Saturday, October 31, 2020

What could be more appropriate than the Father of ISHOF, Buck Dawson, being born of Halloween?

 WILLIAM "BUCK" DAWSON (USA) 1986 Honor Contributor

FOR THE RECORD: Founding Executive Director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1964); Known as the "Walking Encyclopedia of the Sport".

He claimed his family never allowed him to swim in public! (Only at night when no one could see!) But Buck Dawson did more for swimming than any non-swimmer in the world.

William Forrest Dawson -- "Buck" is a historian, fundraiser, author, promoter, and of course, prankster.

Buck first got involved with swimming after his marriage to RoseMary Mann -- daughter of the late Matt Mann.  From then on, it went something like this: organizing the Ann Arbor Swim Club, co-directing Matt Mann swim camps in Canada each year (Camp Ak-O-Mak and Camp Chikopi), chairing Michigan women's swim AAU for eight years, and serving three terms on the United States Olympic Swim Committee.  He shared responsibility in starting the women's national collegiates and reviving national women's water polo.

Dawson liked to think of himself as a coach and kept his hand in training marathon swimmers and national long distance individual and team winners in US swimming.  Besides his special gift with children, he has also made magic at the International Swimming Hall of Fame for the first twenty years of it's existence.  Dawson was chosen the Hall's first executive director in 1963.  He has made the Hall grow from an idea to a shoebox collection, and ultimately a million dollar operation as the showcase and archives of swimming.

One of his many great successes at the Hall of Fame was his introduction of Swim-A-Thon to the United States, which increased the endowment of ISHOF and raised funds for individual swim clubs and teams.  This tireless, smiling, globetrotting ambassador of swimming can also be credited for the thousands of athletes, fans and press alike who have flocked to Fort Lauderdale for sun, fun and swimming.

It was Buck who gave the American Swimming Coaches Association some roots back in 1971 when he and the Hall of Fame staff assumed administrative duties for ASCA.  Dawson was a powerhouse not only in ASCA but also in the organization of another association - the National Swim and Recreation Association.

He was also the founder and first president of the Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fame -- a group of some 80 Hall of Fame directors.  Throughout the years, it was Buck who traveled from meet to meet armed with Hall of Fame brochures, books and bumper stickers always spreading the word, always willing to talk and teach swimming to anyone who would listen.

A day didn't go by without "Good Morning, America," "USA Today," "NBC Nightly News" or one of the nation's top swim coaches calling to speak to Buck.  He is respected in this field not only for his knowledge but his zest for life. . . his search for new facts, memorabilia. . . new ways to teach those children to swim and keep the sport alive and growing.  Dawson was the link between our age group swimmers and our swimming legends.  He was the common denominator that ties the past to the present.

Dawson's specialties?  Swimming, diving, synchro, water polo, water safety, open water swimming, bathing suits, bathing beauties. . .

Dawson used to eat, live and breathe swimming.  He wrote numerous books and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards.  Buck WAS the International Swimming Hall of Fame.  Who else would have his dog become an ISHOF mascot, and name him Mark the Spitz? Or snicker at the thought of a dog paddle derby?

Dawson was hype, show business -- an idea and PR man.  Throughout his life, he had always gotten his kicks out of promoting something or somebody else he believed in: during the war it was General Gavin and General Ridgeway- the 82nd Airborne; later his alma mater, the University of Michigan; his family, swim camps and ultimately ISHOF, swimming and swimmers....And let's not forget Marlene Dietrich.

When asked, what did this walking encyclopedia say about himself? "I wouldn't say I'm a workaholic, but I think swimming has been my hobby. . . I have been sort of a little bit of everything.   I feel this (the Swimming Hall of Fame) has been the culmination of my life."

Buck "retired" in 1986, and for the next 20 years, he served as executive director emeritus at ISHOF.  As you can imagine, Buck still came into the office everyday and still put in the 18 hour days. He continued to make the endless journeys and speeches around the world that made him one of swimming's most active and knowledgeable spokesmen in the world of swimming.

We lost Buck in 2008, but we hope to always keep his memory alive within the walls of ISHOF and beyond.  Without Buck, there would never be an International Swimming Hall of Fame.....and so many memories that span his exciting eighty years.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Four Years Ago Tonight: ISHOF hosts 2016 Induction in California

Four years ago tonight, ISHOF hosted the 2016 ISHOF Induction ceremony at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It was a stellar class and we had a turn out of almost 500 people.

Happy Birthday Mary Freeman !


MARY FREEMAN (USA) 1988 Honor Coach/Contributor

FOR THE RECORD: AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 5 (100m, 200m backstroke; 300yd individual medley; 2 relays); COACHING RECORD: AAU National Outdoor Team Champions 1961, 1966 (swimming only); Perennial Eastern U.S. Champions and Middle Atlantic Champions 1956-1968; University of Pennsylvania women's team coach; 1960, 1964 U.S. Olympic Women's Swimming Committee; AAU Women's Swim Committee 1956-1964; All American Women's Swimming Team Selection Committee 1959-1961; AAU Swimming Award Committee Chairman 1965-1968; AAU Joint Rules Committee for Swimming 1962-1964, 1967.

Mary Freeman began swimming as a beginner in the Walter Reed Army Hospital pool in Washington where her chemist father was on the staff.  She went quickly from the worst to one of the best of Jim Campbell's champions who trained at the hospital pool.  Campbell trained his swimmers at six in the morning so the pool could later be heated up for the hospital rehab swim program.  Since Walter Reed quickly became national champions, U.S. swim coaches decided six a.m. workouts should be the law of the land.

By 1951, Mary Freeman was national champion in both backstrokes.  The following year, she made the U.S. Olympic team going to Helsinki.  Her best swimming year was 1953 when she won the nationals in the 300 yard individual medley, the 880 yard freestyle relay and the 330 yard medley relay.

Mary retired in 1953 but missed the sport.  After her marriage to the late Jack Kelly, she started the swimming team at Philadelphia Vesper Boat Club in 1955.  The club quickly became the best in the east and by 1961 they had won their first national team championship.  Mary, generally considered the best American woman swimming coach, (if not the world) produced 15 national champions who went on to win 26 national championships between them, set 10 world records and made the Olympic finals nine times.  Mary Freeman coached both Vesper and the University of Pennsylvania women's team with the philosophy of "Ladies first, swimmers second."  She retired in 1968, at the top, to raise her six children and is now married to Professor Allan Spitzer and lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Happy Birthday Amanda Beard !

 Amanda Beard (USA) 2018 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m medley), silver (100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: bronze (200m breaststroke); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (200m breaststroke), silver (200m I.M., 4x100m medley)

When Amanda Beard started serious training as an 11-year old, no one could have imagined that this California girl, whose role model was the flamboyant bad boy of basketball, Dennis Rodman, would become America’s best female breaststroker at the tender age of 13. Training under coach Dave Salo at Novaquatics Swim Club, her progress was so meteoric that she skipped Junior Nationals, jumping directly from competing against 12-year olds to the Senior Nationals.

In 1995, Amanda stood a little over 5-feet tall and weighed 90 pounds dripping wet. So slender as to appear fragile, yet she was tough enough to win her first U.S. national title and qualify for the Pan Pacs, where she won silver and bronze medals.

When she made her Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996, in the 100m breaststroke, Amanda did not disappoint. Swimming from lane five in the finals, Amanda went from next to last at the halfway mark to next to first, to finish just behind Hall of Famer, Penny Heyns, in American record time. Amanda would leave Atlanta with a second silver in the 200m breast and a gold medal for the 4x100 medley relay.

After the 1996 Atlanta Games, Amanda became a darling of the media. She had breakfast with Dennis Rodman and appeared on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Unfortunately, she also suffered from the post “Olympic blues.” To make matters worse, she was experiencing a four-inch growth spurt and its accompanying extra pounds. Amanda struggled to reach the same speeds that had once come so easily when she was shaped more like a torpedo. In 1997, sportswriters started to wonder if she would ever do anything great in swimming again. Unfortunately, Beard would later say, it was the same negative loop she was playing in her own head, and she was drowning from the pressure of expectations. So, right after Nationals, Amanda decided to quit swimming permanently. Luckily, her sabbatical only lasted a few months. When she decided to return, she took a different approach, she would not put so much pressure on herself and more importantly, she wouldn’t just concentrate on her signature events.

By 1999, Amanda had regained her spark. She was adjusting her technique to suit her new physique and was one of the nation’s most sought-after college recruits. Her choice was to swim for coach Frank Busch at the University of Arizona and when she joined the team in the fall of 1999, she was 5 feet, eight inches tall and weighed 120 pounds.

Amanda was considered an underdog to make her second Olympic team, in 2000. At the Trials, she finished a disappointing eighth in the 100m breast, but the 200 was her best event. She finished second to Megan Quann and had qualified for Sydney.

In Sydney, Amanda struggled, recording the eighth fastest time in both the prelims and semi-finals, which put her in lane eight for the final. After a pep talk from coach Busch, and a painful burst of speed over the final ten meters, she captured the bronze medal by .01 seconds.

It took almost three very difficult years for Amanda to adjust to her new body. When she finally did, she was almost unbeatable. In 2002, she won double gold at the Pan Pacs, in Yokohama, Japan. In 2003, she won gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m at the FINA World Championships. At the 2004 US Olympic Trials, she qualified for four events, while breaking the world record in the 200m breaststroke.

In Athens, Amanda finally won her first individual gold medal when she won the 200m breaststroke in world record time. In the 200m individual medley, she won silver while setting a new American record. She won a second silver medal for the 4x100 medley relay and finished fourth in the 100m breaststroke.

After Athens, she embarked on a mission to turn herself from Olympic Champion into a lucrative brand name. Her life out of the pool was not without its challenges, as she describes in her 2012 memoir, “In the Water, They Can’t See You Cry.” Still, she had enough talent and toughness to train seriously for a few months and qualify for her fourth Olympic appearance, in Beijing, 2008, at the age of 27. At the final team training session, Amanda was elected to serve as one of three co-captains of the women’s Olympic swimming team. Although she placed a disappointing 18th in her signature 200m breaststroke event, she provided a role model for younger members of the team.

In 2009, Amanda married her soulmate, Sacha Brown, who she credits for encouraging her to seek therapy. In September of that same year, Amanda gave birth to their first child, a son, Blaise. After giving birth, she came out of retirement to swim in the 2010 Conoco Phillips National Championships. She had just hoped to be respectable, but finished second in the 200m breaststroke and qualified for the Pan Pacs, once again. This success led her to continue training for a chance to reach her fifth Olympic Games in 2012. After finishing fifth and failing to make the team, she retired again, and in 2013, she gave birth to a daughter, Doone Isla Brown.

Last year, Beard opened the Beard Swim Co., a learn to swim company lead by Amanda, out of Gig Harbor, Washington. Recognized for excellence by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, The Amanda Beard Swim School believes the ability to swim is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to a child.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

NYAC's Coach Gus Sundstrom was born on this day in 1858 !

GUS SUNDSTROM (USA) 1995 Pioneer Coach/Contributor

FOR THE RECORD:  1885, first swim coach and teacher at New York Athletic Club; Promoter of swimming and water polo; Coach of world record holders.

The 1926 edition of the New York Athletic Club's "Winged Foot" magazine read, "Professor Gus Sundstrom at 68 can swim around Manhattan Isle -- Has saved 3 lives, coached America's first great swimmers and is still one of the greatest examples of a good, healthy body."

He was born in 1858 in Brooklyn, the son of a "Scandinavian sea captain. Gus learned to swim at an early age and competed in many races in the rivers throughout New York City, for which winners received financial rewards.

When he was old enough to look after himself, Gus set out to sea on the tall ship, Western Bell.  On one of his worldly trips he was challenged to a mile race, in the Colombian River, by Big Red Fish, an Indian of the Pacific Coast.  Sundstrom was decisively beaten, but noticed the Indian swimming with an out-of-the-water arm recovery and thrashing legs, quite different from Gus' breaststroke and sidestroke.  He took this new stroke and tried to improve upon it.

It was in 1885 that the New York Athletic Club built its first city house in Manhattan, and Gus Sundstrom won the job as swimming instructor.  After competing and winning challenge races in the New York waters, including first ever swims around Manhattan Island, Sundstrom's reputation as a swimmer and New York Athletic Club instructor grew so that by 1890 he was selected as supervisor of swimming for the New York City schools, where he personally taught over 100,000 children to swim over the years.

As a water polo coach, his New York Athletic Club teams won many U.S. National titles, as well as the 1904 Olympic Games gold medal.  His leadership gave the sport notoriety and popularity, inspiring an average of 14,000 fans to attend the championships.  It soon became known as "the roughest game on earth."

Great American world record holders including Charles Daniels, Joe Ruddy and Bud Goodwin all came from the New York Athletic Club and benefited from the tutelage of Professor Gus.  Daniel's use of the over arm with thrashing leg kick dropped his time by eight seconds between his 1904 and 1908 Olympic gold medals.  Gus' achievements caused many people to call him the first great American coach of the modern era.

He not only produced great water polo teams and swimmers, his underwater stunts were known the world over, especially his plunge into the water smoking a cigar and coming up with it still lit.  Gus' own swims as a youth credited him as the champion long distance swimmer of the world, and his personal loyal service of 50 years to the New York Athletic Club earned him the respect of many supporters.  He died in 1936 at the age of 78.

Today we celebrate the birth of Sir Peter Heatly

 Sir Peter Heatly (GBR) 2016 Honor Contributor

FOR THE RECORD: MEMBER FINA TECHNICAL DIVING COMMITTEE: 1966-1988 (Chairman 1984-1988), Honorary Secretary (1972-1984); MEMBER LEN TECHNICAL DIVING COMMITTEE: 1966–1988; CHAIRMAN OF COMMONWEALTH GAMES FEDERATION: 1982-1990; APPOINTED LIFE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES FEDERATION: 1990; 1948 OLYMPIC GAMES: diving competitor, (5th); 1952 OLYMPIC GAMES: diving competitor; 1950 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: gold (10m Platform); 1954 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: silver (3m Springboard); 1958 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: gold (10m platform); 1966 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Scottish Team Manager; 1974 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Scottish Team Manager; CHAIRMAN OF THE SCOTTISH SPORTS COUNCIL: 1975-1987.

As a swimmer, he was the Scottish freestyle champion and record holder over several distances between 1942 and 1947 before deciding to concentrate on diving. Self-taught and self-coached, he won gold medals at the 1950, 1954 and 1958 Commonwealth Games on the 10-meter platform and represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in 1948 in London and in 1952 in Helsinki.

After Peter Heatly’s career as an athlete ended, he decided to give back to the sports he so loved. He would serve the aquatic sports in some capacity for over seventy years at the local, national and international levels as either a manager, official or administrator.

Peter joined the FINA and LEN technical diving committees in 1966, serving as Honorary Secretary of the FINA Committee from 1972 to 1984 and Chairman from 1984 to 1988. He was selected Chairman of the Great Britain Swimming Federation in 1981 and again in 1992. He served as chairman of the National Scottish Learn to Swim Campaign from 1964 to 1974 and went on to become Chairman of the Scottish Sports Council from 1975 to 1987. 

Heatly was involved in 17 consecutive Commonwealth Games from 1950 to 2014, becoming Vice -Chairman of the Organizing Committee, when the Games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1970, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation from 1982 to 1990 after the first ever balloted election.

As a Chartered Civil Engineer, he produced and delivered papers on the design of swimming pools to professional bodies both in Great Britain and Europe. He also received Honorary Doctorates from three universities for his contributions to the sport.

Peter Heatly was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1971 and in 1990 was installed as a Knight of the Realm by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. He was inducted into the Scottish Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Happy Birthday Madame Butterfly

MARY T. MEAGHER (USA) 1993 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 7 WORLD RECORDS: 100m butterfly (2), 200m butterfly (5); OLYMPIC GAMES: 1980 (boycott), 1984 gold (100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 400m medley relay), 1988 bronze (200m butterfly); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1982 gold (100m butterfly), silver (200m butterfly, 400m medley relay), 1986 gold (200m butterfly), silver (400m freestyle relay, 400m medley relay), bronze (100m butterfly); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1979 gold (200m butterfly), 1983 gold (200m butterfly).

Known affectionately as "Madame Butterfly," Mary T. Meagher has held the women's world record for the 100 and 200 meter butterfly for over a decade.  Meagher's records, set in 1981, are steadily approaching the longest-standing world record of all time by Hall of Famer Willy den Ouden of Holland.  Her 100m freestyle record remained untouched from July of 1933 to February of 1956-- 23 years.  Hall of Famer Dawn Fraser had the honor of breaking the famous mark at the Olympic Games in Melbourne.

A member of the 1980, 1984, and 1988 Olympic teams, Mary T. captured gold medals in the 100m butterfly, the 200m butterfly, and the 400m medley relay at the Games in Los Angeles.  Her 100 and 200 fly times were both Olympic records.

In 1981, Meagher established world records in the 200 fly (2:05.96) and the 100 fly (57.93) at the U.S. Long Course National Championships in Brown Deer, Wisconsin.  Her 200 fly time is rated as the fifth-greatest single event performance by Sports Illustrated magazine.  Mary T. holds the top 11 times in history in the 200 fly and is the only woman to swim under 2:07.

Born to parents Jim and Floy of Louisville, Kentucky, Mary T. is the tenth of eleven children in a close-knit family and is known as Mary T. to distinguish her from the eldest Mary in the family, Mary Glen.  The initial stands for her mother's maiden name, Terstegge.

It all began for Mary, when as a 14-year-old girl who wore railroad track braces and traveled with a stuffed green frog named "Bubbles," she set her first world record at the 1979 Pan American Games.

Coached by Dennis Pursely at Lakeside Aquatic Club in Louisville, Mary T.'s success continued as she qualified for the 1980 Olympic Games and then went on to swim to unparalleled world records in 1981.

Mary T. enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in the fall of 1982 and met up with another all-star butterflyer, Hall of Famer and Berkeley head coach Karen Moe Thornton.  During her collegiate career, Mary T. won NCAA Championship each year of her four years with the Golden Bears.

After her wins at the Olympic Games in 1984, Mary T. had planned to retire, but her desire to break her own world record and the fact that she still held 17 of the fastest 200 fly times in the world was enough to convince her to give it another try.  More importantly to Mary, however, as a loyal and dedicated athlete, she would feel badly about staying home.

In a sport where tenths and even hundredths of a second separate first through last place, timing is everything.  At the 1988 Games in Seoul, Mary finished third in the 200 fly final won by Kathleen Nord of the German Democratic Republic.  It is worth mentioning that Mary T. swam faster at the U.S. Trials (2:09.13) than Nord's winning time at Seoul (2:09.51).

Besides her butterfly prowess, Mary T. is known for her genuine personality and cheerful smile.  She was a self-motivator whose desire to succeed, not only for herself but her team, led her to many gold medal performances.

Celebrate the birthday of Australia's Fanny Durack!

FANNY DURACK (AUS) 1967 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1912 gold (100m freestyle); WORLD RECORDS: 11 freestyle  (between 1912 and 1918); 100yd freestyle (1912 to 1921); 100m freestyle (1912 to 1920); 220yd freestyle (1915 to 1921); 500m freestyle (1916 to 1917); 1 mile (1914 to 1926).

The first great woman swimmer was the first Olympic champion, Fanny Durack, Australian, who traveled the world even as Sarah Bernhardt, the champion of champions for many years.  Fanny Durack was already an old-timer when Olympic organizers finally admitted a woman's swimming event in 1912 at Stockholm.  She won, and her records from that time held for 8 or 9 years until American Ethelda Bleibtrey caught up with her as much by age as by talent.

Durack held 11 world records between 1912 and 1918 in the limited world of trudgen swimming and women's Australian crawl 2-beat freestyle.  Her world tours did more to promote swimming than any woman with the possible exception of her Australian countryman Annette Kellerman.  On a U. S. tour in 1912, Miss Durack got newspaper billing as "holding all championships for deep diving and for staying under water continuously."

Fanny Durack not only took on all comers the world over, but beat all comers the world over for 8 years in the formative years of women's swimming.  She did more than any other swimmer to make the term "Australian Crawl" a definition which survives until this day although completely inaccurate.  The Australian crawl of Fanny Durack was a 2-beat kick, an opposite action with one arm stroke, opposite leg action, and completely different from the American crawl, 6-beat kick, completely independent of the arm strokes popular today.

Durack held the 100 yard freestyle record from 1912 to 1921, the 100 meter freestyle record from 1912 to 1920; the 220 yard freestyle record from 1915 to 1921, the 500 meter freestyle record from 1915 to 1917 and the mile record from 1914 to 1926.

Fanny Durack was finally defeated by American Ethelda Bleibtrey but no one did more to dominate women's swimming longer than Australian Fanny Durack.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Happy Birthday Manuel Estiarte !

 Manuel Estiarte (ESP) 2007 Honor Water Polo Player

FOR THE RECORD: 1980 OLYMPIC GAMES: 4th; 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: 4th; 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: 6th; 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver; 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold; 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: 4th; 1991, 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver; 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold; 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999 FINA WORLD CUP: bronze; 1983,1991, 1993, 1997, 1999 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1991), bronze (1983,1993), 5th (1997), 6th (1999);

At just 5'8" and weighing 145 pounds, Manuel Estiarte would seem to be an unlikely candidate to be considered the greatest player of all-time in a sport whose players average 6'3” and 200 plus pounds. But Manuel's career proved once again that it's not the size of the man, but the size of his heart and what's in the head that counts the most. Born in Manresa, Spain, in 1961, Manuel Estiarte began playing water polo as soon as he could swim and at the Barcelona Swimming Club (BSC) was identified as a water polo prodigy. He was 15 when he made his international debut and within three years was the top scorer at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. He repeated as the leading scorer in 1984 Los Angeles with a record 34 goals as the Most Outstanding Player of the Games. He led all players in scoring again in 1988 at Seoul with 26 goals.

In 1992 Estiarte became a national hero after leading Spain to its first-ever Olympic medal, silver, in their host city of Barcelona. But finishing the Games as top scorer again was little comfort following a dramatic gold medal final against Ratko Rudic's Italian team. Estiarte converted a penalty 42 seconds from full time to put Spain ahead, but nine seconds later Italy equalized and went on to win in extra time. Four years later, in Atlanta, Spain and Estiarte were once again in the Olympic final, but this time the result was different. With ten seconds to play and Spain up 7- 5 against Croatia, Estiarte took possession.

"I've dreamt of this moment all my life," he said afterwards. "The last ten seconds of the Olympic final, I have the ball and Spain wins the gold medal. I waited five Olympics, but it finally happened." All totaled, in a career that spanned over two decades, he competed in more Olympic Games, six, and scored more than any other player in Olympic history, 127. He competed in over 578 international games for the Spanish team, scoring over 600 goals. For many years, he played in the Italian Professional League with Club Pescara winning a water polo grand slam of four European Championships. In 1998, he was voted Best Player of the Perth World Championships. “I had the privilege to take part in six Olympic Games, and in each one of them I felt emotions too special to be described. From the first, when I was just a young man, to the last, where I won and I had the honor of carrying my homeland's flag."

Following his retirement after the Sydney Games he served as a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes´s Commission until 2004.

Happy belated Birthday Bobby Webster (October 25)


ROBERT WEBSTER (USA) 1970 Honor Diver

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1960 gold (platform); 1964 gold (platform); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1963 gold (platform); 1971 (U.S. Diving Coach); U.S. NATIONAL AAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1960 through 1964 (won all tower diving contests); 1962 (1m springboard); BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1960 (3m springboard).

"From California to the New York harbor, from the redwood forests to the Gulfstream waters", double Olympic champion Bob Webster's diving career was coast to coast.  He won his Olympic gold medals in Rome and Tokyo.  He came out of California to college at Michigan and now coaches at Princeton.

Webster is primarily known as a tower diver, yet he was U.S. National AAU champion in 1 meter low board (1962) and Big Ten 3 meter high board champion (1960).  Webster won his first Olympic title (10 meter platform) in Rome just three years after he took his first tower dive in competition.  From that date (1960) until his retirement after winning the 1964 Olympic platform title in Tokyo, Webster never lost a tower diving contest.

He won his first collegiate title diving for Santa Ana Junior College, a school without a pool.  He prepared for the Southern Section Junior College Championships training off a board in Olympic champion Sammy Lee's back yard sand pit. From Santa Ana, Webster went to the University of Michigan where he was coached by Dick Kimball and by the late Bruce Harlan, himself an Olympic champion in 1948.

Following his retirement as a competitive diver, Webster took a Far East tour for the State Department and then began a coaching career at Minnesota and Princeton.  Bob was appointed U.S. Diving Coach for the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia.  This trip stands as an honor richly deserved since Webster, in 1963 at Sao Paulo, Brazil, was the first U.S. diver to win 10 meter diving in the history of the Pan American Games.

Friday, October 23, 2020

One Hundred and Fifteen years ago, Open Water Pioneer Swimmer, Gertrude Ederle was born in New York City !!

GERTRUDE EDERLE (USA) 1965 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1924 gold (4x100m freestyle relay), bronze (100m, 400m freestyle); WORLD and NATIONAL RECORDS: 29 (from 1921 to 1925 - in 1922 she set 7 world records in the course of one 500m swim); First woman to swim the English Channel, 1926 (beating all previous times by men).

Gertrude Ederle's two greatest days in swimming were at Brighton Beach in 1922 and in the English Channel in 1926, the first as an amateur, the second as a professional.

At Brighton Beach, Miss Ederle broke seven world records at various distances in the course of a single 500 meter swim.  In England, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Trudy's great Channel swim was 51 years after Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the Channel, had achieved the impossible, and it completely captured the public imagination because such swimming immortals as Annette Kellerman had tried and failed, claiming the feat completely beyond the limits of a woman's strength and endurance.  Gertrude Ederle not only swam the Channel but swam it faster than any man before her.

She held 29 U.S. national and world records from 1921 until she turned professional after the 1925 season.  Her amateur national championships were won at distances from 50 yards to the half mile and her great professional Channel effort was 20 miles.  Olympian Ederle was tough at any distance at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Gertrude Ederle was the female counterpart of Johnny Weissmuller in that they were discussed in every household as the two greatest swimming figures of the 1920s, idols of the "Golden Age of Sport".

When "Trudy", as she was known, returned from Europe after her successful channel swim, the city held a ticker-tape parade in her honor in New York City.   It was the largest parade the city had ever seen.  People were everywhere, falling off  sidewalks and into the streets, all just to get a glance of Trudy.

The parade was held in the Canyon of Heroes, a section in lower Manhattan that starts at about City Hall Park and ends at the Battery.  It's about a mile long stretch.  It is estimated that Ederle's parade drew more than two-million people, who lined the streets of New York.

Ederle was inducted into ISHOF's first class of Honorees.  Of course, she certainly deserved it.  She became fast friends with Buck Dawson and returned several times after her induction in 1965, to help support ISHOF and induct other Honorees.  Here she is below in 1978, helping induct Honor Swimmer, Lynn Burke.

Ederle never married, but went on to teach children, particularly deaf children to swim.  She lived to be 98 years old and died on November 30, 2003. 

Those of you who remember Buck Dawson and Bob Duenkel, may be interested to know that up until the end, Bob and Buck would stop in and visit with Trudy every year on their way to and from Camp in the Summers.

ISHOF Aquatic Center Manager, Laura Voet, visits Gate Precast, who will construct our new High Dive Tower

The Beginning Phase of the 27 meter High Dive Tower

by Laura Voet

The time has come for us to dive in to the precast concrete fabrication process.

A few pictures from our field trip to Gate Precast in Kissimmee on October 16, 2020.   We were there to select the color and textures for the dive tower and review the construction plans.

The Kissimmee plant manager stated that the dive tower is a very complex structure with a high degree of difficulty, we definitely get the gold medal for most challenging design!   Gate Precast has considerable experience with air traffic control towers, Fort Lauderdale’s dive tower is a new cousin in this family. 

Gate’s headquarters are in Jacksonville and they have eight plants across the southeast United States.  It was an impressive operation and yard, all carpentry forms and iron work is constructed in house.

Manufacturing of the panels will begin this fall, followed by delivery in January 2021.  The dive tower will be erected in February 2021. 

As a unique and one of a kind structure, the dive tower construction process will be featured in a video documentary.

Check out the links below to see more about Gate Precast.




Today, we celebrate Honor Water Polo Player, Deszo Gyarmati, born on this day in 1927...

DESZO GYARMATI (HUN) 1976 Honor Water Polo Player


Dezso Gyarmati is beginning his water polo coaching career at the top where he left off as a player.  Considered by most to be the greatest player of the modern post-World War II passing game, he led Hungary to Olympic gold medals three times.  As Hungarian National Coach he won the first World Championships in Yugoslavia where his world record daughter, Andrea, was Hungary's top woman swimmer.

On this day in 1894, ISHOF Honor Swimmer Belle Moore was born.....

 BELLE MOORE (GBR) 1989 Honor Pioneer Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1912 gold (400m freestyle relay).

In 1912, Belle Moore became the first and only Scottish woman to win an Olympic gold medal for swimming.  The 1912 Stockholm Olympics were the first ever for women's swimming competition. Belle, along with Hall of Famer Jennie Fletcher and two teammates from England, won the 400 meter freestyle relay for Great Britain.  King Gustav V of Sweden adorned her with her Olympic gold medal and laurel wreath.

Number eight of nine children, Belle started swimming because it was mandatory in all Glasgow schools.  Her instructor encouraged her to continue and because she was so dedicated she often walked 2 to 3 miles to a pool.

As the lead-off swimmer, dressed in a wooly tank suit and wearing a red rubber cap with bow to cover her long hair, Belle and her team from Great Britain beat nine other teams for the Olympic gold.  She continued her winning ways into the next year by setting the 200 yard freestyle record which remained unbroken for many years.

In 1919, she married George Cameron, a naval architect and moved to Dundalk, Maryland, USA where she lived until her death in 1975.  She continued to swim in her adult years and taught thousands of youngsters to swim.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Happy Birthday Sue Pedersen !!!


SUE PEDERSEN (USA) 1995 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  1968 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay), silver (100m freestyle, 200m individual medley), 4th (400m individual medley); 3 WORLD RECORDS: (200m freestyle, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay); 1967 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: silver ( 800m freestyle, 200m , 400m individual medley); 6 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS; 4 U.S. NATIONAL RECORDS; 9 AMERICAN RECORDS.

At the age of three, Sue Pedersen had so much extra energy that her family doctor instructed her parents to "find something for her to do."  Following the doctor's advice, they introduced her to a swimming pool where her tremendous energy became loads of talent, making history.

Sue became the greatest age group swimmer of her era.  She was the first 10 and under age group swimmer to break a minute in the 100 yard freestyle.  The following year she shocked her audience by becoming the youngest girl to set a senior American record.

Her parents, who regarded her swimming as a "family affair," often had to present proof of age to judges who had a hard time believing that one so young could swim so fast.

In her first senior level meet at the AU Swimming Championships, Sue humbled the world's top swimmers by capturing the 500 yard freestyle event.  Her record-breaking style continued at the 1968 Olympic Trials when she came out No. 1, smashing the American record and found a spot as "Baby Sue" of the Olympic team.

Celebrating her 15th birthday at the Olympics, she received many gifts including a few from herself: two gold medals in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay and the 4x100 meter medley relay and two silver medals in the 100meter freestyle and the 200 meter individual medley.

Shortly after the Olympics, Sue decided to retire while still a champion.  Throughout the years, Sue has instilled in her daughter, Trish, the values she learned through swimming.  Trish is an accomplished equestrian rider and is now in her first year of medical school.  Sue lives in Tacoma, Washington and works as a certified public accountant.

Happy Birthday Melissa Belote !!!

MELISSA BELOTE  (USA) 1983 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1972 gold (100m, 200m backstroke; 400m medley relay); WORLD RECORDS: 4 (200m backstroke; medley relay); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 GOLD (200m backstroke), silver (100m backstroke; relay); AAU NATIONALS: 6 (1972, 1973, 1975); AMERICAN RECORDS: 9 (100m, 200m backstroke; relays); WOMEN'S NATIONAL COLLEGIATE Titles: 3 (1977: 100yd, 200yd backstroke; 400yd individual medley).

What American girl swimmer won three gold medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics?  The answer is Melissa Belote.  What American girl swimmer won one of our only two gold medals against the East Germans in the First World Championships?  The answer, again, Melissa Belote.  

Miss Belote came from nowhere in the 1972 Olympic Trials to beat the reigning queen of the American Backstroke, Susie Atwood.  In Munich they again finished one, two, as Melissa set a World and Olympic Record to win the 200m Back.  Nominated twice for the Sullivan Award, in 1972 & 1973, she again made the team for the 1976 Montreal Games.  

During the 1976-77 season, Melissa finished first in College All-American ratings for the 200yd & 400yd I.M., and the 200yd Back.  For this season she also won the AIAW & Broderick Awards as "Outstanding Female College Swimmer."  Melissa retired in 1979 and was inducted into the Arizona State University Hall of Fame in 1981.  Following the retirement of her longtime mentor, Ed Solotar, she is now co-coach of the Solotar Swim Team.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Happy Birthday to the Great Laurie Lawrence !!!

 LAURIE LAWRENCE (AUS) 1996 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: Team Coach; 1982, 1986 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Team Coach; Swimming Coach since 1966; Coach of swimmers Jon Sieben, Duncan Armstrong, Julie MacDonald, Glen Buchanan, Justin Lemberg, Glen Houseman, Helen Gray, Steve Holland and Tracy Wickham; Author of Lawrence of Australia, Sink or Swim and Babies Can Swim videotape.

His own voice beams with enthusiasm, pride and with the feeling that nothing easy is worth doing.  It is defying the odds...doing the impossible that excites Laurie Lawrence.  He is the master innovator.  He inspires confidence and belief.  No challenge is too great, no task is impossible.  Everyone around him soaks in his enthusiasm.

And that is just what Laurie has done - create the atmosphere for his swimmers to succeed.  To some people, Laurie Lawrence is a crazy, over-competitive mad man.  But his shining side, his greatest asset, is his ability and attitude in helping young Australians achieve their goals.  He is the kind of coach who could have coached in any sport and been successful.  Lucky for us, he chose swimming.  Even from his own competitive days as an athlete playing rugby for his country, it was winning for Australia that counted for Laurie.

Win and produce winners is what he did, and in a way that only Laurie Lawrence could do.  His first big charge was Helen Gray, whom he shocked in 1970 by throwing her Queensland silver medal over the fence as his way of saying, "Don't be complacent.  You can be a medalist at the Commonwealth Games if you re-focus, work hard."  She did, winning a silver medal in the 800m freestyle and a berth on the 1972 Olympic Team.  His swimmers include Hall of Famer Steve Holland, the skinny little youngest ever world record holder at age fifteen who set eleven world records in the 800m and 1500m freestyles, and was a World Championship and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, and an Olympic bronze medalist; Hall of Famer Tracy Wickham, five time world record holder for nine and one-half years in the distance freestyle events, World Championship and Commonwealth Games gold medalist; Glenn Buchanan the 1984 100m butterfly double bronze medalist and his teammate Jon Seiben who at the Los Angeles Olympics beat Michael Gross of Germany in the 200m butterfly, setting a new world record; Julie MacDonald, Pan Pacific's gold medalist and Commonwealth medalist and Australia's only 1988 Olympic female medalist, bronze in the 800m freestyle; Hall of Famer Duncan Armstrong, Seoul's 200m freestyle gold medalist and 400m silver medalist and world record holder in the process.  There will be others who will benefit from his iron-hard philosophy of success.  Said Duncan Armstrong, "He had that gift of inspiration.  He could reach into you and you could feel the strength from him."

Most of Laurie's Olympic swimmers learned to swim under his guidance and in his now famous Learn to Swim School for babies, pre-school and school-aged children.  Laurie personally instructs youngsters in swimming and also specializes in teaching physically handicapped children.  Judy Young is one of the swimmers who won the Para-Olympic gold in the 400m freestyle at the Seoul Olympics.  His book, Sink or Swim, on teaching babies is a valuable guide for all parents, and he joins Hall of Famer Virginia Hunt Newman, promoting trust and motivation to teach swimming the comforting way.

From being around the Townsville Pool his father ran, and sparked into swimming by the legendary Hall of Famer Jon Henricks, Laurie Lawrence has become a swimming legend and a maker of champions, capable of lifting the spirits of those around him to soaring heights.  He is many other things too - extrovert, patriot, poet, humorist, singer and now the most sought after motivational speaker in Australia.  His swimmers have set over seventeen world records, and he has coached Aussie Teams to three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic teams.  He possesses the qualities with which he works to instill in every competitor: be proud, persist, work hard, stand tall, don't quit, don't bend, don't break, don't fall.

Laurie was inducted into ISHOF as an Honor Coach in 1996.  In 2018, he was present with ISHOF's highest award, the Gold Medallion.  His program "Five Alive" is teaching children all over Australia water safety and to learn to swim.  With his outgoing personality and love for life, Laurie is quite the celebrity down under.

Craig Beardsley Joins ‘One in a Thousand’ Campaign, “The Hall of Fame Connects All Of Us”


13 October 2020, 01:54pm

Pan American Games gold medalist and former 200 butterfly world record holder Craig Beardsley has joined the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One in a Thousand” campaign, which is designed to help the Hall of Fame thrive during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I donate because when I was a kid, we would go to Fort Lauderdale and the Hall of Fame was there,” Craig Beardsley said. “As a young athlete, it was burned into my brain the importance of something like this! The importance of having an international swimming hall of fame to acknowledge not only the athletes but everyone in aquatic sports.

“People should know of our sport and the people that came before them and what they did to get the sport to where it is today. We all are on the shoulders of giants. For me, it was the 72 and 76 Olympic teams that kicked it off for me.

“Swimmers are a unique group of people and we are a family and whenever you meet a competitive swimmer, there is an instant connection and bond. You meet someone and go, ‘hey you’re a swimmer?’ and next thing you know there are a million things you’re talking about. It makes the world a better place to have similarities and the same things we experience. It’s a bond that lasts through your lifetime. I think the Hall of Fame is a big part of that – it is part of the glue that actually holds us all together. I love the fact that even though I can’t make every banquet, I can read the newsletters and hearing who is getting inducted and who gets an award. It keeps us engaged at a different level, to see what our friends are doing.

“The Hall of Fame for me always goes beyond just swimming. It means a lot more to me. That’s why I donate all the time because I’ve developed friendships within the organization and it means a great deal to me. I don’t swim Masters but I am involved with Swim Across America so I stay engaged. That’s what the hall of fame does! It keeps us connected around the world which I think is really important. The swimming bond lasts a lifetime.”

Join 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

Craig Beardsley: 1980 Olympian

By John Lohn

Craig Beardsley by Tim Morse - 3 (1)

Craig Bearsley. Photo Courtesy: Tim Morse / Swimming World Archive

History views Craig Beardsley as an American great in the 200 meter butterfly. He was preceded by Carl RobieMark Spitz and Mike Bruner. He was followed by Mel StewartTom Malchow and Michael Phelps. But Beardsley is missing the Olympic gold medal they all possess, and by no fault of his own. He was a victim of circumstance and political turmoil.

At the height of his career, like many of his United States teammates, Beardsley was poised to capture gold in the 200 butterfly at the 1980 Games. He was the Pan American champion in 1979, earning him favorite status for Moscow. But when President Jimmy Carter announced the United States would boycott the Olympiad, Beardsley’s dream was crushed.

His nightmare only grew darker four years later, when in pursuit of redemption, Beardsley placed third in his prime event at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The finish locked him out of a trip to Los Angeles and led him into retirement. It was also the first year in which nations were limited to two athletes per event, rather than three.

“The lesson I learned from that was actually a very good life lesson,” Beardsley once said of his boycott ordeal. “Sometimes, you do everything in your power, you do everything you’re supposed to do, but sometimes things are just out of your control. You’ve got to learn to put that behind you, let it roll off your shoulders, and just move on.”

Even without an Olympic appearance and hardware, Beardsley’s accomplishments are impressive.

  • Two world records (with his reign atop the event lasting for more than three years)
  • Gold medals at the 1979 and 1983 Pan American Games
  • A bronze medal at the 1982 World Championships

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that his first world record was an emphatic rebuttal to what unfolded—without his presence—at the 1980 Olympics. Just 10 days after the Soviet Union’s Sergey Fesenko won gold in a time of 1:59.76, Beardsley blasted that performance with a global standard of 1:58.21. The effort left no doubt who was the dominant man in the event.


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.