Thursday, July 30, 2020

Abouheif: Crocodile of the Nile

Abdellatief Abouheif (EGY)
Honor Open Water Swimmer

Considered one of the greatest open water swimmers of all time, Abouheif was a superstar in his home country of Egypt.  Read his fascinating story here:

In a country where marathon swimming is the premier sport, Abdellatief Abouheif is Egypt's national hero.  Revered and respected, his fellow countrymen bow down to him, streets and buildings are named after him and when the great Abouheif speaks, people listen.  To the rest of the world, he is an extraordinary phenomenon.

Very few other marathon swimmers can match the achievements of this amazing long distance swimmer.  His death defying distance swims and open water races have been held in most of the major bodies of water in the world and under extreme conditions.  For example, in a swim hosted by ISHOF Gold Medallion recipient Jim Moran, Abouheif accomplished the 60 mile Lake Michigan Crossing of 1963, spending 34 hours 45 minutes in the chilly 52 degree F. water.  In 1962, he spent over 9 hours in the 84 degree F. water, completing the 23 mile Mar Del Plata swim in Argentina.  But like all of his swims, he endures, takes himself to the limit and recovers.

Between 1953 and 1972, he competed in over 68 international races of lengths from 30k to 80 kilometers.  In 1964, 1965 and 1968, he was the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Champion of a circuit of races held in Canada, United States, Italy and South America.  Of these 68 races he most often finished first and in only 12 races did he finish below third place.  International competitions were hosted by France, Argentina, Lebanon, England, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Holland.

Abouheif was born in 1929, the eighth of fifteen children and the son of a school teacher and Parliamentary member.  He received his secondary education at Eaton and Sandhurst Military Academy in England.  He returned to Egypt to serve in the army rising to the rank of colonel.  Along the way he learned to play the piano, speak six languages, marry a beautiful Greek opera singer and become the world's professional swimming champion.

Abouheif's five foot ten inch frame that weighs between 200 and 240 pounds, is well covered with fat to endure the exposure to cold water.  His eating had no rules and he would eat anything that smelled good at the time, which, before a race, could include two whole roast chickens and a quart of orange juice and milk.

He was held in awe by every swimmer on the circuit.  If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not a race could be completed, due to weather conditions, Abouheif would erase that doubt and battle the elements to the finish line.  No body of water was too difficult a challenge for him, either fresh or salt water.  He has crossed or traversed the English Channel, Lac St. John, Capri-Naples, Canadian National Exposition, La Tugue, Quebec City, Chicoutimi, the Nile River, the Seine River and many more.  His trademark was a flurry of strokes and a finish sprint that carries him to the finish line to strive with unyielding competitiveness and to endure in the battle with mother  nature.

If an emblem were made that represents Abouheif and his feats, it would have a big set of beautiful white teeth amidst a friendly grin and a picture of a huge stomach. He became the greatest marathon swimmer in the history of the sport and set the standards for today's open water swimmers.

FOR THE RECORD: Abdellatief Abouheif, Honor Open Water Swimmer

World's Great Marathon Swimmer from 1953-1972;
Longest Distance Swim -  60 miles of Lake Michigan in 34 hours, 45 minutes;
Competed in over 68 International Races between 30km and 80km in length.
1964, '65 & '68 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Champion.
Famous swims, with first place finishes, include:
1953 - Seine River (Paris) France, 18 miles,  5:46.40;
1954 - St. Nazaire LaBaule, France, 26 miles, 7:41.15;
1955 - English Channel (France to England), 21 miles, 11:44.00;
1955 - St. Nazaire - La Baule, France, 26 miles, 9:32.00;
1956 - Nile River, U.A.R., 42 miles, 17:01.01;
1956 - Ouvers, Oise, France, 11 miles, 4:24-00;
1956 - Seine River (Paris) France, 18 miles, 6:37.50;
1957 - Saida, Beirut, Lebanon, 25 miles, 13:05.00;
1961 - Saida,  Beirut, Lebanon, 23 miles, 10:47.00;
1962 - Lake Ohrid, Yugoslavia, 21 miles, 9:27.07;
1963 - Capri, Naples, Italy, 23 miles, (tie) 8:49.35;
1963 - Lake Michigan USA, 60 miles, 34:45.00;
1963 - Toronto (CNE) Ontario, Canada, 15 miles, 7:37.26; 1964 - Capri, Naples, Italy, 23 miles, (tie) 10:43.57;
1964 - Rio Corond,  Argentina, 38 miles, 10:38.50; 1964 - Toronto (CNE) Ontario, Canada, 30 miles, 19:00.00;
1965 - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 10 miles,  5:18.54.2; 1965 - Lac St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, 25 miles, 8:34.35;
1965 - Rio Parana, Argentina, 55 miles, 10:31.41; 1966 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada (30 hr. team race), 251 laps;
1968 - Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, 28 miles, 9:10.00; 1968 - Molson Sprint, 10:44.08;
1968 - Narragansett, Rhode Island, 15 miles, (tie) 8:11.00; 1969 - Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, 28 miles, 10 hr.;
1969 - LaTuque, Quebec, Canada, 24 hr. team swim, 62.5 laps.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Save The Dates: ISHOF Hall of Fame ’20 and ’21 Classes Will be Inducted in Spring and Fall of 2021

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is inviting the entire aquatics community back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 16-17, 2021 to celebrate the belated induction of its Class of 2020 Honorees, Paragon Award winners, and ISHOF recognitions.

“We have secured an agreement with the City of Fort Lauderdale and the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa to host 450 people in the spring of 2021.  We are being very proactive and optimistic that the Coronavirus will be under control,” said Brent Rutemiller – President and CEO for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.  “We have negotiated some exit clauses in our agreement, but for now we encourage everyone to “Save The Dates”!”

Expanding on ISHOF’s 2021 calendar, the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame will be held in conjunction with next year’s 2021 United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on September 24, 2021.  The names of those Honorees will be forthcoming early next year.
Rounding out the 2021 calendar year, ISHOF has secured a fall date to celebrate its International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2021 with an expanded program.  The fall ISHOF induction will return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on October 8-9, 2021.  We are in the early stages of combining our event with other entities and possibly having an official celebration of the renovated aquatic center and construction of 27-meter-high diving tower.

Here Are the International Swimming Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees Now scheduled on April 16-17, 2021:


Rowdy Gaines and Debbie Meyer Confirmed As Induction Event Co-Emcees

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with ISHOF Honoree and Sullivan Award Winner, Debbie Meyer, and double Olympic gold-medalist, ISHOF Honoree, and everyone’s favorite Olympic swimming broadcaster, Rowdy Gaines acting as co-emcees and hosts of the induction.
Rowdy Gaines and Debbie Meyer will co-emcee the 2021 ISHOF Induction Ceremony Photo Courtesy:
Make your plans now!  ISHOF Members can purchase the Complete Weekend Package (see below) and save! (Get info on membership here.) Can’t attend the event? Donate to ISHOF to support our honorees.

Here Are The Paragon and ISHOF Award Recipients That Will Be Honored on April 16th, 2021:

Pentair Logo
The Paragon Awards are part of ISHOF’s 56th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, April 16-17, 2021.  For ticket information visit or call 570 594-4367.  For more information about the Paragon Awards,
About Pentair Aquatic Systems: Pentair Aquatic Systems is a world-wide leader in the manufacture of residential and commercial swimming pool equipment including PARAGON™ Competitive Starting Platforms, which have been the leader in innovation, design and quality for over 50 years. Pentair is a proud sponsor of the ISHOF “Paragon Awards” since 1996. For more information about the Paragon Awards, see:

ISHOF Specialty Award Recipients:

The Induction Weekend Schedule, Reservations and Ticket Information

Friday, April 16, 2021
Paragon & ISHOF Awards Night
  • 5:30 pm Cocktails
  • 6:30 pm ISHOF and Paragon Awards
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Honoree Induction Day Luncheon – Meet Rowdy Gaines and go on a behind the scenes tour of the Aquatic Complex construction.
  • 11:30-1:00 pm Luncheon
Official 56th International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner
  • 5:30 pm VIP Reception – Ocean Terrace
  • 6:30 –10:00 pm Induction Ceremony & Dinner – Ocean Ballroom

Ticket Information

Questions: contact Meg Keller-Marvin at or 570-594-4367

Felix Grossman, MISHOF Honoree is special. He is One in a Thousand!

When asked why he wanted to join the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in A Thousand Club, Grossman had a story he wanted to share: “My journey to ISHOF began in 1987. Bob Muir was my diving coach at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, from 1952 to 1956. He was also to be named as the head coach of the USA Olympic Swim Team for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the only small college coach ever to be so honored. In 1956 I placed 15th in the 1-meter and 17th in the 3-meter diving at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (no divisions back then; it was just after fire was invented) and took 29th out of approximately 70 springboard divers at the Olympic Trials in Detroit that Summer. Obviously, I was not an elite diver, except in the minds of my folks.

In about 1987 I began working with Carl Samuelson, the Williams swim coach who succeeded Bob, to get Bob inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He was the only US Olympic swim coach who was not in the Hall. We worked with Buck Dawson and put together material establishing that Bob deserved to be there. In 1989 Bob was inducted and I attended that lovely event. It was my first visit to the Hall and I was much impressed. The Hall represented the finest in the history of our sport and those honored to be in it were incredibly deserving. One thing was clear. Under no circumstances would there ever be a place for a ho-hum, mediocre but enthusiastic diver such as I in that prestigious environment. I had been active in Masters Diving for about 12 years at that time and my diving dreams did not realistically include being in the Hall.

Masters Diving, in fact Masters sports in general, offers athletes the opportunity to compete meaningfully and at a high level from in their 20’s into their 90’s and beyond.  To keep at diving for 20, 30, 40 or more years is a tribute to my love of the sport. It requires a dedication that can legitimately be described as transcending even that of many Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes are the best in their sport at the time they are training and competing. Their ability, talent and training ethic are incredible and awe inspiring. But in most cases when their Olympic years are over, so is their active participation in their sport. For Masters athletes the only definable end of the road is either physical inability or their last breath.

Competing in Masters Diving has not only provided an outlet for our athletic desires it has become a medium for athletic excellence, success and national and international recognition and camaraderie that was, frankly, not available to us when we were much younger. Many of us have become national champions and even world champions in our sport; not realistically achievable goals when we were younger. We love our sport and we are willing and desirous of pursuing it and working at it for many, many years, well into our 50’s, 60’s, and for some into our 80’s and 90’s. It gives energy to our lives. Frankly, it amazes me that so many of our great Olympic athletes can walk away from diving as a competitive recreational sport. Do they love our sport any less than we do? Probably not, but they sure seem content to leave it behind while we want to love and enjoy it for year after year, decade after decade.

I am reminded of what the beautiful Carol McAlister told me when her husband, the great Masters Diver Bill McAlister was about 84 years old. She said, “You know, Felix, just about the only thing Bill has to live for these days is our national championships. His entire life revolves around getting ready for the next Masters meet.” Bill died in 2000 at 89 years of age – he was a consummate Masters Diver. He was inducted into ISHOF in 2005.

Which brings me to the question at hand – why I want to be part of the One-In-A-Thousand campaign of ISHOF.  It is a great honor for me to be a MISHOF Inductee and I am proud to play whatever small role I can in securing its future. Do I want to be One-In-A-Thousand? Actually, I hope I will be One-in-Ten-Thousand. 

Those of us who love the sports of swimming and diving wish good luck to ISHOF and those who are running it during this critical time in its history. We are delighted to be able to be a part of the magnificent rebuilding work you are doing.

Join Felix and the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.

·         $10 Monthly Commitment
·         $25 Monthly Commitment
·         $50 Monthly Commitment
·         Make a One-Time Commitment

Felix Grossman, pushing 80, has been athletically inclined all his adult life.  Mountaineering, mountain biking, backpacking, windsurfing, cross-country and downhill skiing, water skiing, competitive tennis, and of course, springboard diving.
Grossman, a former diver at Williams (Mass.) College Class of 1956, has kept his body in peak shape to compete in top championships all over the world. He was even able to increase the degree of difficulty of his dives, attempting maneuvers he hadn’t been capable of in college.
Felix is now in his fifth decade and has competed in 52 U.S. National Masters Championships. He has won 33 USA Masters Diving titles (gold) in eight age groups: 40-44 to 75-79 through 2013. He set a world record when he scored 213.8 points diving in the 70-74 age group, a record which he continues to hold now in its eighth year.
Grossman has competed in seven FINA Masters World Championships, winning two gold, six silver, one bronze medal and a 5th and a 7th place. He has competed in five World Masters Games, winning three gold, three silver, three bronze, and a fourth place.
In 1987, Felix had both of his severely arthritic hips replaced and still beat the field of divers in his age group. This was the first time a diver with two prosthetic hips had won a national championship. In 1992, he won the FINA Masters World Championships with his two replacement hips. In 1998, he had both of his arthritic knees replaced. In 2001, he again won the USA Diving Masters Nationals followed by World Masters Championships in Melbourne winning with four prosthetic joints, two hips and two knees. In 2002, he was featured in Sports Illustrated for his prosthetic joint success. Over the years, his prosthetic advice and recommendations has led to the successful extension of many divers’ careers. They learned success on the board does not have to end with bad joints.
In 2004, Grossman was presented with the Bicentennial Medal, bestowed by his alma mater Williams College. “You are an inspiration to the college divers you train with and to the countless inner-city Los Angeles teenagers you have encouraged to set high standards for themselves. Your non-profit organization, Felix Ventures, now works with students at L.A.’s Workman High School to stretch them physically and academically and to challenge them to develop work habits that will help them reach their full potential. It has developed into the school’s largest co-curricular activity, involving each year more than 150 students, almost all of whom will go on to college.”
Beginning in 1975 and for over 30 years, Felix has conducted Masters diving meets in his home state of California as well as serving as a sort of Chaplain, spiritual and motivational spokesperson for the sport.
Felix Grossman was inducted into MISHOF in 2013.  He IS “One in a Thousand.  
The International Swimming Hall of Fame wants to know if you are One in a Thousand?  We think you are!  Show how special you are and become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One In A Thousand” Club.  Help keep the International Swimming Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum by joining now!

During these unprecedented times, the ISHOF Board is calling on every member in the aquatic community to make a small monthly commitment of support to show how special you are and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone. 

Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill Kent – Chairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Since 1965, ISHOF has been the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports. ISHOF’s vision for the future is to build a new museum and expand its reach by offering its museum artifacts digitally through a redesigned website.
The ISHOF Board of Directors is calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment to show their dedication to aquatics and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

About ISHOF   Take a Virtual Tour
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”.   In 2018, Sports Publications Inc, publisher of Swimming World Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact.  Today, ISHOF’s vision is to be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.  Show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.

ISHOF Vision Statement
To be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.

ISHOF Mission Statement
To collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate history, showcase events, share cultures, and increase participation in aquatic sports.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of Florida. Contributions to ISHOF are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. ISHOF’s tax identification number is 59-1087179. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR FROM THE WEBSITE, REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. You can find out more about us on under International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Thank YOU for Celebrating FSPA's 50th!


Thank YOU for Celebrating FSPA's 50th!

This week we asked our Members and pool industry professionals to help the FSPA celebrate our 50th Anniversary by providing Florida’s children with a valuable life-skill with a donation to the Florida Swims Foundation.

In the last week we've raised:


The Bill Kent Family Foundation generously matched ALL donations through this campaign which means we have raised a total of:



Together, we have all made a difference in the lives of so many Florida children by providing them with swim lessons!

We are grateful to our Members for 50 years of furthering the Florida pool industry and look forward to the next 50!

There is Still Time to Donate!

All donations made in the month of July will be counted for the campaign!



Happy Birthday ERWIN SIESTAS - Honor Pioneer Swimmer !!!!

1992 Honor Pioneer Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1936 silver (200m breaststroke); EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1934 gold (200m breaststroke); WORLD RECORD: 1 (200m breaststroke).

In an Olympic era that was dominated by Japanese breaststrokers, Erwin Sietas of Germany emerged as the greatest European breaststroker of his time.  Following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer and fellow countryman Eric Rademacher, Sietas was Germany's breaststroke champion from 1928 through 1936. Representing Germany in his first Olympics in 1928, Sietas placed fifth in the 200m breaststroke.  By 1932 at the Games of Los Angeles, Sietas had moved up to a fourth place finish behind gold and silver medalist Yoshi Tsuruta and Reizo Koike of Japan and bronze medalist Teofilo Yldefonzo of the Philippines.  In his final Olympic competition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Sietas came within four tenths of a second of gold medal winner, Tetsuo Hamuro of Japan to take the silver medal.

Sietas medaled in three European Championships in the 200 meter breaststroke, bronze in 1931, gold in 1934, and silver in 1938.  He broke Frenchman Jacques Cartonnet's two-year world record in 1935 in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes 42.4 seconds.  He was the only European breaststroker to medal at an Olympics between 1928 and 1952, a 24-year period. 

Erwin Sietas was a tall, muscular breaststroker, unlike the short, stocky competitors of his time. But his strong desire and commitment to the sport kept him as one of the world's great swimmers for the ten-year period from 1928 to 1938.

Erwin was born today, July 24, in the year 1910 and passed away just shy of the age of 79, on July 20, in 1989 in Hamburg, Germany