Monday, May 23, 2016

Ray Essick, USA Swimming’s 1st Executive Director, Passes Away

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming
Swimming World Magazine:22 May 2016, 03:36pm
 Ray Essick, the first USA Swimming executive director, passed away last night while spending time with his family.  The cause of death is not yet known, but the death was sudden.
No arrangements have yet been made.  Swimming World will keep our readers updated when that information is available.
“Ray Essick led our sport through a period of enormous growth and prosperity,” said current USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus. “He brought his passion as a coach and his drive for success to his role as USA Swimming’s first executive director. He was a mentor and a dear friend.”
Last year, Essick was named one of the 30 most influential people within the sport of swimming.
Here is the profile Swimming World ran about Essick’s influence as part of that series:

Ray Essick File

  • Former head coach at Southern Illinois University, producing 21 All-Americans
  • Former head coach at Harvard University
  • Served as National Competitive Swimming Administrator for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)
  • Joined USA Swimming upon its founding in 1980
  • Served as USA Swimming’s first Executive Director, 1980-1997
  • 1997 recipient of the Good Neighbor Award, one of highest honors given to outstanding volunteers by the American Red Cross
  • 1998 recipient of USA Swimming Award
  • 2015 American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Hall of Fame honoree

How has he influenced the swimming community?

It’s hard to believe there was a time when USA Swimming did not exist, and swimming in the United States was an AAU sport. Ray Essick headed up the Swimming Committee for the AAU, and then became part of the revolutionary era which saw the founding of USA Swimming. Essick relocated from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs in 1980 to begin his 17-year tenure as the executive director of the newly created USA Swimming. ASCA says it all in Essick’s Hall of Fame bio– “Ray took USA Swimming from an organization in a shoebox, to the finest National Governing Body in all of Olympic Sport.” Essick built USA Swimming into a structure which supports its National Team athletes wholeheartedly, and strives daily to maintain the coveted spot Team USA has held for decades as the best swim team in the world.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

HENRY POWELL TO RECEIVE ISHOF’S 2016 John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award Presented by S.R.Smith

Fort Lauderdale – The Adapted Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is pleased to announce that Mr. Henry Powell, will receive the 2016 the John K. Williams Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award. The Award, presented annually by S.R. Smith, a world-leading manufacturer of commercial and residential swimming pool deck equipment headquartered in Canby, Oregon, will be given to Mr. Powell in conjunction with ISHOFs 52nd Annual Honoree Weekend, on Friday, October 28th, in Santa Clara, Calif.
“S.R.Smith has been a leader in making the water accessible to everyone for more than 80 years,” said Bruce Wigo, ISHOF President/CEO,” and we are grateful for the support of S.R.Smith in making this award possible.”
 “S.R.Smith is honored to recognize the lifelong contributions of Henry Powell, for his outstanding work and commitment to the aquatic health of people with disabilities,” said Dan Jorgensen, Olympic gold medal winning swimmer and S.R.Smith V.P. of Sales.
 Mr. Powell has been a leader and advocate for “Adapted Aquatic Programs” and physical activity programs for individuals with disabilities for close to 40 years. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Master Degree in Special Education from Cal State, Northridge.   A special education teacher for the San Diego Public Schools for more than 20 years, Mr. Powell has been active in a variety of programs for individuals with disabilities throughout his career. Armed with a WSI from the American Red Cross and an Adapted Aquatics Certification he served as a swim coach for the deaf in 1979 and was the United Cerebral Palsy Swim Coach from 1980-1998. He is a certified Adapted Aquatics Instructor with the Red Cross, and a certified Master Adapted Aquatics Instructor through the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education.  For the past ten years he has served as a ski and swim instructor for Adapted Sports Partners of North Country & Bretton Woods in New Hampshire.
About S.R.Smith: Since 1932, S.R.Smith has been a world leading manufacturer of commercial and residential swimming pool deck equipment. The companys products are featured on some of the finest pools in the world. S.R.Smiths comprehensive line of ADA compliant pool lifts provides mobility challenged people safe access to aquatic activities.  S.R.Smith is headquartered in Canby, OR with additional manufacturing in Portland, TN. For more information, visit:
About the John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award: Established in 1994 by ISHOFs Adaptive Aquatics Committee, this award honors an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adaptive aquatics (aquatics for persons with physical disabilities) as a participant, athlete, teacher, instructor, coach, organizer, administrator or media representative. For more information about the award:,-jr.-international-adapted-aquatics-award.html
About ISHOF:  The International Hall of Fame, founded in 1965, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,  is a not-for-profit educational organization. Its mission is to inspire everyone to be a swimmer by promoting the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children. For more information about ISHOF, see  For tickets or more information, call 954-462-6536

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Fort Lauderdale –  Sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today the recipients of the 21st Annual Paragon Awards. The Paragon Awards are presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics in six categories. This year’s recipients are Glenn Mills and Go Swim for Competitive Swimming; Dr. Barbara Kalbus for Water Polo, Coleen Cokey Huffman for Competitive Diving;  The USA Swimming Foundation for Aquatic Safety; Ulla Soili Marjatta Lucenius (FIN) for Synchronized Swimming and Kate Rew (GBR) for Recreational Swimming. This year’s awards will be presented on Friday, October 28, 2016, at a ceremony in Santa Clara Hilton Hotel, in Santa Clara, Calif., USA.   
            “Pentair is honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and to recognize leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of aquatics”, said Jim Drozdowski, Institutional Aquatics Sales Manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems.          
            “The annual Paragon Awards bring some of the most interesting and fascinating people each year to the Hall of Fame,” said ISHOF President/CEO Bruce Wigo. “These are the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible, who save lives, who promote water safety and further aquatic education.”
            The Paragon Awards are part of ISHOF’s 52nd Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, October 28 -30, which will be held in Santa Clara, Calif.. 
            For ticket information visit or call 954-462-6536.
            This year’s Paragon Award recipients and their categories are:

Paragon Competitive Diving Award
Colleen Cokey Huffman (USA)
Colleen “Cokey” Huffman is a 11-time national team member and two-time senior national champion.  She received the Philips Performance Award in 1986, was the high point award winner at the 1990 and 1991 senior national championships and was a finalist on 10-meter at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, Australia. After retiring from the sport, Huffman continued to stay involved in numerous capacities. She is the current secretary of the UANA Technical Diving Committee and is the chair of USA Diving’s Judges Subcommittee, organizing and overseeing U.S. judge selection for both domestic and international events. A FINA-certified judge herself, Huffman travels the country and the world judging U.S. and FINA events, including the recent World Cup in Rio. She has also served on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council, the USOC Audit Committee and U.S. Olympic Foundation and is a former treasurer of USA Diving.

Paragon Synchronized Swimming Award
Ulla Soili Marjatta Lucenius (FIN)
Ulla has been an internationally recognized synchronized swimming judge, referee, coach and consultant for 32 years. She was FINAs TSSC Chairman from 2005 to 2009, FINAs TSSC member from 1992 to 2005, LENs TSSC Chairman from 2012 to present and has been a member of LEN and TSSC since 1990. Ulla was the vice president of the Finish Swimming Federation in 1999.
In her professional life she has been an RN at Helsinki University Hospital for 18 years and has also studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, education, and statistics at Jyvaeskylae University (FIN). Her awards include the Gold Cross from Finlands Ministry of Education in 2006, FINAs Gold pin in 2009 and LENs Gold pin in 2004.

Paragon Water Polo Award
Dr. Barbara Kalbus
Very few people have dedicated themselves and served as tirelessly and selflessly to any sport as much as Dr. Barbara Kalbus has done for water polo. Never a player herself, she started in the sport as a parent-volunteer and many players and coaches alike look to her as being a second mother and mentor.  Barbara is a past president of U.S. Water Polo Inc., served as the Mens National Team Manager at the 1991 FINA World Championships, and at the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and 1998, 2002 and 2005 FINA World Championships. Barbara literally wrote the rules of the sport in the USA as the editor of the NCAA water polo rules until 2012 and the NFHS (High School) water polo rules until 2014.

Paragon Competitive Swimming Award
Glenn Mills - GoSwim
Glenn Mills spent his first two decades becoming one of Americas fastest competitive swimmers: 1980 US Olympian and Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, 1983 NCAA champion, US National Team member.  As a coach and teacher, and as co-founder in 2002 of GoSwim, he has devoted the past three decades to helping other swimmers achieve their goals. GoSwim is the sports leading provider of educational video content, and is the official technique video supplier of USA Swimming. GoSwim makes it easy for coaches to share this content with their swimmers, then film the swimmers and share that content with them in a secure way.  GoSwims mission is to make it easy for coaches to teach -- and for swimmers to learn – great technique. 

Paragon Recreational Swimming Award
Kate Rew (GBR)
Kate Rew grew up on her family's dairy farm in Devon, England, where she developed her love of wild swimming in the River Culm.  She worked as a freelance journalist, writing for The Guardian, The Times, Evening Standard, Grazia, ELLE and The Sunday Times and is best known for promoting wild swimming in the United Kingdom. In 2006, she founded the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS), an open-to-all central resource for wild swimmers, and aims to encourage people to rediscover the joys of swimming in open, wild water - rivers, lakes, lochs, tarns, ponds and seas. Her book "Wild Swim" became a bestseller. She was featured in several TV and radio documentaries. The news and lifestyle periodical Monocle magazine named her as one of its 20 "heroes who deserve a bigger stage worldwide".

Paragon Water Safety Award
The USA Swimming Foundation
The USA Swimming Foundations Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, which aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim.
To date, more than 3.4 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation's Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of nearly 700 qualified lesson providers across the nation.

About Pentair Aquatic Systems: Pentair Aquatic Systems is a world-wide leader in the manufacture of residential and commercial swimming pool equipment, including Paragon Deck Equipment out of its LaGrangeville, NY facility. Paragon deck equipment, including competitive starting platforms, has been a leader in innovation, design and manufacturing for over 50 years, and is a proud sponsor of the ISHOF “Paragon Awards” since 1996. For more information about the Paragon Awards, see:
About ISHOF:  The International Hall of Fame, founded in 1965 and recognized by FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, is a not-for-profit educational organization currently located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to Preserve and Celebrate swimming history;  to Educate and the public about the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to water safety, fitness, good health, quality of life; and to Inspire Swimming For All, Swimming For Life! For more information about ISHOF, see  For tickets or more information, call 954-462-6536  For more information about the Paragon Awards, see: