Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Happy Birthday Kristen Babb Sprague

KRISTEN BABB-SPRAGUE (USA) 1999 Honor Synchronized Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (solo); 1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (team): 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (team), silver (solo): 1991 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (solo, team); 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (team); II FINA WORLD CUP: silver (team); III FINA WORLD CUP: gold (team); V FINA WORLD CUP: gold (team), silver (solo); U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4 (solo), 1 (duet), 8 (team); 1982 Japan International Age Group: gold (solo, 13-14 category).

Kristen Babb-Sprague is the original “Comeback Kid”. Following a career threatening back injury in 1989, she returned from a year-long layoff from the sport to win three consecutive national solo titles and two national team titles. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics she came from behind to win the gold medal in the solo event after having placed second to Canada’s Sylvie Frechette at almost every meet since her 1989 injury. She was the first athlete ever to earn perfect scores in artistic impression at the Olympics for her modern innovative routines. Kristen was featured in print advertising campaigns by Speedo and Max Factor in such magazines as Rolling Stone, New Women and McCalls.

It all started at age three when her older sister Lisa and mom were part of the Walnut Creek Aquanuts (CA) Team. She performed in water shows and by age six joined the team. She became a product of U.S. synchro’s development program rising through the ranks of age group and Junior Olympic programs first under club founder Sue Ahlet and then Gail Emery, who guided her to the Olympic gold.

On the way to the Olympics, Kristen became the only athlete in USSS history to have competed for eight team national championship squads. She was four time solo national champion, eight time team champion and 1 time duet champion. She won two golds and two silvers in FINA World Cup competition and was the first USSS athlete to qualify for four World Cup squads. She competed in 14 World Regional Championships or Invitationals winning 16 gold and seven silver medals.

At the 1992 Olympic Games, Kristen Babb, which the year before had married 1988 Olympic baseball player and Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Ed Sprague, had deviated from the traditional, operatic approach to the sport. She introduced a more up-beat style of performance, popularizing the sport worldwide. The “western” performance at the Olympics included the music of Leonard Bernstein’s “Rodeo”, John Williams’ “Cowboy” and a moving interlude from “Amazing Grace”. The overwhelming response to her new routine style earned Babb-Sprague perfect 10’s in artistic impression and three 10’s for technical merit. She performed 33 – 360 degree vertical spins including her patented drag spin. When the scores were added together, Kristen had a combined figures and routine score of 191.848 to Sylvie Frechettes’ 191.717.

Kristen has been a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. She is a 1992 AAU Sullivan Award finalist and USSS Athlete of the Year, a 1997 USSS Hall of Fame Inductee and three-time “Womens Sports and Fitness” Magazine Up-and-Coming Athlete of the Year.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Happy Birthday Lenny Krayzelburg !!!

 Lenny Krayzelburg (USA) 2011 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 4x100m medley); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m medley, preliminaries); 4 WORLD RECORDS: 1 (50m backstroke), 1 (100m backstroke), 1 (200m backstroke), 1 (4x100m medley); 3 WORLD RECORDS (25m):1 (100m backstroke, 2 (200m backstroke); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke), silver (4x100m medley); 2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (25m): gold (4x100m medley), silver (50m backstroke); 1997 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 4x100m medley); 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 4x100m medley).

Leonid “Lenny” Krayzelburg was born in Odessa, the Soviet Union. After spending his boyhood years in what is now the Ukraine, his family immigrated to the United States to escape Soviet Jewish anti Semitism and the call of the Soviet army, settling in a Soviet Jewish enclave in Los Angeles. This soft spoken Russian, a product of the Soviet sports system, wanted to continue his swimming in America, training first at the Jewish Community Center and eventually at the University of Southern California and Trojan Swim Club with coaches Bruce Becker at the Westside JCC, Stu Blumkin at Santa Monica College and Mark Schubert at USC.

His first big international meet was the 1997 Fukuoka Pan Pacific Games, where he won three backstroke gold medals. Now at 6 feet 2 inches, 190 pounds, he was destined to become the world’s best backstroke swimmer. At the 1998 Perth World Championship, he won gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke. At the 1999 Sydney Pan Pacific Games he won all gold medals again. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Lenny became the first Olympic swimmer, since Rick Carey in 1984, to win both the 100 meter and 200 meter backstroke events at the same Olympics. He also led off the 4x100m medley relay gold-medal swim setting the 100m backstroke world record in the process.

Repeated surgeries to his left shoulder did not prevent him from being elected captain of the 2004 US Olympic Team and winning a fourth Olympic gold medal on the 4x100 medley relay team swimming in the prelims.

All totaled, Lenny set five world records, one each in the 50 meter, 100 meter and 200 meter backstroke and two short course records. He was the USA Swimmer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. Lenny’s story is the ultimate success story: the immigrant who came to a new land, worked hard, overcame obstacles and found exactly what he hoped to find, the American Dream. He has opened the LK Swim Academy to teach children to swim and his Foundation helps underprivileged kids to learn to swim.

Happy Birthday Maria Kisseleva !!!

Maria Kiseleva (RUS) 2010 Honor Synchronized Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (duet, team); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (team); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (duet, team), 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (team); SIX EURO-PEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold 1993, 2000, 2004 (team), 1995, 1997, 1999 (duet, team); 1995 FINA WORLD CUP: bronze (duet, team), 1997, 1999 WORLD CUP: gold (duet, team); 1996 EUROPEAN CUP: silver (team), 1998 EUROPEAN CUP: gold (duet, team), 2003 EUROPEAN CUP: gold (team), silver (duet); 1998 GOODWILL GAMES: gold (duet, team); MUL-TIPLE RUSSIAN NATIONAL CHAMPION

Maria Kiseleva At her first Olympic Games in 1996, she and her teammates finishedin fourth place in the Team event, the only synchronized swimming event in Atlanta. Soon after Atlanta she joined with Hall of Famer Olga Brusnikina and the pair dominated Duet com-petitions for the next eight years. From Atlanta to Athens, Maria lost only one competition in Duet and Team and won the 1998 World Championships and World Cup.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, Maria and Olga won Russia’s first Olympic gold in synchronized swimming while scoring nine 10’s out of a possible ten judges in the final round. They used a karate routine performed to the beat of Japanese drums to defeat a team from Japan. After Sydney, Maria took a two-year break from training and competition, but in 2003 she made a comeback, and again with Olga, won the World Championship Team competition and her third Olympic gold medal in the team event at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Maria Kiseleva Since 2004 Maria has organized the annual Moscow International Synchronized Swimming Show.

Happy Birthday Debbie Watson !!!

Debbie Watson (AUS) 2008 Honor Water Polo Player

For The Record: 2000 Olympic Games: gold; 1986 World Championships: gold; 1983 World Cup: bronze; 1984 World Cup: gold; 1991 World Cup: silver; 1995 World Cup: gold;

Australia has produced one of the greatest female water polo players to ever play the game. If not for injuries incurred while playing her beloved netball, the world may have never known what a talent she was in the pool!

In 1983, after doctors advised her to give up land sports, she joined her school’s water polo team. She immediately fell in love with the game and within a year, Debbie Watson was selected to represent Australia at the World Cup in Canada. For the next 11 years, eight as captain, she was a member of the New South Wales State Team that won 13 National Championships.

After winning virtually every international competition available to women, including World Championships and World Cups, she retired in 1995. But when the IOC added women’s water polo to the Olympic program in 2000, Debbie jumped back into the pool. The Olympic Games was the only competition in which Debbie never had the chance to compete. She not only gained her spot back on the national team, she was instrumental in helping Australia win the first ever women’s water polo gold medal in front of a hometown Sydney crowd. Debbie’s career spanned 17 years, all at the elite level.

She is history’s only women’s water polo player to win Olympic, World Championship and World Cup gold medals. She has 315 competitions and was named the International Women’s Player of the Year in 1993.

Today, Debbie is an accomplished motivational speaker, water polo coach and grammar school teacher of health and physical education.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Happy Birthday to ISHOF Honor Swimmer Dick Roth!

DICK ROTH (USA)  1987 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1964 gold (400m individual medley); WORLD RECORDS: 2 (400m individual medley); AAU NATIONALS: 11 (200m, 400m individual medley; 1 relay); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 (200yd, 400yd individual medley; 1 relay); AMERICAN RECORDS: 12 (200yd, 400yd, 200m, 400m individual medley; 5 relays).

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics final in the 400 meter individual medley looked like an Army sick call with almost as many doctors as coaches hovering around the swimmers.  Dick Roth, the world record holder, certainly had a good excuse for not swimming.  On the night before the race, Dick had his appendix in ice packs and was told he must have an emergency operation.  "No!" said Roth.  "I'm  not missing the Olympic final no matter what happens."  Former world record holder Gerhard Hetz of Germany had pneumonia, and Roy Saari (USA) had a very heavy cold that was causing him to have a sub par Olympics.  They all swam.  "I forgot my hot appendix during the race," said Roth.  He won the 400 IM setting a new Olympic and world record with Saari second and Hetz third.  The five healthy finalists finishing behind.

Dick Roth's world record lasted four years.  He set seven American records between 1963 and 1967 during a period when the 200 meter individual medley was not recognized as a world record.  This Santa Clara and Stanford swimmer won 12 nationals in his all stroke specialty as well as making the finals in backstroke and swimming on seven national relay winners for coaches George Haines and Jim Gaughran.  His size 13 feet were too big for Japanese shoes and lots of swimmers could beat him at one of the individual strokes, but put the four in the pool together and versatile Dick Roth was King Richard of the I.M. for five years.

Dick Roth at ISHOF Grand Opening with
Esther Williams and Doc Counsilman

Happy Birthday GARY HALL JR. !!!!

 Gary Hall, Jr. (USA) 2013 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (4x100m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle), bronze (4x100m freestyle); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle), silver (4x100m medley); 1995 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle); 2003 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: bronze (50m freestyle); 1995 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (50m freestyle); FIVE U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1-50y freestyle, 1-100y freestyle, 2-50m freestyle, 100m freestyle.

 As a two year old, his dad carried him on to the pool deck of the Montreal Olympic swim stadium. Five years later, he was in Fort Lauderdale to see his dad’s induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Gary Hall, Jr. learned to swim at age three, but didn’t start competitively until he was 16. He grew to be six feet six inches tall, weighing 218 pounds and became known not only for his pre-race antics but for being one of the world’s fastest swimmers.

His Olympic career began in 1996 with two gold medals in the 4x100 meter freestyle and medley relays and two individual silver medals in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle, only .13 seconds behind Russia’s Alexander Popov in the 50 and .07 seconds in the 100.


Then, in March of 1999, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Doctors initially told him that his Olympic career was over. However, after consulting with Dr. Anne Peters Harmel, he resumed training for the Sydney Games in a new way. In addition to checking his insulin levels up to ten times a day, Gary and his Dad started the Race Club, a club concept for elite athletes in 2002. Training under coach Mike Bottom during this time in Islamorada, Florida, Gary went on to tie for the individual gold medal in the 50 meter freestyle with fellow American Anthony Ervin. He also won a bronze in the 100 meter freestyle along with gold and silver medals in the relays.


Four years later at the age of 29, the oldest American Olympic swimmer since Duke Kahanamoku in 1924, he capped off his Olympic career in Athens by standing on top of the 50 meter freestyle podium alone as Olympic champion.


Gary has ten Olympic medals to his name and joins his father as the only father and son duo to each win Olympic medals in three Olympic Games.

Gary’s relaxed ability to accept challenges head-on and conquer them is what won him countless awards and fans. His fans were always on the edge of their seats to see how he would emerge and perform in his next race. By achieving his dreams despite health challenges, he has been a great inspiration to the millions of people living with diabetes and would personally return calls, no matter the hour.

Friday, September 25, 2020

New York Breakers Donate to ISHOF & Join “One in a Thousand Club”


September 2020, 01:30pm

The New York Breakers recently sent a money donation to the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) to join the One in a Thousand Club, which helps keep the Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum.

The One in a Thousand campaign is designed to help the Hall of Fame during the COVID-19 pandemic, by calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment.

The New York Breakers last year partnered with ISHOF to donate a portion of all merchandise sales to the museum. Breaker fans can purchase gear for menwomenkids, and home living.


Regarding the announcement, New York Breakers General Manager, Tina Andrew, announced:

“For me, as I learned more about the Hall of Fame, our vision aligned. We are both very passionate about the sport of swimming. I love what they stand for and are all about – preserving history.

“I believe we are truly investing in the future of the sport and I know ISHOF’s biggest goal is to get more people involved in the sport and educate and celebrate the aquatic athletes that have made it so spectacular. I love everything they stand for so it is a very easy organization to align myself with because our visions, our mission and our goals align.”

The New York Breakers will be participating in the second season of the International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest, Hungary beginning on October 16. The team’s captain is USA’s Michael Andrew, who was the youngest ever swimmer to turn professional at age 14, and also the only swimmer to reach the final of all four 50’s at a single World Championships.

The team is also led by 2019 World Champ Boglarka Kapas of Hungary, who won the 200 butterfly at last year’s championships, and 2019 Worlds silver medalist James Wilby of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 100 breaststroke behind fellow Brit Adam Peaty.

“It feels like we have gone from being idle to being in high gear just in the last week,” Andrew said. “We didn’t quite know if things were going to come together and if they would happen because of COVID but now all of a sudden it is on top of us. It dawned on me yesterday, ‘we’ve got three weeks before we will all be together!’ The excitement that I have and feel from the athletes is indescribable. Most of them have not seen each other or raced and just want life to be back to normal.

“As for the New York Breakers, we had an incredible team last year. With coach Martin, we have put together a spectacular team in my opinion, and even with the changeover we have had recently, I still believe we have not lost any strength so we are super excited to see what we can do.

New York Breakers Notable International Swimmers:

  • Felix Auböck, Austria
  • Boglarka Kapas, Hungary
  • Marco Koch, Germany
  • Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark
  • Pieter Timmers, Belgium
  • Daria Ustinova, Russia
  • Kasia Wasick, Poland
  • James Wilby, Great Britain

Join the New York Breakers by donating to the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.


For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at customerservice@ishof.org.

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Happy Birthday Sandra Bucha!!!!


         SANDRA BUCHA (USA) 2014 Honor Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: PROFESSIONAL MARATHON SWIMMING ASSOCIATION WORLD RANKING: 1973 (4th place), 1974 (2nd place); CHICAGO LAKE FRONT RACE: First Place (1973, 1974, 1975); LA TOQUE 24 HOUR RACE: First Place (1974, 1975); LAC ST. JEAN RACE: First Place (1974, 1975); LAVAL, CANADA RACE: First Place; ONE AMERICAN RECORD: 200m freestyle, S.C.M.

Like Annette Kellerman before her, this little girl earned her place in swimming history in the water and in the courtroom.

Sandra Bucha had been a top age grouper in Washington D.C. before her family moved to Illinois. Swimming under coach Don Watson, in Hinsdale, she became an American record holder and national champion. She trained with the boy’s high school team, as there were no high school swim teams for girls in the state of Illinois in the 1960’s; Before her senior year, with the support of her coach and parents, she filed suit against the Illinois High School Association to allow her to compete as a member of the boys team. Although she lost the suit, this was before the passage of the Title IX Amendments to the Civil Rights Act the famous battle of the sexes. It was a sign of things to come.

After just missing making the 1972 Olympic team, she decided to retire from swimming at 18 and focus on academics at Stanford University, which, like Hinsdale, did not have a women’s swimming team.

Returning home in the summer of 1973, Sandra saw an ad for a 10 mile lake swim in Lake Michigan with a prize purse of $5,000 for the winner and cash awards for second and third. She had never swum 10 miles straight before but Sandra thought this might be a good time to try. She trained only a couple of weeks and broke the race record. It was there, at the Lake Michigan swim where she first discovered that there was a professional circuit in Canada for open water swims.

In the nine marathon swims in which Sandra Bucha competed between 1973 and 1975, she finished first in the female events, undefeated in every race. Only once did she come in third to a male and every other swim she finished usually a close second to the first male swimmer. For the two La Toque 24 hour swims, she teamed up with her high school teammate and Hall of Fame Swimmer, John Kinsella, to set a record of 190 laps around the lake, winning the race for two years. She won two Lac St. Jean Races (26 miles) and two Laval Canada Swims (10 miles) and three Lake Michigan Swims (10 miles). Most of her swims were race records with only three males finishing ahead of her in her nine races. She retired in 1975 to pursue a career in law.

Her accomplishments in the water and as a social justice advocate helped pave the way for thousands of girls and women to participate in sports, the acceptance of women in the male dominated sport of marathon swimming and for marathon swimming to become an Olympic sport.

Monday, September 21, 2020

HAROLD "STUBBY" KRUGER was born on this day: September 21st

STUBBY KRUGER  (USA) 1986 Honor Pioneer Swimmer/Diver

As "King of Comedy Diving", Kruger barnstormed with Johnny Weissmuller, making swimming a spectator sport. Their exhibition at the 1924 Olympic Games had so many encores that show exhibitions were banned from future Olympic swimming.  Stubby was also king of the all-around swimming/diving pentathlon, a U.S. National Championship event in which he tied with Weissmuller in 1924 and won outright in 1925.  

Originally out of Hawaii, Stubby won eight AAU National Championships with the Illinois Athletic Club.  Kruger attended St. Mary's College in San Francisco, where he was a national water polo champion and member of six national relay teams. 

He briefly held a world backstroke record, and made two Olympic teams, in the 100 meter backstroke event.   He played on the U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team and was also a very accomplished diver.

He later starred as a comic in the Billy Rose Aquacades before becoming a full time stuntman in the movies.  His career in Hollywood  began in the era of silent films and lasted three decades, into the 1950's. Kruger was stunt double for huge stars like Douglas Fairbanks, and Spencer Tracy, as well as friends Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. He would play supporting roles in films as well.  All told, he was part of at least 20 films.  His last role was stand-in for Spencer Tracy in Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea".

Kruger died at the age of 68 and is buried near Diamond Head in Honolulu.  He was inducted into ISHOF in 1986 and to this day we have a great Stubby Kruger display and it is always a favorite of visitors.

ISHOF Honor Swimmer DICK CLEVELAND would have been 91 Today!

RICHARD CLEVELAND (USA) 1991 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: WORLD RECORDS: 4 (100m, 100yd freestyle; 1 relay); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 8 (100m, 100yd freestyle; 1 relay); 1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (100m freestyle; 2 relays); AMERICAN RECORDS: 10 (100yd, 100m freestyle; 5 relays).

Coach Soichio Sakamoto made a believer out of Dick Cleveland, and Dick Cleveland made a believer out of the swimming world.  Beginning his career in his native Hawaii and culminating at Ohio State University, Cleveland set four world and ten American records during his swimming career which spanned form 1946 to 1955.

At Ohio State, swimming under Hall of Famer Mike Peppe, Cleveland's honors flourished.  Dick set four NCAA titles, three Big Ten Conference titles, and was an AAU First Team All-American six times.

Success seemed to follow Cleveland's every footstep.  At the first Pan American Games held in Argentina in 1951, Dick won three gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle, and the 400 freestyle and medley relays.  At the 1950 USA/Japan dual meet held in Osaka, Dick was a five-time gold medal winner.

Nicknamed "Spoofy," Cleveland pioneered the use of weight training during the "off" season and bulked up his 6' frame from 140 to 195 pounds to reach his peak performance weight.

Dick left a lasting impression on the sprint freestyle event as his 100 meter freestyle world record spanned three years until John Devitt of Australia broke Cleveland's record in 1957.

Dick Cleveland was inducted into ISHOF in 1991.  He came to his induction from the big island of Hawaii with his wife Paulie with a giant smile, bearing chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  They were a wonderful couple, deeply in love and neither he, nor Paulie will ever be forgotten.

Friday, September 18, 2020

ISHOF Honor Coach HOWARD FIRBY would have been 96 today.....

                               HOWARD FIRBY (CAN) 1985 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD:  1946-1985 Canadian Coach; 1964 Olympic Coach; 1958 British Commonwealth Games Coach; 12 World Record holders & 300 Senior Canadian Record holders; 9 International Games Gold Medals; President of the Canadian Swimming Coaches Association (CASA); 1st National Technical Director; 1978 B.C. Sport Hall of Fame; 1979 Canadian Sports Hall of Fame; 1982 Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame; Writer/Illustrator/Lecturer.

Howard Firby was born in Alabama, but he is first, last and always a Canadian.  On his way to becoming a swim coach, he was a World War II pilot with the RCAF, where he studied aerodynamics, later translated to hydrodynamics.  He was a post-war polio patient who occupied his long convalescence by studying his muscle functions.  For all his adult life, he has been a professional artist.  He used this skill to illustrate his teaching as an amateur swim coach for 20 years and, more recently, as a professional coach, writer, illustrator and lecturer around the world (South Africa, Russia, Mexico, Wales, Tokyo, etc.) and into the Canadian hinterland, where he visited 206 grassroots swim clubs as Canada's first Swimming Technical Director.

Thus began the program that produced the current surge in Canadian swim success.  It further established Firby as the world's most prolific innovator of stroke drills for every occasion.  His several best-selling books, visually written and accurately illustrated, are the international legacy of Firby's depth as a technical coach's coach.  As a swimmer's coach, his record is best illustrated by the names and achievements of the people and the teams he has coached.  His twelve World Record holders include superstars Mary Stewart and Elaine Tanner, who made believers of those south of the Canadian border with impressive double wins at the U.S. Nationals.

He started a swim club--The Canadian Dolphins--in Vancouver, B.C., which set team records the equal of Mission Viejo and Santa Clara. Firby swimmers set over 300 Canadian senior records, won more than 100 Canadian championships and 10 International Games gold medals.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

CYNTHIA POTTER: She IS One in A Thousand

Cynthia Potter, 1987 ISHOF Honoree and 28-time National Champion as a Diver is special.  She is One in a Thousand!

When asked why she wanted to join the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in A Thousand Club, Potter said, “The Hall of Fame is so special and important to all of us. We have a history we must preserve and there is only one ISHOF.   For me personally, I am now among incredible individuals that are part of aquatic history, thanks to ISHOF.  The Hall of Fame is the one gift that keeps on giving.  Through ISHOF I have created lifelong friendships, that I will treasure forever.”

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


For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at customerservice@ishof.org.


 FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: Member of the U.S. Olympic Diving Team 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980; 1976 bronze (springboard); AAU NATIONALS (28): Outdoor (1m 1968 through 1976, 1978; 3m 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976; platform 1970, 1971); Indoor (1m 1969 through 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979; 3m 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1978 silver (springboard); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1975 bronze (springboard); WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES: 1970 gold (springboard), silver (platform); World Diver of the Year: 1970, 1971, 1977; Lawrence J. Johnson Award for the "Outstanding U.S. Female Diver": 1973.

In the sport of women's diving long dominated by U.S. divers, Cynthia Potter won 28 nationals to become the most winning U.S. woman diver in the sport.  She also won 20 gold medals in world competition.  She was voted "World Diver of the Year" three times. She was a member of four Olympic Teams, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980 and won bronze on the 3-meter springboard in 1976.

Weighing less than 100 pounds, this diminutive dynamo competed in diving for the USA a record 20 years both on springboard and tower. Since hanging up her suit, she has coached diving at SMU and Arizona, been a successful model, lecturer and has acted as ABC-TV and Mutual Radio commentator at a variety of events including the 1984 Olympic Games.  A graduate of Indiana University, she dove for Hall of Fame Coach Hobie Billingsley.

Cynthia Potter goes down in history as one of our most durable of lady divers and now, she 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.

Architectural rendition of Hall of Fame Aquatic Center that is currently under renovation.

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, www.800helpfla.com. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. You can find out more about us on guidestar.org under International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Happy Birthday 2003 Honor Swimmer Tom Dolan!

Tom Dolan (USA)
2006 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (400m I.M.), 7th (200m I.M.); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (400m I.M.), silver (200m I.M.); TWO WORLD RECORDS: 400m I.M; 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m I.M.), 8th (400m freestyle); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m I.M.), 5th (800m freestyle); 1993 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (400m I.M.); 1995 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m, 200m I.M.), silver (200m backstroke, 800m freestyle), 5th (400m freestyle); 14 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 400 freestyle (3), 800 freestyle (4), 1500 freestyle (1), 200 I.M. (2), 400 I.M. (4); NINE NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 400 I.M. (2), 500 freestyle (2), 1650 free (2), 800 freestyle relay (3); FIVE AMERICAN RECORDS.

Tom Dolan of Curl-Burke Swim Club and the University of Michigan held the 400m I.M. World Record longer than any other swimmer in history, eight years, and that includes Hall of Famers Gary Hall, Sr., Tamas Darnyi, Alex Baumann, Jesse Vassallo, Charlie Hickcox, Dick Roth and Ted Stickles. He is only the second swimmer to win successive 400m I.M. Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000), along with Hungary's Darnyi. Tom also won the Olympic 200m I.M. silver medal in Sydney.

At 6'6" tall and with 3% body fat, Tom was diagnosed with Exercise Induced Asthma and a 20% windpipe obstruction, which would side-line the normal person. Tom only trained harder and exhaustion, dizziness and occasional blackouts never stopped him from swimming. Coached by Rick Curl and Jon Urbanchek, Tom also set two world records, won two gold medals in World Championship swimming, won nine NCAA National Championships and 14 U.S. National Championships.

Today, the Tom Dolan Swim School operates two, custom-built, state-of-the-art swim schools in Northern Virginia that teach swimmers from 3 months all the way up to adults. Students learn solid fundamentals that are essential for water-safety, recreational and competitive swimming.

Happy Birthday Tom!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Friday's Construction Update: September 11, 2020

Friday, September 11, 2020 at the Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex

Construction continues and everyday they are making progress.
Friday, September 11, saw the Dive well getting its concrete pour.
The crew continues to work tirelessly and looks to be right on schedule.
Rain or Sun, they just keep working.......
Cubic Yards of Concrete:  546
Trucks:  61
Hours:  10
More Construction Shots
Thanks  to Laura Voet

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Happy Birthday Honor Water Polo Player: CARLO SILIPO

Carlo Silipo (ITA)
2014 Honor Water Polo Player


He started in water polo with the Rowing Club of Naples, moved up to the famed Club Posillipo and became one of the most important players in Neopolitan and Italian water polo history.

When he joined the national team in 1992, Italy hadn’t won a gold medal in water polo since 1960 and finished a distant sixth in the 1991 World Championships. But it did have Ratko Rudic, the gruff disciplinarian who coached Yugoslavia to its Olympic championships in 1984 and 1988.

Rudic changed the Italian water polo culture. He brought a winning philosophy with him to Italy, and selected a core of young players who were willing to train until they dropped and pummeled their opponent into submission, no matter how long it might take. Carlo Silipo, only 21 years old, bought into the system. At six feet, six inches tall and weighing 210 pounds, he had the physical qualities Rudic was looking for at the center defender position and Silipo became the leader and symbol of Italy’s famed Settebello, or “seven diamonds” for the next fifteen years.

His greatest success came early, when he helped Italy win the gold medal over the home team favorite at the ‘92 Olympics in Barcelona. Behind Silipo’s stellar defense, Italy held a 6-3 lead in the third period and seemed to have the game under control, but Spain rallied behind their flamenco-beat clapping fans, and their superstar, Hall of Famer Manuel Estiarte, to send the game into overtime. With defense the key, Italy ended on top when Gandolfi scored the winning goal in the sixth overtime period.

If there was a more exciting game in Olympic history, it might be the bronze medal match in Atlanta, when Silipo’s Settebello beat the Hungarians, again in overtime.

Playing for CN Posillipo, in the world’s premier professional league, Silipo led his team to seven league championships and scored 574 goals in 462 appearances, a record for a defender. He retired in 2006 and is the fifteenth Italian to enter the Hall of Fame and the eighth for water polo.

“Carlo Silipo is a great role model,” said Paolo Barelli, President of the Italian Swimming Federation. “A leader in the tank, professional in his training, generous with advice and encouragement to his teammates and always congratulatory for his opponents.”

Let's hear it for yesterday's Birthday Girl, JILL SUDDUTH!!!

Jill Sudduth (USA)
2012 Honor Synchronized Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (team); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (duet, team); 1989 FINA WORLD CUP: gold (team); 1991 FINA World Cup: gold (team); 1993 FINA WORLD CUP: gold (duet, team); 1995 FINA WORLD CUP: gold (duet, team); 1995 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (duet, team); 1991, 1994 FRENCH OPEN: gold (duet, team); 1991 MALLORCA OPEN: gold (duet, team); 1993 SWISS OPEN: gold (duet, team); 1993 GERMAN OPEN: gold (duet, team); US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1991: gold (team), silver (duet), 1992: silver (duet, team). 1993: gold (duet, team); FIRST JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION: duet, team; UNDEFEATED IN DUET COMPETITION BETWEEN 1993 AND 1996 WITH HALL OF FAMER BECKY DYROEN-LANCER; 1993 SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE WORLD SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER OF THE YEAR.

Ever since Jill learned to swim at the age of four, she loved synchronized swimming and competed in the sport for 20 years. Upon reaching the National Team, she practiced five to seven hours a day, six days per week and became one of the world’s all-time best synchronized swimmers.

Swimming for world renowned Coach Chris Carver at the Santa Clara Aqua Maids, Jill began winning Junior National titles, and in 1989 she became the Junior World Duet and Team Champion. Finished second in gold medal count for all Americans at the 1994 World Aquatic Championships which includes swimming, diving and water polo.

Over the next four years, she won 16 major international competitions, including the French, German and Swiss Opens, Pan Pacific Championships, the World Cup and the 1991 World Championships Team event. Whenever a routine called for a “bridge”, Jill’s strength made it happen, as well as the strength of eggbeater kicks from the other girls holding her up.

In 1993, Jill was “Swimming World Magazine’s” World Synchronized Swimmer of the Year, and a USSS All-American from 1990 to 1995. In 1994, she was a member of the USA World Championship Team, winning both the team and duet events with her Hall of Fame partner Becky Dyroen-Lancer. Between 1993 and 1996, the duo was undefeated in duet competition.

For the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996, the solo and duet events were replaced with the team competition. Jill and her teammates received a perfect score of ten in the team event, the first and only perfect score in Olympic synchronized swimming history, until Russia received a ten at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The USA edged out the strong teams from Canada and Japan for the gold medal.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Happy belated Birthday to ELDON GODFREY !!!

Eldon Godfrey (CAN)
2012 Honor Contributor


When this former high school football coach’s daughter, Allison, began competitive diving in 1973, Eldon Godfrey switched allegiance to a whole new sport, and rose to the highest levels of volunteerism. With his organizational skills and insight, within three short years, he was elected president of the Canadian Amateur Diving Association and two years later the Aquatic Federation of Canada on whose committee he remained for 16 years, serving as Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Third FINA World Championships in Berlin.

Extending from national to international participation, Eldon served in every office of the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas, now known as Union Americana de Natacion. In 2011, he was named Honorary Life President and presented with the R. Max Ritter Award for contributing to the advancement, understanding and good will among nations.

In 1980, he was appointed to the FINA Technical Diving Committee, and served as a Member, and as the Honorary Secretary and Vice Chairman for 16 years. For 13 years, he was elected a member of the FINA Bureau, serving as liaison to the Technical Diving Committee responsible for decision making policies as they affect FINA. He is now a FINA Honorary Life Member.

Eldon has been a regional and international judge and referee at four Olympic Games, four World Championships, eight World Cups, three Pan American Games and other international events. He has received the FINA Gold Pin, Canadian Sports Award, Alberta Achievement Award and the Calgary Booster Club Award. He has never failed to recognize that it all started in Calgary, at the grass roots level, and he continues to judge diving at the local level.

Together with his wife Carlie Jean, they have received Canada’s Irene
McDonald Award for Volunteerism to Diving, for over 40 years of service.
Eldon Godfrey was inducted into ISHOF as an Honor Contributor in 2012. He is also "One in A Thousand".....Won't you join him?