Florida ranks fourth in the nation for unintentional drowning deaths, including swimming and boating-related incidents.
On Friday, October 8, swimming and pool industry leaders from the Pool & Hot Tub Foundation (PHTF), the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA) and the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced a joint partnership to help combat drowning in the state. The one-year agreement between the three organizations marks a pivotal collaboration to further promote swimming education and share available resources providing free or reduced cost swimming lessons in Florida communities.
As part of the collaboration, the organizations will work together to advance water safety and support each organization’s respective swim education initiatives—Step Into SwimTM (PHTF), Florida Swims Foundation (FSPA) and Every Child A Swimmer (ISHOF), which all strive to empower people around the water and decrease drowning, particularly with small children who are at an increased risk.
Olympian and three-time gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines, is leading the Step Into Swim initiative on behalf of PHTF.
“Drowning is largely preventable and it pains me to see drowning rates increase in the U.S. and for my home state of Florida to be high on that list. This trifecta of support from leading organizations will give Floridian families and communities access to critical water safety skills,” said Gaines, Vice President of Partnerships and Development for PHTA. “By teaching our youth the lifesaving gift of learning to swim, we can make a real, lasting impact and instill confidence in people as they take to the water.”
“The partnership couldn’t come at a better time as the International Swimming Hall of Fame is building upon the momentum from Florida’s Every Child A Swimmer bill, which requires schools to inform parents on the importance of teaching their children how to swim,” said Bill Kent, Chairman of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. “The more we all advocate for safe water practices, the bigger impact we’ll continue to have.”
The joint partnership kicks off in October with a formal signing ceremony on Friday, October 8. As part of the agreement, the Florida Swimming Pool Association will become a founding member of the partnership established by PHTA’s Step Into Swim and ISHOF’s Every Child A Swimmer programs in the summer of 2021.
Maurice Bushroe, Sabeena Hickman, Bill Kent
“We are proud to partner with reputable organizations like the Pool & Hot Tub Foundation and Inte
rnational Swimming Hall of Fame, who have provided learn-to-swim programming to hundreds of thousands of children across the country,” said FSPA President Maurice Bushroe. “We will all work tirelessly, launching efforts right here in Florida to provide important swim education that makes a difference in the lives of our residents and their families.”
About Pool & Hot Tub Foundation and Step Into Swim: The Pool & Hot Tub Foundation (PHTF) is a 501(c)(3) that is governed by the Pool & Hot Tub Association. PHTF provides education to the pool & hot tub industry and is the fundraising and philanthropic arm for PHTA supported programs.
Step Into SwimTM is an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance committed to safe swim education and drowning prevention. By investing in the next generation of swimmers through learn-to-swim programming, the Step Into Swim initiative instills confidence, empowers long-term participation in water activities, touts the positive benefits of water play, and advocates for safe practices. Since its inception in 2012, Step Into Swim has played a role in reducing drowning fatalities and has gifted swim lessons to more than 280,000 children with support from community organizations, partners, industry advocates, members and more. For more information, visit www.stepintoswim.org.
About Florida Swimming Pool Association and Florida Swims Foundation:
Florida Swimming Pool Association, (FSPA) is a 501(c)6 that serves as the coordinating organization for 16 local Florida chapters. It provides educational programs and government and legislative representation for the swimming pool industry in Florida. FSPA is the primary sponsor of the Florida Swims Foundation (FSF), a 501c(3) that contributes to swimming pool safety programs and scholarships for FSPA members and families. For more information, visit www.floridapoolpro.com.
About International Swimming Hall of Fame and Every Child A Swimmer:
The International Swimming Hall of Fame is an organization organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC with a primary mission to collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate the history of aquatic sports while promoting swimming instruction for children through its Every Child A Swimmer program. For more information, visit https://ishof.org/.
Every Child A Swimmer is a registered trademark of the ISHOF and represents the ISHOF founding fathers’ spiritual mission: to prevent childhood drownings and further legislative action that would encourage parents to teach their kids how to swim before they enter kindergarten. For more information, visit www.everychildaswimmer.org.
Justice For Shirley Babashoff and Others? FINA Will Explore Doping History and Awarding Proper Medals
Shirley Babashoff. Enith Brigitha. Sharron Davies. All three women have Olympic medals to their names, but not the gold color they deserve. Due to the systematic-doping program orchestrated by East Germany during the 1970s and 1980s, Babashoff, Brigitha and Davies were beaten to the wall by performance-enhanced opponents, their rightful place in the sport not recognized.
Now, with FINA pushing for greater transparency and reform under new president Husain Al-Musallam, the governing body for aquatics sports has indicated it will look at past performances and how doping played a role. One possible outcome of an investigation of the past is awarding athletes the medals they would have won in Olympic competition, if not for the presence of the East Germans.
Babashoff and Brigitha finished behind East Germans in several races at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, with Babashoff long calling for the International Olympic Committee and FINA to right those wrongs by upgrading medals of those who finished behind swimmers known to have benefited from performance-enhancing drugs. As for Davies, she was the silver medalist in the 400 individual medley at the 1980 Games in Moscow, where East Germany’s Petra Schneider was the gold medalist.
In a reversal of its former approach, in which it ignored the subject, FINA has indicated it is willing to look at history and, possibly, alter it for the sake of the athletes who suffered injustices in the pool. Although FINA is willing to look at the past, it is important to note that the awarding of retroactive medals will require the approval of the IOC.
If retroactive medals are awarded, it is unlikely the East German athletes will have their medals stripped. As part of the systematic-doping program that was instituted and guided by the government, the athletes were pawns in a political system, and instructed to follow the directions of their coaches and senior officials.
Here are some previous stories by Swimming World that discuss the dark days of doping and the affected athletes.
Deryk Snelling, legendary Canadian swimming coach, has died at age 87. His daughter announced his death on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
“This is Leslie Snelling Scabar. I just wanted to let my dad’s Facebook community know that he recently passed away at home from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He lived a long, healthy and fulfilling life until the very end. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and a Celebration of Life will follow when Covid restrictions are lifted,” she wrote.
Former Canada Swimming CEO Pierre LaFontaine shared the message from Scabar, adding one of his own.
“I’ve been blessed to have worked with him, he was my best Man, Mentor, help shape Canadian swimming but also helped create world people and great competitors. Thank you for your passion!” Pierre LaFontaine wrote on his Facebook page. “It’s also time that we rekindle the Canadian Swimming Hall of Fame. We lost some great people/coaches in the last few years that need to be remembered, celebrated for the next generation of Coaches – National Coaching week in Canada.”
Deryk Snelling was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1993. More from the ISHOF files:
DERYK SNELLING (CAN)
1993 Honor Coach
Born in Darwin, England, Deryk Snelling took his beginning as a British national swimmer and English champion to develop into one of swimming’s most successful coaches.
From 1962 at the Southampton Swimming Club in England to the current University of Calgary Swim Club in Canada, Deryk has placed 57 swimmers on Olympic teams, nineteen of them earning Olympic medals. Fifty of his swimmers have swum on World Championship teams, ten earning medals, and 53 swimmers winning 65 Commonwealth Games medals. His swimmers have set six world records and 72 of his teams have won Canadian National Team Championship titles with 417 individual and relay national titles going to his swimmers.
Snelling is known as the individual medley coach and his book, All About Individual Medley, stresses the importance of training all four swimming strokes. His world-ranked swimmers fill all four stroke events. Leslie Cliff won the 1972 Olympic silver medal in the 400-meter I.M., Bruce Robertson took the 1972 butterfly silver medal behind Mark Spitz and, 20 years later, Mark Tewksbury won the gold medal in yet another stroke at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning the 100-meter backstroke. Along with Mark, Snelling also coached backstroke world record holder Wendy Cooke.
Since 1970, Snelling has been the Canadian Olympic coach six times, serving as head coach at four of those Games. He has been coach of five Commonwealth teams and one World Championship team.
He has encouraged many of his swimmers to take up coaching. Among his proudest, his former swimmer David Haller, named British Olympic Coach and British Coach-of-the-Year.
During Snelling’s tenure at the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club, Etobicoke Swim Club, the Calgary Swim Club and the University of Calgary Swim Club, Deryk has been the Canadian Swim-Coach-of-the-Year four times, C.I.A.U.–University Coach-of-the-Year five times and is a recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada Award.
In addition to his coaching duties, he has been a featured guest at numerous clinics and symposiums across the world. Dery Snelling’s dual British and Canadian citizenship has produced dual successes in his swimmers–great athletes and great citizens.
On the same day that synchronized swimming pioneer Joy Cushman died at 98, another pioneer in the sport also died. Dawn Bean, who along with Cushman were instrumental in the development of synchronized swimming as an international sport, died at 94.
Bean, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996, had battled several forms of cancer over the years. She and her daughter Lea were both honorees as Lea was inducted into the Masters ISHOF as a Masters Synchronized Swimmer in 2016.
Dawn and Lea attended most Honoree Induction since their own ceremonies. Whenever she was battling cancer, she would say, “I just hope I feel well enough to travel to Fort Lauderdale to the Induction Ceremony!”
FOR THE RECORD: Synchronized swimming editor, publisher, administrator, judge, coach/teacher, official, athlete for over 50 years; Publisher of “Synchro Info”; FINA “A” Official; 1955 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (team).
You can synchronize your watches and you can synchronize your plans, but you can’t find anyone who can synchronize swimming better than Dawn Pawson Bean has synchronized swimming.
She began her career in 1941 as a water ballet swimmer on San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel Team. Then, for the next eight years, she competed in speed swimming before devoting herself exclusively to synchronized swimming. From 1947 to 1955 she was both swimmer and coach along with her husband Ross who coached the girls to their first U.S. National Team Championship in 1952 while at the Athens Athletic Club of Oakland, California. They went on to win four more national championships.
In 1955, her team won the gold medal at the Pan American Games, the first international competition in Synchronized Swimming. Dawn’s two sisters, Joan and Lynn, were a part of the team, making it a real family affair. Between 1958 and 1983, she established and coached the Riverside Aquettes and Tustin/Irvine Meraquas where her swimmers were national Team finalists for 22 consecutive years producing five National Team members.
But her involvement went far beyond coaching. In 1963, to promote communication in the sport, she began publishing “Synchro-Info” which, by 1992 had grown to become a 68 page publication with international distribution in over 50 countries. It is considered to be the single largest contribution which helped lead the development of Synchronized Swimming as a world-wide sport.
Beginning in 1959, Dawn chaired many U.S. Synchronized Swimming committees including Olympic International, which established the U.S. National Team concept in 1979. She served eight years on the U.S. Olympic Committees Executive Board. She was the editor of the official rule books, directories, scoring and training manuals. She is author of the “Athletes Handbook,” “Coaching Synchronized Swimming Effectively” and three other United States Synchronized Swimming publications which became models of expertise.
As an official, she has been an international judge since 1971 at three FINA World Cups, four Pan American Games, five Pan Pacific Championships and eighteen other international competitions in over eight countries. She has been a judge at the World Championships in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1992 and at the 1988 Olympic Games. At the 1984 Olympic Games, she was the Competition Director, as she has been for eight other international competitions. She has instructed international coaching and judging seminars in over eight countries and lectured in many more, including all continents of the world. She was one of FINA’s first three “A” rated judges.
With her husband and three daughters supporting her, Dawn Bean has been involved and served the sport of synchronized swimming for more than 50 years as an athlete, coach, teacher, administrator, official judge, publisher and editor.
Joy Cushman, International Swimming Hall of Fame honoree, died on Wednesday. She was 98.
She was a member of United States Synchronized Swimming, and represented the group on the United States Olympic Committee’s Executive Board from 1956-75. She was the USSS Chairperson from 1958-63 and was the FINA Synchro honorary secretary from 1960-72.
She was honored by ISHOF in 2018 as a pioneer and contributor.
From the ISHOF files:
Joy Cushman was born in 1924 into an aquatic family that had a summer beach house in Galveston, Texas. It was there she developed an early love for swimming, fishing, surfing, and waterskiing. Back in Houston during the school year, she joined a swimming team. Like most female swimmers in those days, she performed water ballet routines for her club’s annual water shows, starting in 1939. It was the great heyday of water shows and the Aquacades that helped popularize swimming and make Hall of Famers Johnny Weissmuller, Eleanor Holm, Buster Crabbe and Esther Williams superstars.
It was also an era when water ballet was morphing from the world of entertainment into the physically demanding sport of synchronized swimming – and Joy fell in love with it.
In 1946, when the AAU officially recognized synchronized swimming as a sport, Joy Cushman won the Texas championship in solo, duet and team competitions. Then when the Shamrock Hotel opened in 1949, with its incredible swimming pool, Joy performed for the Opening Gala before a slew of Hollywood celebrities and tens of thousands of guests. Shortly after that, she started coaching the Shamrock Hotel Corkettes Synchronized Swimming Team.
Under Joy’s guidance, the Corkettes established themselves as one of America’s top synchro teams for many decades. They also performed, along with divers, clown divers, and dancers at every convention, banquet and cocktail party held at the hotel poolside. The funds earned from these shows enabled her and the team to organize workshops, clinics and competitions to promote synchronized swimming.
Joy Cushman’s great strengths were as an administrator, official and promoter of synchro as an international sport in its formative years. She conducted many synchro workshops and hosted international swimmers and teams from Mexico and South America for clinics and competitions in Houston which helped put synchro in the 1955 Pan American Games as an official sport. For the 1959 and 1963 Pan Am Games, Joy served as coach and manager of the USA Synchronized Swimming Team. Her Pan Am experiences led to a charter position and member of the ASUA Synchronized Swimming Technical Committee for many years. She also served on the FINA Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee for 12 years, eight as Vice Chairman, and four as Honorary Secretary, beginning in 1960.
Joy also gave clinics in Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, and in 1966, she developed the first Japanese-American dual meet.
She was the Chair of AAU Synchronized Swimming from 1958-1963 and served on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors from 1956-1975. She was head chaperone for the American delegations that competed in the 1971 Pan Am Games and 1972 Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
During her career, Joy Cushman served as Chief Official for synchronized swimming at six Olympic Games, nine Pan American Games and four FINA World Championships. Among the many awards she has received over the years are the FINA Silver Pin and the Lillian MacKellar Distinguished Service Award from United States Synchronized Swimming.
Olympic Champion Brooke Bennett Wins Female Title At Swim For Alligator Lighthouse
More than 460 national and international participants competed in clear ocean waters off the Florida Keys Saturday during the Swim for Alligator Lighthouse, an 8-mile open-water challenge.
Tampa Bay, Florida, resident Connor Signorin, 29, emerged from the Atlantic Ocean as the top individual swimmer with a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds. The top female finisher was Olympic champion Brooke Bennett, 41, of Clearwater, Florida, who completed the race in 3:19:20. The distance star captured three Olympic gold medals during her career, titles in the 800 freestyle in 1996 and 2000, and a gold in the 400 free in 2000.
In other divisions, Tampa residents Andrew Lashlee and Robert Skaggs posted the fastest two-person relay time at 4:03:58.
Photo Courtesy: Florida Keys Media
Swimmers Michelle Dalton, Sara McLarty and Misty Bacerra, all of Clermont, Florida, won the three-person class in 4:15:32.
The winning four-person team was a mixed relay of male and female competitors from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tim Shead, Harold Wagner, Serge Wenzel and Ann Kilpatrick posted a time of 3:34:42.
Athletes swam to Alligator Reef Lighthouse off Islamorada, rounded the beacon and came back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.
Founded by Florida Keys artist “Lighthouse Larry” Herlth, the annual race is staged to raise awareness about the need to preserve the almost 150-year-old Alligator Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys. The event also raises college scholarship funds for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.
Recently, the Islamorada community-based organization that hosts the annual swim was approved to take ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Restoring it is likely to take five to seven years and cost up to $9 million, according to organizers. Fundraising efforts have already begun at savealligatorlighthouse.org.
Constructed to warn ships away from the Florida Keys reef tract, the lighthouses are no longer maintained, as their function has been replaced by modern Global Positioning System navigation.
Australian Chloe McCardel Chases Record 44th English Channel Crossing
Australian marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel will pursue a world record 44th crossing of the English Channel over the next month.
McCardel has made the 34-kilometer crossing of the Channel on 41 occasions. That is more than any man in history and trails only the 43 crossings made by Alison Streeter. McCardel is aiming for crossing No. 42 later in September. If conditions allow, and anticipated August swims have already been pushed back due to high winds, she could be in line to make her 43rd and 44th crossings by early October.
“I can’t wait to get these final swims underway, the closer I’m getting, the more excited I am,” McCardel said in a press release. “I only have 3 swims remaining now, which I’m planning to carry out in September and October.”
McCardel first crossed the English Channel in 2009. The 36-year-old native of Melbourne surpassed the men’s world record of 34 crossings in 2020. She has persevered through the daunting passage so many times despite being hospitalized with hypothermia during a 2011 attempt.
She was the first Australian and only the fourth person to complete a triple non-stop crossing of the Channel in 2015, the first to do so in 25 years. Chasing Streeter’s record is a natural next step for McCardel.
“Alison Streeter was my idol when I was moving to Channel swimming – she inspired me to continue to push my boundaries,” McCardel said. “Australia has such a rich history in English Channel swimming and I’m so proud to represent my Country out in the Channel, a place which I see as my spiritual home. Although I’ve travelled alone for this challenge, I have such a great support network here in the UK who always get behind me and cheer me on!”
Chloe McCardel holds various world records, including the longest unassisted ocean swim (124.4 kilometers in the Bahamas in 2014), most English Channel crossings in one season (eight in 2016) and most Channel crossings in one week (three in 2015). She turned in the fastest crossing, male or female, of the 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2019 seasons. She also works as a coach and mentor to other open-water swimmer and a motivational speaker.
McCardel won the 2016 Poseidon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the year she was inducted to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. She is an inaugural member of the Australian Swimming Hall of Fame.
“I really want to inspire young people, especially girls, showing them that anything is possible – I only learnt how to swim at the age of 11 and I will soon have managed to swim the English Channel more times than anyone in the world, I want them to know that they can do anything too!,” McCardel said. “I think sometimes women don’t get recognised for their achievements as much as they should, to have female role models has been amazing for me and I really hope I can be that for other women and girls.”