Friday, July 21, 2017

International Swimming Hall of Fame Launches New Designation for Swim Schools to Encourage Lessons for Children as Early as Six Months Old

Olympian Amanda Beard’s Beard Swim Co. Selected as First Swim School to be Recognized

Fort Lauderdale, FL (July 19, 2017) – The International Swimming Hall of Fame today announced a
new designation called “More Than Water,” to recognize swim schools in a nationwide effort to educate and encourage parents to start swim lessons for their children as early as six months old. Based on extensive global research and conclusive evidence from countries like Australia, there are clear physical, emotional, social and intellectual benefits of learning to swim for children under five years old. Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard’s Beard Swim Co., which celebrates its Grand Opening in Gig Harbor, Washington today, will become the first swim school in the United States to earn the designation and be recognized for aligning with these core principles.

“The new guidelines are meant to bring attention to swimming as a life skill that not only makes kids healthier and happier, but also advances their development and opens the door to a big world of experiences,” said International Swimming Hall of Fame Executive Director Bruce Wigo. “We chose to recognize the Beard Swim Co. first since Amanda has always embraced this philosophy and now as a swim school operator, she has the opportunity to create programs that get more kids in the water sooner.”

“We created Beard Swim Co. with the belief that the ability to swim is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child,” said Beard. “Swimming remains a huge part of my life and as a mother of two young children, I know the benefits of learning to swim firsthand. We’re thrilled to be recognized by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and feel lucky for the opportunity to work with children of all ages in the pool.”

“More than Water” is based on six key beliefs, including:

1. Swimming makes kids happier, healthier, stronger, smarter, more curious and safer.
2. Kids can start swimming lessons as early as six months old.
3. Kids who learn to swim before the age of 5 are often months or years ahead of their same age     peers in both cognitive and motor skills.
4. Swimming opens the door to many lifelong recreational and occupational opportunities that aren’t available for those who can’t swim.
5. Swimming can save your life or help you save the life of another.
6. Swimming is more than a sport, it’s a life skill.

A 2013 research study  conducted by Dr. Robyn Jorgensen in Australia found children who participate in early-years swimming appear to achieve many milestones earlier than the normal population regardless of social background or gender. On average, children who swam before the age of five experienced advanced physical, cognitive and language development and were 11 months ahead of the normal population in oral expression, six months ahead in mathematics reasoning, 17 months ahead in story recall and 20 months ahead in understanding directions.

The “More than Water” campaign was launched in part by a generous donation from Beard Swim Co. partner, Aqua Sphere, the premier swimming equipment manufacturer for swim training and workouts, competitive swimming, fitness swimming, aquatic exercise, and more. The campaign is supported by additional Beard Swim Co. partners, Aqua Spas & Pools, Aqua Creek Products and SoCozy.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame will also fund learn to swim initiatives for families in need through the “More Than Water” campaign. Parents can access more information about the campaign, detailed guidelines on what to look for in a swim school, or make donations to support learn to swim initiatives by visiting

About International Swimming Hall of Fame
The International Swimming Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The organization’s mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of children. For more information, go to

About Beard Swim Co.
Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Beard Swim Co.’s goal is to provide students with the proficiency and confidence needed to safely immerse themselves in the aquatic environments and activities they will encounter throughout life. Beard Swim Co. partners include Aqua Sphere, Aqua Spas & Pools, Aqua Creek Products and SoCozy. For more information or to book swim lessons, visit

About Aqua Sphere
Established in Genoa, Italy, in 1998, Aqua Sphere is the premier swimming equipment manufacturer for fitness and recreational swimming, aquatic exercise and triathlons. With the launch of its cutting-edge Seal Mask—the world’s first swim mask, the company set the industry standard and today continues to innovate with a complete range of premium products, including eye protection, swimwear, triathlon wetsuits, footwear, and swim fitness and training accessories. The designs have gained the respect and loyal following of many celebrities and notable athletes, including the world’s most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps and Olympian Amanda Beard. Alongside its parent company Aqua Lung and supported by an international distribution network, Aqua Sphere has grown into a worldwide enterprise representing unparalleled design, development and manufacturing expertise, with a global footprint in more than 60 countries. For more information, visit or

Media contact:
Katrina Younce for ISHOF and Beard Swim Co.
T: 310-995-3619

Thursday, July 6, 2017


FORT LAUDERDALE – The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports as its official Hall of Fame, is proud to announce that Laurie Lawrence, a legendary swimming coach, entrepreneur, internationally renowned water safety advocate, will receive the organization’s Gold Medallion Award at ceremonies to be held in Fort Lauderdale, August 25-27, 2017.
“The purpose of the Gold Medallion Award is to provide positive role models for today’s youth,” said Bruce Wigo, ISHOF President/CEO.  “While Laurie Lawrence is a legend in the world of competitive swimming as a coach, he is less well known for his many entrepreneurial talents and the work he has done in collaboration with the government of Australia in the field of water safety and drowning prevention.  
His swimmers set over seventeen world records, and he coached Aussie teams to three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games. For these efforts, Laurie was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an honor coach in 1996.
Beyond his career in coaching he is many other things too - he is an extroverted entrepreneur, a patriot, poet, singer, humorist, best-selling author, dedicated family man and the most sought after motivational speaker in Australia.
But by all accounts his greatest accomplishment has been in the promotion of swimming and preventing the tragedy of drowning through his internationally acclaimed Water Safety Programs.
As in America, Australia’s political parties are often at odds with one another, and it is rare indeed when the parties unite behind a single cause.  But with the help of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Laurie was able to get the government to support his “Kids Alive” and “Living with Water” drowning prevention programs.  Programs that provide the parents of every newborn child in his country with an educational packet of information about the importance of being water safe and learning to swim.
The program developed a Kids Alive website, bolstered by community service advertising and the Kids Alive Water Safety Show, the biggest touring free show in Australia. Not only has the show visit metropolitan areas, but country towns and even remote communities — to the entertainment and education of hundreds of thousands of Australian children.  
In addition to operating a chain of successful swim schools, Laurie also partnered with dataSolutions, to pioneer the design and build out of the world’s first cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System) that delivers unparalleled online training for swim instructors through his “World-Wide Swim School.”
Laurie attributes his early exposure to swimming and sports for providing him with the lessons and tools that have rewarded him with success as a coach, a multi-faceted entrepreneur and happiness in life. “Things of value,” he says, “don’t come by luck, they’re won by pain, persistence and sacrifices and success is the celebration of your preparation.”
ISHOF’s Gold Medallion has been conferred annually since 1983 upon an individual who has been a competitive swimmer, diver, water polo player or synchronized swimmer - who has achieved national or international recognition for accomplishments in the fields of science, government, entertainment, business or education, and whose life serves as a positive role model for youth. Past recipients of the award include: US President Ronald Reagan, US Senator Barry Goldwater, US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, Businessman and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon and Olympic and Baseball boss, Peter Ueberroth.  Lawrence will become the fifth recipient to also be in the Hall of Fame, joining, scientist Dr. James E. “Doc” Counsilman, journalist and gender equity pioneer Donna deVarona, entertainer Esther Williams, and businessman and water safety advocate Adolph Kiefer.
Others to be honored with the Class of 2017 include open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN), Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), Leisel Jones (AUS), Laure Manaudou (FRA) and Ian Crocker (USA), divers Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson (AUS), synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier (USA).

For tickets or additional information, please call Meg Keller-Marvin at (570) 594-4367 or ISHOF at (954) 462-6536, or visit

About the ISHOF
The International Swimming Hall of Fame & Museum, was established in 1965 as a not-for-profit educational organization in the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports, in 1968. The Mission of ISHOF is to PRESERVE and CELEBRATE aquatic history, to EDUCATE the general public about the importance of swimming as the key to water safety, drowning prevention, better health and a better quality of life, and to INSPIRE everyone to swim. ISHOF’s collection of swimming memorabilia, art, photos and films, along with archival documents and rare books in the Henning Library, make ISHOF the premier repository and academic research resource for swimming and aquatic history in the world.