit often so you can see in real time what is happening at YOUR Hall of Fame!!!! 
Go to:

Laura Voet,  Manager of the Aquatic Complex says that there is a time lapse photo - every ten minutes.  There may be a palm frond in the way of one of the cameras, if so, it will be moved very soon. 

In addition to the time lapse video website, there is a website with a power point presentation that has been shown in neighborhoods around Fort Lauderdale to explain the project and answer questions.   It too is a work in progress as there are some things that need to be updated.  As soon as it is complete, we will share the website with you…….STAY TUNED!

The Pool staff and Swim Fort Lauderdale are working at keeping things as normal as possible for their swimmers.  Practices are held at many different pools around the City.  You can visit their website for more information.  

The weekend of June 21-23. 2019, SFL hosted the annual Age Group Invitational, at Nova Southeastern University.  The invitational was a bit smaller than normal due to the size of the pool, and due to the fact that it was at another location. The good news is the Invitational was held in true Summer swimming tradition. There were many teams that attended,  ISHOF friend and long-time supporter, Mike Leonard, brought his team from the Powell Crosby YMCA (Ohio), and there were numerous international teams, some from Peru and Argentina.

The ISHOF front building is getting a new roof.  The workers started several weeks ago and are busy up top every day hammering away.  It  has been a long time coming and we are very excited and grateful!  Thank you City of Fort Lauderdale and to the brave workers who are high above Seabreeze!

Last week workers spent a lot of time carefully digging around the famous swimmer statue that sits between the dive well and the museum building.  The swimmer statue is probably the most famous artifact on the complex and has been the site of thousands and thousands of team photo shoots!  We want to keep it and preserve it because it is the one thing everyone asks about.  We are going to move it during the construction and have it refurbished.  Just not sure where on the complex it will end up.  It is so very large, it is just going to have to depend on where it fits and what makes the most sense, but rest assured, you'll see it in 2020 when the construction is completed!


Test Piles - mobilization begins
Relocation Swimmer Statue
Dismantle Canopy over Teaching Pool, place in Storage
Awaiting FPL, and final demolition permit approvals

ISHOF Honor Coach, Gus Stager dies at 92

Former Olympic and University of Michigan Coach Gus Stager died on Saturday at age 92.

by Daniel D'Addona
“The entire Michigan swimming and diving community sends its condolences to the family of former head coach Gus Stager, who passed away on Saturday,” the University said in a statement.
Photo Courtesy: ISHOF
Stager was an All-American swimmer for Michigan (1947-50) served as head coach for 26 years (1954-79, 1982). He led the Wolverines to four NCAA championships (1957-59, 1961). Stager was head coach of the 1959 Michigan team that is still regarded as “the best team of all-time.” The story on Stager’s 1959 Wolverines can be read in the May 2019 issue of Swimming World.
He also served as head coach for the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1960 Games in Rome. In 1982, Stager was enshrined in both the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the U-M Athletics Hall of Honor.

Gus Stager’s ISHOF bio:

From 1923 until 1978, the University of Michigan had only two swim coaches: Matt Mann and Gus Stager, both Hall of Famers. Matt’s coaching philosophy included the premise “always follow a punker”. Gus Stager, an outstanding middle distance freestyler under Matt, chose to ignore this advice when he took over the Michigan reigns from the world’s most successful coach in 1953. All he did to contradict his otherwise eloquent master was win four NCAA team titles, win the 1960 Rome Olympics over a favored Australian team that had totally dominated in 1956, and won the Pan American Games in 1967. Stager completed his hat trick by coaching the U.S. team to victory in the first World Championships at Belgrade in 1973. In 25 years as Michigan head coach, Gus’ teams finished first or second in the Big Ten 23 times. His 1959 college team was perhaps the most overwhelming in NCAA history, out-scoring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams combined.
After prepping at Newark Academy, Gus was a 3-time NCAA finalist as a swimmer. His coaching career began at Dearborn, Michigan High School where he won a mythical National Championship and the State Crown 3 times in four years before going to Michigan. His retirement after the 1978 season at Michigan was interrupted by another year of interim coaching in 1981-92. Stager’s many great swimmers included Olympians Carl Robie, Dave Gillanders, Dick Hanley, Bill Farley, the Wardrop twins and Juan Bello. NCAA high point winner Tony Tashnikheads an impressive list of national champions including Fritz Myers, Cy Hopkins, Breezy Nelson, Ron Clark, Frank Legacki, and many more. On the lighter side, Gus the competitor beat all of his swimmers at walking on the bottom of the pool and jousting from over-turned starting blocks. He is proudest of his part in key rule changes such as the no-touch turn, electronic judging and adding the thousand and the second diving event to the NCAA dual meet program.

2019 ISHOF Honoree MARCY MACDONALD Swims English Channel for 17th Time!

2019 ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer, Marcy MacDonald completed her 17th crossing of the English Channel on Saturday, July 6th, 2019, on the 25th anniversary of her very first crossing.  The following is a note Marcy sent out to family, friends and well-wishers the day after her swim!

The English Channel

Marcy swimming at night 

"Greetings from Dover, enjoying a day by the sea with a few muscle aches after yesterday and I'm over the multiple jellyfish ZAPS, but I am happy to say I will be able to swim another day... next stop is in Bridgeport, CT for the Swim Across the Sound. I'll be doing a 2-person relay with my childhood team mate, Geoffrey Michaud, both of us grew up on the Manchester Rec Swim team... great memories, we'll talk about that next week.

THANK YOU for all your kind words of encouragement and congratulations  messages. The English Channel is NEVER an easy swim, and I had to pull out a multitude of tricks from my experience vault and prayers to get through it, I was a hurting puppy.

Marcy wearing ISHOF Cap!!!
Yesterday, the planets were aligned perfectly and the greek gods Aeolus, the keeper of the winds, were smiling down on us... and Poseidon may have not seen I was in the sea (experiences from the past).  We had fantastic conditions and landed under the cliffs of Cape Gris Nez, France, 12 hours, 34 minutes, a pretty good time for a senior swimmer on the high spring tide...even though it felt like 15 hours.

This is a TEAM event, MANY Thanks for my TEAM:  Janet (Jmg Fish) keeps me fed and looks over me, trying to keep me entertained or at least smiling through the tough patches.  Dave Chisholm  was her 'to go to man' pictures, heating water... and finally a safety escort to the rocks, so SPECIAL, because on his crossing in 2008, I had the pleasure to be his Observer and escort him to the beach.

Then there is the boat team, so important, it certainly takes a special breed of person with patience to guide a swimmer across the Straits, my pilot, Michael Oram plotted out a perfect course for me the reach my original Boulder that I landed at 25 years ago, but I just wasn't strong enough to get past the Cape, so that is why we landed on the north side of the Cape (the tide had changed and blew me north.)
Tanya Harding and Mike Ball sat patiently at the wheel, watching and guiding me safely across Le Manche for a 17th time, THANK YOU.

Marcy reaches France!
My advice to all the aspiring swimmers......Be Patient,  you will get there and the discomfort, even misery will be temporary and 24 hours later, you will probably forget all about those parts and remember the SUCCESS.

There are some pictures from yesterday and I will be posting more when I finish organizing them... on my blog "

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Please follows Marcy MacDonald and her swims on her blogspot, shown above, or visit to read her bio or see her induction video and acceptance speech:  

Friday, July 5, 2019

ISHOF Honoree Eldon Godfrey receives Canada's Highest Honor

                   Order of Canada presented to Honoree Eldon C. Godfrey

2012 ISHOF Honor Contributor, Eldon Godfrey recently received the Order of Canada.  One June 27, 2019, her Excellency, the Right Hounourable Julie Rayette, Governor General of Canada, announced it's new appointments to the Order of Canada.  The new members list included 21 Officers (O.C.), of which Godfrey was one.  Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

     About the Order of Canada 

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada is one of Canada's highest honours. Presented by the Governor General, the Order honours people whose service shapes their society, whose innovations ignite the imagination, and whose compassion unites their communities.

Close to 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order of Canada.  Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order "DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM" ("They desire a better country").  The striking six-point white enamel insignia they wear symbolizes their northern heritage and their diversity, because no two snowflakes are alike.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.  For more information about the Order of Canada or to nominate, visit:

Congratulations Eldon!

How an American Swimmer Melted the Ice of the Cold War

In 1987, Lynne Cox convinced Mikhail Gorbachev to let her swim across the Bering Strait between the U.S.A. and the USSR. In doing so, she demonstrated to both superpowers how close their people really were, and helped to thaw Cold War relations.

The U.S. – Soviet Border

In the middle of the Bering Strait, the border between the Diomede Islands - Soviet Big Diomede and U.S. Little Diomede - was known as the “ice curtain”. This is the only border the U.S. shares with Russia. This border is also the International Date Line so Lynne’s swim was truly a journey in to the future.

Before a shift in Soviet and U.S. policy in 1948, indigenous Inupiat tribes had been hunting, fishing, and moving between these islands for thousands of years. But as Cold War tensions rose, native people were stripped of their lands, traditions, and the friendships they had made across the border, as Big Diomede was turned into a Soviet military reservation.

About Lynne Cox

In 1971, at the age of 14, Lynne Cox swam across the Catalina Channel, and at 15 and 16, she made record-breaking swims across the English Channel, each time breaking both men’s and women’s records for swimming from England to France. In 1975, Lynne became the first woman to cross the Cook Strait, between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The next year she became the first person to swim the Strait of Magellan, and the first to swim around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. It was after these swims that she envisioned swimming across the Bering Strait, from Little Diomede, Alaska, U.S.A.  to Big Diomede, Siberia, USSR. But first, Lynne had to secure special permission from the Soviet government. Over the course of 11 years, she wrote to four different Soviet leaders: Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Her only response came from the latter. Approval from President Gorbachev was received only one day before Lynne was planning to swim.

The Swim

On August 7, 1987, thirty-year-old Lynne jumped into the icy water off Alaska’s Little Diomede wearing swimsuit, cap, and goggles, and swam toward the Soviet border. In addition to making athletic history, her swim was dedicated to scientific purposes - so that a research team could examine her body’s reaction to cold water.

At the midway point, a 20-foot Soviet vessel joined her escort boats. Although the distance was only 2.7 miles, due to the strong current Lynne had to swim over five miles for two hours and six minutes to reach the Soviet Union. Her hands turned grey and her limbs stiffened in the 38-degree water. Not only was she the first person to accomplish this daring feat, she also succeeded in bringing the Soviets and Americans closer together.

The Reception

When she reached shore, Lynne was warmly greeted by about 30 Russians including regional government officials, members of the KGB, and Soviet Olympic athletes. They escorted her to a platform where a picnic had been prepared, with samovars of tea and biscuits, and presented her with flowers and a pair of handmade slippers. As Lynne answered journalists’ questions she started cooling down and was about to go into hypothermia when a Soviet doctor, Rita Zakharova, led her into a charcoal-heated tent and covered her with hot water bottles and a sleeping bag. Then, remarkably, the doctor embraced Lynne to warm her. “To have this human contact,” said Lynne in an interview with the BBC, “after so many years growing up afraid of the Soviets - and here was this person basically warming me up to get me back to life again.” As a special surprise, the Soviets invited Inupiat natives to the gathering where they sang folk songs as Lynne recovered.
   The Seal Skin Slippers
When Lynne was presented with the slippers, an interpreter explained that they were made from seal skins and had been hand sewn for her by an Inupiat woman whose family had lived on Big Diomede Island, USSR, until they were removed by the Soviets and relocated to the Siberian mainland. She had gone to the trouble to learn Lynne’s shoe size and they fit perfectly. “While the slippers were warm,” Lynne says, “they were extremely slippery, making it difficult to walk on the icy rocks and snow to the warming tent.”

                            The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty    
Four months after her historic feat, the U.S. and the USSR reached an agreement to eliminate their short and intermediate-range missiles. During the ceremony at the White House in Washington, Gorbachev led everybody in lifting their glasses for a toast:

“Last summer it took one brave American by the name of Lynne Cox just two hours to swim from one of our countries to the other. We saw on television how sincere and friendly the meeting was between our people and the Americans when she stepped onto Soviet shore. She proved by her courage how close to each other our peoples live.

World-renowned Swimmer Lynne Cox arrives at the 2003 Glamour "Women of the Year" Awards at the American Museum of Natural History, Nov. 10, 2003 in New York City.  AFP

Not only is Lynne an accomplished open water swimmer, she is a New York Times bestselling author and highly-regarded motivational speaker. She has called her Bering Strait swim- “the most significant experience of her life.”