Monday, November 30, 2020

Olympian Mark Tewksbury Appointed Companion of the Order of Canada


Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada Friday, in recognition of his athletic and advocacy achievements.

The honor is the highest level within the Order of Canada, bestowed to only 165 living Canadians at a time, honoring those who make the most extraordinary contributions to the nation. Tewksbury was among four athletes appointed to the Order, along with Olympic rower Sandra Kirby as Officer and five-time ice dancing medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as Members.

“I had no idea when I won the Olympics so many years ago that it was just the beginning of my journey, not the end,” Tewksbury said in Canadian Olympic Committee news release. “I have never shied away from standing up for what I believe in or for using my voice to speak for those who might not have been able. It is an incredible honour to be appointed Companion of the Order of Canada not just for my sport accomplishments but for my fight for equity, inclusion and human rights for all.”

Tewksbury, 52, is one of Canada’s most decorated swimming Olympians. He won gold in the men’s 100-meter backstroke in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and earned medley relay golds at consecutive Games, helping the Canadians to silver in Seoul in 1988 and bronze in Barcelona. The Calgary native’s accomplishments include gold in the 100 back and silver in the 200 back at the 1987 Pan Pacific Championships; a silver medal at the 1991 World Championships in Perth in the 100 back; and four gold medals across two Commonwealth Games.

Since his retirement, he has served as an athlete representative to the International Olympic Committee and was the chef de mission for the 2012 Canadian Summer Olympic delegation. Tewksbury sits on the board of directors for both the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Olympic Foundation and has helped mentor young swimmers.

He has been a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, which stemmed from his coming out as gay in the 1990s, working with numerous organizations that fight for gay representation and human rights. Among his many sporting hall of fames (including enshrinement in the International Swimming Hall of Fame) and other accolades, he received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality in 2019.

Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex Thanksgiving Update, November 2020


Training Pool


THANKSGIVING UPDATE from COMMANDER IN CHIEF: LAURA VOET

It was a busy Thanksgiving week at the aquatic center, with each piece falling in line!

🍂🍂 Besides pouring the concrete foundation for the new entry building, Neptune Benson Defender regenerative pool filters were placed inside the filtration room building. Utility site work is progressing, dive well and tower structural elements will continue next week after the holiday.

New Pool filters! Neptune Benson regenerative filters! 
Grandstand and Filtration Room structure.
Seating Capacity - 1,522. New Musco sports lighting.
 
              Inside electrical vault

Old Entrance 
Everyone knows the bottom of the pool is a nice, quiet,
peaceful place; now it’s a great spot for lunch too!


I never realized how much dirt is moved in, 
out and around on a construction job site. It is 
a constant process moving it here and there.



Happy BIrthday 2005 Honor Swimmer David Berkoff !!!

DAVID BERKOFF (USA) 2005 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m medley relay), silver (100m backstroke); 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m medley relay-prelims), bronze (100m backstroke); FOUR WORLD RECORDS: 3-100m backstroke, 1-4x100m medley relay; 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: silver (100m backstroke); THREE U.S.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 100y backstroke (1988, 1991), 100m backstroke (1988); TWO NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 100m backstroke (1987, 1989).

At the 1912 Olympics, USA’s gold medalist Harry Hebner began to recover with his arms out of the water at the same time in the backstroke. In 1920 at Antwerp, Warren Kealoha (USA) was using the alternate arm recovery in his Olympic backstroke swimming. In 1936, Adolph Kiefer began using a straight arm recovery. Thirty years later swimmers began using a bent arm pull under water. All these changes revolutionized backstroke swimming.

Olympian Dave Berkoff was no exception to these great swimmers, for as a swimmer himself, he too, revolutionized backstroke swimming, with his underwater start-and-turn, a move which stirred debate amongst athletes and officials and caused FINA to make an adaptation to the rules governing the amount of the time a swimmer can remain under water after a start-and-turn. Dave’s “Berkoff Blastoff”, as his under water submarine dolphin kick became known, earned him Olympic medals and World Records and caused every backstroke swimmer following him to learn the kick in order to win and set records. His start-and-turn is one of the sports top innovations that has lead to faster times.

Born on November 30, 1966, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dave started swimming because he was not only overweight, he was fat. At one year old, he weighed 30 pounds. At 17 months old, he could speak in complete sentences yet was unable to walk. He eventually shed pounds as he progressed in age group swimming, competing for ten different clubs in the Middle Atlantic Region.

Although he was never a standout swimmer until he entered college, he competed for and learned from the best. From Westchester to Germantown, and coaches Jack Simon to Dick Schoulberg, Berkoff was persistent with his swimming. He attended the William Penn Charter School and in 1985 was accepted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he enrolled and trained under the direction of Coach Joe Bernal. It was during his college years that he began playing around with a start and push off the wall with the hands outstretched overhead and the legs and feet kicking in a dolphin style much like the butterfly. Dave would stay 35 to 40 meters under water on each push off the wall and come up ahead of all the other backstroke swimmers in the race. After placing third in the 100y backstroke at the 1986 NCAA National Championships in Indianapolis, he refined the push off more to his advantage. The next year at the 1987 NCAA Nationals, held at the University of Texas, he won the 100y backstroke race in a time of 48.20 seconds, breaking the NCAA record. He became Harvard’s first NCAA National swimming champion since Bruce Hunter won the 50y freestyle in 1960, twenty-six years earlier. The same year, he won silver medals in the 100m backstroke at both the FISU Games and the Pan American Games.

On August 13, 1988 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Dave broke Igor Poliansky’s (URS) 100m backstroke world record with a 54.95 in the preliminary heat and again in the finals with a 54.91. He broke the record a third time a month and a half later at the Seoul Olympics with a 54.51 in the preliminary heats. Berkoff held the world record for three years before it was broken by USA’s Jeff Rouse. Dave was the first swimmer to go under 55 seconds for the distance.

It was at the 1988 Seoul Olympics that the world saw for the first time at an international competition, the power of the “Berkoff Blastoff” in backstroke swimming. In the 100m race final, Dave was narrowly touched out by Japan’s David Suzuki, who also used a form of the kick. Because the kick created such a stir at the Games, FINA officials voted immediately after the Games to limit the under water portion of the race coming off the wall, by reducing the under water part to ten meters. Every backstroke world record holder since has used the “dolphin kick” as part of their start-and-turn. Even butterfly and freestyle swimmers have adopted it in their start-and-turns.

In his final event of the Seoul Games, the 4x100m medley relay, Dave, swimming backstroke, and his teammates Richard Schroeder (breast), Matt Biondi (fly) and Chris Jacobs (free) won the gold medal in a world record time of 3:36.93.

After Seoul, Dave returned home to Harvard competing in and winning another NCAA National Championship 100y backstroke title again in record time. After graduation he went into semi-retirement but then in 1991, back in competition, he placed in the consolation finals of the 100m backstroke and 200m I.M. at the Pan Pacific Championships. He won the 100m backstroke at the U.S.S. National Championship, qualified for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Team and came home from Spain with a 100m medley relay gold medal for swimming in the preliminary heat.

All totaled in Olympic competition, Berkoff had won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal. He set three backstroke world records, was on a world-record setting medley relay team and is best known today as the man who revolutionized the stroke. Today he is a lawyer living, working and coaching in Missoula, Montana. He and fellow Olympian Matt Biondi are co-founders of the Delphys Foundation for Marine Study, specifically the study of dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.

Happy Birthday 2005 USA Honor Water Polo Player: Craig Wilson!

 Craig Wilson (USA) 2005 Honor Water Polo Player

FOR THE RECORD: 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver; 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver; 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: Fourth; 1982, 1986, 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: team member; 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1990 FINA WORLD CUP: team member; 1991 FINA WORLD CUP: gold; 1981 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: silver; 1983 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold; 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold; 1991 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: silver; Five U.S. Water Polo National Championships; Voted World’s Top Goal Keeper.

Craig “Willy” Wilson rivals Hall of Famer Zdravko Kovacic (YUG) as one of the greatest goalies to play the game of water polo. He is a three-time Olympian playing in 1984, 1988, and 1992 winning silver medals in 1984 and 1988. From 1981 to 1992, he played in over 211 international tournaments. His six-foot, ten-inch, out- stretched arm length made it very difficult for opponents to score.

Craig was born on February 5, 1957, in Beeville, Texas, but at age four moved with his family to California living in Tujunga for seven years and Davis for eight years. As a kid, he loved any sport where there was a ball or a pool. He first played organized sports with Little League Baseball, playing first base, pitcher and right field and won the league championship. He began organized swimming at age 11, specialized in backstroke, but yearned for a team-oriented sport. He joined the water polo team.

Craig’s water polo career started at age 13 with the Davis Recreational Water Polo Team. There was no league, only games amongst themselves. At Davis High School, he started playing goalie, even wearing braces, and played his way to high school All-American status in 1975. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, he played water polo his junior and senior year, starting as a walk-on, fifth-string goalie and advancing to starting goalie and an NCAA National Championship, beating UCLA in the finals, 12-3. Craig became NCAA first team All-American.

With the end of his collegiate career, Craig envisioned his water polo playing days over, but in 1980, he was invited to join the National Team Training Squad, again as fifth-string goalie. He joined the Industry Hills Aquatic Club Team (1981-1982) and the team won the National Outdoor Club Championships each of the two years. As a member of the National Team, he quickly advanced and for the next 13 years, he played in 19 major tournaments including: 1981 Pan American mini-tournament – 2nd, Edmonton Canada; 1981 World Student Games – 2nd, Bucharest, Romania; 1982 National Sports Festival – 4th, Colorado Springs; 1982 World Championships – 6th, Guayaquil, Ecuador; 1982 Tungsram Cup – 3rd, Budapest, Hungary; 1983 Fina Cup – 4th, Malibu, California; 1983 Pan American Games – 1st, Caracas, Venezuela; 1984 Tungsram Cup – 2nd, Budapest, Hungary; 1984 Olympic Games – 2nd, Los Angeles, USA; 1986 Goodwill Games – 2nd, Moscow, Russia; 1986 World Championships – 4th, Madrid, Spain; 1987 Pan American Games – 1st, Indianapolis, USA; 1987 Fina Cup – 4th, Thessaloniki, Greece; 1988 Olympic Games – 2nd, Seoul, Korea; 1990 Goodwill Games – 5th, Seattle, USA; 1991 World Championships – 4th, Perth, Australia; 1991 Fina Cup – 1st, Barcelona, Spain; 1991 Pan American Games – 2nd, Havana, Cuba; 1992 Olympic Games – 4th, Barcelona, Spain.

The 6 feet 5 inch, 190 pound Wilson, led every major tournament in saves since 1984, the same year he tended goal for the USA silver medal-winning team at the Los Angeles Olympics, where they were a close second behind Yugoslavia. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the USA again won the silver medal behind Yugoslavia. Wilson led the tournament with 68 saves, 10 saves ahead of Spain’s Jesus Rollan with 58 saves. U.S. coach Bill Barnett said, “Without Craig, we would have never gone as far as we did. He was our saving grace.” Four years later when finishing his Olympic career at Barcelona in 1992, the USA placed fourth behind Italy, Spain and the Unified Team. But Wilson was credited with an Olympic record, most saves at 88, which translated to a 70% efficiency. Gold medalist, Italy’s Francesco Attolico had a 54% efficiency, silver medalist, Spain’s Jesus Rollen had a 56% efficiency and bronze medalist, Unified’s Evgenyi Sharanov had a 57% efficiency.

Barcelona was the third straight Olympiad that the 35 year old led all goalies in numbers of saves. No other goalie in the sports history is even close to matching this accomplishment. He was selected outstanding goalie at the 1992 French International, Tungsram Cup and Catania Tournament. He was a member of the 1991 World Championship Team competing in Perth, Australia and was also a member of three Pan American Teams winning two gold medals (1983, 1987) and a silver medal (1991). He was voted two times as the World’s Top Goalkeeper. He competed on five FINA World Cup Teams for the U.S. (1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991) winning the gold medal in 1991.

Craig competed for two years in the Italian professional water polo league, signing a contract with Ortegia in Sicily, a division one team that represented the seaside town of Siragusa, the islands oldest settlement started by the Greeks more than 2000 years ago. He was only the second American player signed to play in Italy and the first defensive player signed. Each weekly match drew 10,000 spectators usually with radio and television coverage.

As team goalie, Craig was a field leader, coach and wasn’t afraid to take risks. He thrived on the responsibility of having a direct impact on the outcome of the game. Craig is also the author of The Guide to Water Polo Goalkeeping, an illustrated booklet for water polo goalies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to our favorite Podiatrist !!!

 Marcella MacDonald (USA) 2019 Honor Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 16 ENGLISH CHANNEL CROSSINGS INCLUDING 3 DOUBLE CROSSINGS, LOCH NESS (36 km/22 miles), AROUND THE ISLAND OF JERSEY UK (66 km/41 miles), EDERLE SWIM (28 km/17.5 miles), Three times across LONG ISLAND SOUND (27 km/17 miles), 5 times around MANHATTAN ISLAND (46 km/28.5 miles), MOLOKAI CHANNEL (42 km/26 miles), TAMPA BAY (24 miles), 3 times BOSTON HARBOR (10 miles), MAUI CHANNEL (10 miles), MERCER ISLAND, WA (20 km/12.4 miles) and the TRIPLE CROWN.

When she was just 12-years-old, she knew open water swimming was her passion, and she told her younger sister that she would swim the English Channel one day.

In high school, Marcella MacDonald swam competitively until she was 17, and went to American International College as a softball player. While in college, she would sneak into the nearby Springfield College pool during her free time to swim.

In 1993, MacDonald first heard of an opportunity to swim around the island of Manhattan and has since completed the 28.5-mile swim five times.

In 1994, Marcella MacDonald made her childhood dream come true, at the age of 28. Since then, she has swum the English Channel 16 times, including three times when she did a double cross, swimming there and back. MacDonald was the first American woman to swim across the Channel, from England to France and back in 2001.

At 18.2 nautical miles, the English Channel is considered by many to be the “Mount Everest” of open water swims. Only 1500 men and women have successfully swam the English Channel and many, many more have tried. The trek generally starts at the White Cliffs of Dover at Shakespeare Beach and ends on the shore of Cape Gris Nez. By many accounts, it is the most difficult swim to finish. It’s a very cold, 20-mile swim in water that is much saltier, and the changing tides approaching the French shore can force swimmers to basically swim in place for up to four hours.

The English Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon swim are a part of the Triple Crown of open water swimming, which also features the Catalina Channel Swim, a 20.1-mile swim from Catalina Island to the shores of San Pedro, California. MacDonald completed the triple crown in June, 2013 when she swam the Catalina Channel in 12 hours and 9 minutes.

MacDonald has also successfully completed the 24-mile Tampa Bay, Florida Marathon Swim, a solo swim around Mercer Island in Washington, and a 17-mile swim across the Long Island Sound in New York.

She has successfully crossed the Ka ’iwi Channel and Maui Channel in Hawaii and has also completed the 41-mile Round Jersey solo swim in the United Kingdom. MacDonald also swam the Lochness, a 22 mile swim.

This past September, MacDonald even attempted the 52-mile swim from the UK to Belgium in St. Margaret’s Bay, something no man or woman has ever completed. After 15 hours, an injury to her left shoulder forced her to stop at a beach north of France.

In addition to her open water swimming accomplishments, Dr. Marcella MacDonald is a Podiatrist who operates her own practice in Manchester, Connecticut. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching at the Laurel East Hartford YMCA and gives talks about her exciting adventures and open water swims.

MacDonald has already been inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named the Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year in 2011 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

MacDonald still finds the time to train to ensure she is ready for the next big swim. She is usually in the water training every day at 5:30 a.m. This July, she is set to swim the English Channel again, on the 25th anniversary of her first crossing. The way she puts it, “it’s just right stroke, left stroke, right stroke, left stroke — for hours on end.”

Happy Birthday Honor Swimmer Tracey Wickham !!!


           TRACEY WICKHAM  (AUS) 1992 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1976 Olympic Team Member; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1978, gold (400m & 800m freestyle); AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 17 (200m, 400m, 800m & 1500m freestyle, 100m butterfly); WORLD RECORDS: 5 (400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle); COMMONWEALTH GAMES: 1978, gold (400m & 800m freestyle), silver (200m freestyle & relay), bronze (relay); 1982 (400m & 800m freestyle); U.S. OPEN RECORD: 1 relay; AAU: 1 relay; FINA CUP: 1979, silver (400m freestyle), 6th (100m butterfly), 5th & 6th (relays).

Tracey Wickham of Australia set world records in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle in 1978.  It was not until 1987 that Janet Evans of the USA broke them-- a period of 9 1/2 years.  All totaled, she set five world records in the 400-meter, 800-meter and 1500-meter freestyles in a a period of two years.

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1962, Tracey began swimming at age eight and broke her first State age group record in the 200-meter backstroke at age 10.  Her first National gold medal came in the 200-meter individual medley at age 12, but it was the middle and distance freestyles which were to be Tracey's strong events.  By age 13, she had made the 1976 Australian Olympic team as the youngest competitor on the team.

It was the year following the Olympics that Tracey and her family moved to Mission Viejo for a nine month period and trained with Mark Shubert.  Upon returning to Brisbane, Tracey broke the 1500-meter freestyle world record in a solo swim.  Two weeks later she broke the 800-meter freestyle world record and only six months later, the 400-meter freestyle world record.  Before the next year was over, she broke the 1500-meter and 800-meter freestyle world records again.

Tracy dominated the middle distance freestyle event for women in the years preceding the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

In 1978 Tracey started a nine week international swimming tour in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, by taking six seconds off the 800-meter freestyle world record of teammate Michelle Ford at the Commonwealth Games.  Next came the Berlin World Championships that same month and another record in the 400-meter freestyle where she also went on to win the 800-meter freestyle a few days later.  She became Australia's only gold medalist at the Championships and her country's first gold medalist in World Championship history.  Her remarkable accomplishments were all the more spectacular as her taper was getting stale after nine weeks on the road.  Six months later she reset the 1500-meter freestyle world record in the Australian Championships in Perth.

Tracey was selected for the 1980 Australian Olympic team but pulled out for personal and family reasons.  She retired, but came back eight months later to win gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle at the Australian National Championships.  Her coach, Laurie Lawrence, was her inspiration to continue training for the 1982 Commonwealth Championships in her hometown of Brisbane where she repeated her 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle victories from four years earlier and took the silver in the 200-meter freestyle.

Before Tracey was through, she had 260 Australian records, twelve Commonwealth records, and was voted the Australian Sportsperson of the Year in 1978, as well as receiving the Australian Sportswoman of the Year, 1978 and 1979.  Queen Elizabeth presented her with the prestigious M.B.E.--Member of the British Empire recognition in 1978.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Happy Birthday Larisa Ilchenko !!!

 Larisa Ilchenko (RUS) 2016 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (10km); 2004 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (5km); 2005 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (5km); 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (5km, 10km); 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (5km, 10km); 2008 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (5km, 10km); 2009 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (5km); 2006 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (5km)

This eight-time World Champion was unbeatable in major international competition beginning with her 2004 debut in Dubai as a 16-year-old, to her dramatic victory at the inaugural Olympic open water race at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Larisa Ilchenko was born in 1988, in the Russian city of Volgograd. She began swimming at age four, to build up her strength, but when she began winning competitions, she decided to become a serious competitive swimmer. The 200 and 400-meter freestyle were Larisa’s favorite distances, but she was also quite successful on relay teams, too. She tried open water swimming for the first time in 2004. Although she placed third in the Russian championships in the 5k, her coach decided to take her to the FINA World Championship event in Dubai, over the second place finisher. At age 16, she surprised everyone by beating American Sara McLarty, and won the gold in the 5k by over 30 seconds. Many people in the open water community thought it was a fluke, but Larisa was determined to prove everyone wrong.

She did just that the next year when she won the 5K race at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Montreal. At the 2006 World Open Water Championships in Naples, Italy, she swam to gold in both the 5K and 10K races, a feat she would repeat at the 2007 FINA World Aquatics Championships, in Melbourne, Australia and the 2008 World Open Water Championships in Seville, Spain.

Three months after her victories in Spain, she competed in the Olympic Games in Beijing, where the 10K Open Water Swimming event became part of the Olympic program for the first time. Larisa Ilchenko won the first gold medal presented in Olympic competition for open water swimming.

It has been said that Larisa Ilchenko was if nothing, predictable. She swam all her races with a proven open water strategy, now dubbed, “The Ilchenko”. She lagged just behind the leaders, drafting off them during 90% of the race, saving the majority of her energy before unleashing herself on the pack with a sprint in the final 200-400 meters. This strategy is now very typical of the world’s very best open water swimmers. It was that strategy that won her five consecutive 5k World Championship titles, as well as titles in the three major pre-Olympic 10k races.

Swimming World Magazine named her Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2006, 2007 and 2008. She had eight world titles and one Olympic gold under her belt when she decided to retire in 2010. Larisa Ilchenko will always be remembered as the first gold medalist in the women’s Marathon 10km Open Water Swimming event in Olympic history.

On this day in 1915, the amazing Pioneer Honor Swimmer, Alfred Nakache was born in Algeria.....

 

Alfred Nakache (FRA) 2019 Honor Pioneer Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1936 OLYMPIC GAMES: 4TH (4x200m freestyle); 1948 OLYMPIC GAMES; 1938 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (4x200m freestyle); WORLD RECORD: 200m breaststroke (1941), 3x100m relay 3 strokes (1946); FRENCH CHAMPION: 13 titles, including 9 consecutive: 100m freestyle (1935-38, 41, 42), 200m freestyle (1937-38, 1941–42), 400m freestyle (1942), 4x200m freestyle (1937-39, 1942, 1944-52); 1931 NORTH AFRICAN CHAMPION: 100m freestyle in 1931; 1935 MACCABIAH GAMES: silver (100m freestyle)

The name of Mark Spitz with his unprecedented seven gold medals and seven world records at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games stands out above all other achievements in Jewish sports history, but the title for the first great Jewish butterfly swimmer, belongs to another and this is his story. This is the story of French Algerian, Alfred Nakache.

With shoulders lined with hard and protruding muscles, “Artem” as he was known, took part in his first French Championships, in 1933, in Paris where he later moved from Algeria that summer, to train and to pursue a degree in Physical Education. At the 1934 French Nationals, he placed second in the 100m freestyle, behind his idol, Jean Taris. In 1935, Artem was one of 1,000 Jewish athletes who traveled to Tel Aviv to attend the second annual Maccabiah Games.

In front of Hitler, in 1936, at the Berlin Olympic Games, Nakache finished fourth in the 4×200m freestyle relay along with teammates, Christian Talli, René Cavalero and Jean Taris. Although they didn’t make the podium, they had the pleasure of beating the Germans -who finished fifth- in their home country.

Between 1935 and 1938, Artem Nakache won seven national titles and began training in the new butterfly-breaststroke. After receiving his certificate as a professor of Physical Education, in 1939, he stopped training to join the French Air Force in preparation for war with Germany.

In the early part of the 1940’s, Nakache was forced to flee to Toulouse, into the unoccupied “Free Zone”, with his new wife Paule. There he was welcomed like a son by two historical figures of French swimming, coach Alban Minville and Jules Jany. He was provided a gym to run and he began training with Minville’s Toulouse Olympic Employee’s Club Dauphins. In 1941 and 1942 Nakache won six French National titles, but the high point of his career came on July 6th, 1941—when he broke American Jack Kasley’s world record, and Germany’s Joachim Balke’s European record, in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:36.8. His world record would last five years, until broken in 1946 by Hall of Famer Joe Verdeur of the USA.

As anti-Semitic persecution was intensifying across Europe, the French media was split in their support for Nakache. While Jean Borotra, the courageous Vichy Commissioner of Sport and Wimbledon tennis champion, celebrated his achievements, others called for his exclusion from national competitions and the record books because of his “Jewishness.”

In 1943, the French Swimming Federation finally gave in to the pressure from the Germans and banned Alfred Nakache from swimming in their 1943 National Championships. Although many of the country’s best swimmers refused to compete without Nakache, their support couldn’t save him from the Nazis. Finally, in December of 1943, Nakache, his wife and daughter, were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Upon arrival he was immediately separated from his family.

Toward the end of the war, Nakache was moved to Buchenwald, where he was freed by the Allies in 1945. Of the 1,368 men, women and children in their death camp convoy, Nakache was one of only 47 who survived. His wife and daughter did not. Four months later and weighing less than 100 pounds, he returned to Toulouse, where he lived with the Jany family. Amazingly, less than a year after the liberation of Buchenwald, he was part of the French team in 1946 that set a world record in the 3×100m medley relay and reclaimed his title as French national champion in the 200m breaststroke.

He completed a truly remarkable comeback by qualifying for the 1948 French Olympic Team in two sports. At the London Games, 34-year-old Alfred Nakache swam well enough to reach the semi-finals in the 200m breaststroke, and after swimming concluded, he was a member of the French water polo team that finished in sixth place overall.

Nakache retired from swimming in the early 1950s and devoted himself to his gym and teaching. In addition, he helped train 1952 Olympic champion Jean Boiteux. With his long over-due induction, Nakache will forever be reunited with his idol, Jean Taris, his coach Alban Minville and world-record setting relay teammates, Georges Vallery and Alex Jany, into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Open Water Swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze was born on this day in 1900...

 Mercedes Gleitze (GBR) 2014 Honor Pioneer Open Water Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: BRITISH LONG DISTANCE SWIMMER: 1921-1932; FIRST EUROPEAN FEMALE TO SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL: 1927; FIRST SWIMMER TO COMPLETE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR: 1928; COMPLETED 51 ENDURANCE SWIMS, HALF OF THEM LASTING OVER 26 HOURS.

When Winston Churchill defined success as going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm, he might have been thinking of Mercedes Gleitze.

She worked as a stenographer but dreamed of being a professional swimmer and the first woman to swim across the English Channel. But swimming the Channel would not be easy for Mercedes Gleitze. She made her first attempt in 1922, failed seven times and lost her dream to Gertrude Ederle in 1926. But she had a never-say-die spirit and became the first English woman to conquer the Channel, on her eighth attempt, in 1927.

Mercedes Gleitze may have been lost to history if the Channel Swimming Association had not questioned the legitimacy of her swim. She was so upset by the insinuation of cheating, that she announced she would swim it again 14 days later, to prove the naysayers wrong. Of course this caused a big media stir, and brought her to the attention of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of the Rolex watch company. For what she called her “vindication swim” Wilsdorf asked her to wear his newly invented “Oyster,” the world’s first waterproof watch. She agreed and wore it on a ribbon around her neck. Afterwards, the Oyster was found to have kept perfect time throughout its immersion. The swim itself, however, was not successful . The water was much colder than it had been a fortnight earlier and Mercedes had to be pulled out of the sea. Still, the Association admired her pluck, acknowledged her courage in undertaking this swim and agreed to recognize her first swim. It also proved to be a brilliant piece of marketing for the Rolex.

It wasn’t just her association with Rolex that made Mercedes Gleitze an international sports celebrity. In the years that followed, she set dozens of marathon and endurance records around the globe. The media followed her every move and marketers established connections between her stamina and glamour - with products as varied as honey, tea, whiskey and corsets. Her reputation was further enhanced when she established a Fund for Destitute Men and Women.

In an era when women were taught to believe that their role in life was purely domestic, the star persona of Mercedes Gleitze inspired women and girls around the globe to realize they were not weak and fragile human beings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Happy Birthday Michael Wenden !!!

 MICHAEL WENDEN (AUS) 1979 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1968 gold (100m, 200m freestyle), silver (800m freestyle relay), bronze (400m freestyle relay); WORLD RECORDS: 6; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 (1 silver, 1 bronze); AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 10; COMMONWEALTH GAMES: 1966, 1970, 1974 (9 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze); His honors include the Royal Order of the British Empire.

In 1968 Michael Wenden was the first man to beat Don Schollander in the 200 freestyle in more than 5 years.  It was in the 200m finals at Mexico City.  In these Games, Wenden went a faster World Record time every time he hit the water.  In the 100m freestyle final he beat Ken Walsh, the World Record holder, by six-tenths in 52.2, and in the 200m, Schollander, the World Record holder by six-tenths in 1:55.2.  He came back another day and yet another to anchor the 400m freestyle relay in 51.7 and the 800m freestyle relay in 1:54.3.  He came back once more to anchor the 400m medley relay with 51.4, all in a losing cause if you can consider Olympic silver and bronze relays as losers. Wenden came out of retirement to dominate his third Commonwealth Games in 1974 at Christchurch where he took off his suit (under a robe) and waved it to the standing, clapping, cheering crowd.

Happy Birthday Jodie Henry !!!

Jodie Henry (AUS) 2015 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (100m freestyle), bronze (4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle); 2005 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle); 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m freestyle); 2002 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: gold (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle); 2006 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 2002 PAN PACIFIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle , 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle)

Growing up on the beautiful beaches of Queensland, Australia, Jodie Henry spent a lot of time at the beach with her two sisters, thanks to her parents love for the water. She learned to swim at the early age of three at the local Brisbane Swim School, but didn’t start competing until she was a teenager, which is quite late for a future Olympic Champion in this era.

Jodie made her first appearance on the international stage at the Commonwealth Youth Games of 2000, held in Edinburgh, Scotland. She proudly represented Australia by bringing home five gold medals. At the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, she won the Women’s 100 meter freestyle, took silver in the 50 meter freestyle as well as being a member of the gold medal winning relay team. Later that same year, Henry competed at the Pan Pacific Championships and helped Australia take gold from the United States in the freestyle and medley relays.

At the 2003 World Championships, Jodie won the silver medal in the 100 meter freestyle and picked up bronze in the both the 4 x 100 free and 4 x 100 medley relays.

The Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, held in Athens, Greece, proved to be the pinnacle of Jodie Henry’s career. For her first medal winning performance, she anchored the Australian Women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team that won gold in world record time of 3:35.94. In the semi-finals of the individual 100 meter freestyle event, she broke teammate Libby Lenton’s world record with a time of 53.32, and went on to win the gold medal – the first to do so since Hall of Famer Dawn Fraser did it 40 years earlier. She picked up her third gold medal anchoring the 4 x 100 meter medley relay in another world record time.

In November of 2004, Jodie Henry was named the Australian Swimmer of the Year, becoming just the third woman in 15 years to take the honor, breaking Ian Thorpe’s five-year streak of receiving the award. She also was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.

After the 2004 Olympic Games, Henry followed her one and only coach, Shannon Rollason, to the Australian Institute of Sport, in Canberra, as she looked ahead to the Games in Beijing. At the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, she won the gold medal in the 100 meters with a time of 54.18. That came on top of her leadoff role in Australia’s victorious 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team and second relay gold as a heat swimmer in the 4 x 100 meter medley relay. At the 2007 World Aquatic Championships in Melbourne, Henry anchored the Australian 4 x 100 freestyle relay team in world championship record time of 3:35.48 to win gold, again ahead of the USA.

A combination of health and motivational issues derailed her hopes for the 2008 Olympic Games and she announced her retirement from swimming in 2009, at the age of 25. Today, Jodie Henry lives in Brisbane with her husband, Tim Notting, a now retired Australian football star, and their three children.

Happy Birthday Laura Wilkinson !!!


 Laura Wilkinson (USA) 2017 Honor Diver

FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (10m platform); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: 5th (10m platform); 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: participant; 2005 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (10m platform); 1998 GOODWILL GAMES: gold (10m platform); 1997-1999 NCAA: 10m champion

Inspired by the publicity surrounding Romanian gymnastic guru Béla Károlyi’s arrival to her home town of Houston, Texas, in 1981, Laura Wilkinson fell in love with gymnastics and dreamed of being in the 1996 Olympic Games. After years of training her gymnastic career ended when a growth spurt made her too tall for the sport. Then she discovered diving. In spite of being told by one of her teachers that she was too old to start a new sport at the age of 15, Laura plunged in and “fell in love with the sport on the first day.”

Wilkinson didn’t go very far her first year, but the next year, in 1995, she won her first US National Title, and earned a bronze medal at the FINA World Cup in the 10m synchronized diving event, with partner Patty Armstrong. Earning a scholarship to the University of Texas, she won the NCAA 10m platform title as a freshman and then won both the 3m and 10m titles at the USA Diving Nationals. In 1998, she gave up her scholarship after winning the Goodwill Games gold medal, to turn pro and train for the 2000 Olympic Games at the Woodlands with coach Kenny Armstrong.

Three months before the Olympic trials, she was doing a typical warm-up somersault, when she landed on a block of wood and broke her right foot in three places. To fix it, doctors had to re-break everything. They also found she had a stress fracture on her left foot as well. It appeared that another Olympic dream was at an end. Together, with her coach, Wilkinson embarked on a brutal training regime. She also watched an “insane amount of video tape” and “visualized every dive” to keep her “head in the game.”

Although her foot was still not fully recovered when she started to train again three weeks before the trials, her perseverance paid off as she won the trials and qualified for her first Olympic team.

Three months later, while wearing a protective shoe that enabled her walk up the ladder to the platform, Wilkinson battled back from eighth place and a 60-point deficit after the semifinals to record one of the biggest upsets in Olympic diving history. The turning point came in the third dive of the final round, a reverse two-and-a-half somersault, which Wilkinson performed perfectly, entering the water knife straight with barely a ripple. She went on to win over the favored Chinese diver, Li Na by a minuscule 1.7 points. Her win was the first in the 10m platform event by an American since Leslie Bush in 1964 and the accomplishment earned her an appearance on a Wheaties’ cereal box and a finalist for the prestigious Sullivan Award as one of the nation’s outstanding athletes.

In 2004, although Laura won the World Cup she finished a disappointing fifth at the Olympic Games in Athens. But she came back the next year to win the gold medal at the FINA World Championships in Montreal. She retired after competing in her third Olympic Games in Beijing as a14-time US National team member (1995-2008), a 19-time US National Champion and one of the greatest divers of all time.

Beginning with her gold medal in the 10m platform event at the 1998 Goodwill Games, Laura Wilkinson is one of the few divers in the world to claim individual gold medals at every major international diving competition during her career. In addition to winning the Goodwill Games, she won gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games, the 2004 FINA World Cup and the 2005 FINA World Championships.

On this day 130 years ago, the great Yale man, Robert H. Kiphuth was born !!

 ROBERT J. H. KIPHUTH (USA) 1965 Honor Coach

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1932, 1936, 1948 (U.S. Olympic Men's Swimming Team Head Coach); Yale University Swimming Coach for over 30 years, winning 200 consecutive meets, National AAU Team Championships, NCAA Championships; Introduced dry land exercises to swim training; National AAU Treasurer; AAU Youth Fitness Director.

On numbers of dual meet victories (only 10 losers in 42 years), numbers of Eastern Intercollegiate titles (38), numbers of times as U.S. Olympic coach (5), numbers of swim trips overseas (33), and numbers of AAU National Team Championships (14), no coach has been so successful as Yale's Bob Kiphuth.  Perhaps the highlight of his career was Kiphuth's 1948 Men's U.S. Olympic swimming team, the only team in history to win first place in every event.

Kiphuth came from humble beginnings in Tonawanda, New York, and while this Buffalo area has never been famous for swimmers, it is another Oxford, Ohio, as a spawning ground for coaches, including Kiphuth, Matt Mann, Uhro Saari, George Breen and Harry Hainsworth.  Originally an exercise-gymnastics-fitness instructor, Kiphuth came down from the gym to take over the swim team at the old Carnegie Pool when Matt Mann left Yale after 1917.  His success was instant and continual.

More than any other coach, Kiphuth was responsible for adding dry land exercises and cross-country running to swimming programs.  His success changed the long entrenched theories that swimming muscles had to be soft and trained only in the water. Kiphuth was accepted in Physical Education circles where his articles and several books made universal knowledge the techniques that had been kept secret in a few coaches' minds.  He was the first editor and publisher of "Swimming World" magazine.

As Athletic Director and Physical Education professor at Yale, as a much traveled ambassador of swimming, Kiphuth played a key roll in sports administration, coordination and politics helping to break down much of the traditional thinking that a coach is a trainer that should be seen and not heard.  Kiphuth was a founder of the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics, a charter Vice President of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a director of the Boys Clubs of America, the National Art Museum of Sports, the President's Fitness Council, National Swim Chairman of the AAU and many other executive-administrative functions other than coaching.

At Yale, he was a counselor to his many great swimmers out of the water but a very tough taskmaster to both swimmers and staff in his famous Payne-Whitney exhibition pool where his swimmers Jimmy McLane, Alan Ford and Jeff Farrell set many of the world records.

Kiphuth was a collector who filled his halls with pictures, clippings and trophies.  When his bicycle was parked in the granite hallway of Payne-Whitney it meant the boss was in.

Birthday thoughts for the late Roland Matthes

 

ROLAND MATTHES  (GDR) 1981 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1968 gold (100m, 200m backstroke), silver (relay); 1972 gold (100m, 200m backstroke), silver (relay), bronze (relay); 1976 bronze (100m backstroke); WORLD RECORDS: 19; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1973 gold (100m, 200m backstroke), silver (relay), bronze (relay); 1975 gold (100m backstroke); EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1970 gold (100m, 200m backstroke; medley relay), silver (100m freestyle), bronze (freestyle relays); 1974 gold (100m, 200m backstroke), silver (100m butterfly), bronze (relay); EAST GERMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 22; U.S. OPEN RECORD: 1

Roland Matthes, like that other great backstroke Hall of Famer Adolph Kiefer, is known as much for how long he did it as for what he did, which was to stay unbeaten in world competition for seven years between 1967 and 1974.  During this period he broke the 100 meter backstroke record 7 consecutive times and the 200 meter backstroke record 9 times.  This supreme swimmer from East Germany was the best in the world on his back winning both the 100 and 200 backstroke in 2 Olympics -- back to back (1968 and 1972).  He was also a world class butterflyer and freestyler winning the silver medals in the European Championships in both.  His final act in swimming was the "world's fastest marriage" as he joined forces with superstar Kornelia Ender in May, 1978.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Sarah Thomas to receive the 2021 Poseidon Award

FORT LAUDERDALE – 

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) will recognize Sarah Thomas for her high-level achievement in marathon swimming with the 2021 Poseidon Award.  The Award will be presented to Sarah during a future International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction and Award Ceremony.  The Poseidon Award is presented annually by International Swimming Hall of Fame to the organization or individual for high level achievement from personal effort or initiative in a field of endeavor that contributes to the performance of marathon swimmers or to the development and status of Marathon Swimming to the world.

This year’s award honors Sarah Thomas.  In 2019, she was the first swimmer to ever complete a 4-way English Channel Swim (132 km in 54 hours and 10 minutes). Additionally, she has completed two other long swims; Lake Champlain (168.3 km in 67 hours and 16 minutes) in 2017 and Lake Powell (128.7 mk in 56 hours and 5 minutes) in 2016. This trio of swims are the top three longest, current neutral swims in history. In 2017, Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer, for which she underwent aggressive treatment of chemo, surgery, and radiation therapy. Six months following the completion of cancer treatment, Sarah completed the epic Cook Strait swim in New Zealand and six months after that, she finished her 4-way English Channel swim. Her courageous comeback has been an inspiration for many and generated great media coverage for our sport: ESPNw, Sports Illustrated, Inside Edition, Good Morning America, Good Morning Britain, etc.

She was also the Race Director for the unique Cliff Backyard Ultra Marathon Swim (USA) in 2018 and 2019.

She was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF) in 2018.  For her substantial contributions to marathon swimming on the international stage, Sarah has been awarded the 2021 Poseidon Award.

For additional information, please call Ned Denison in Ireland, (+353) 87-987-1573, or ISHOF at (954) 462-6536, or visit http//:www.ishof.org 

Happy Birthday Mel Stewart !!!

 MELVIN STEWART (USA) 2002 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPICS: gold (200m butterfly), gold (4x100m medley relay), bronze (4x200m freestyle relay); 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: 5th (200m butterfly); ONE WORLD RECORD: 200m butterfly; 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (200m butterfly); 14 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 7-200m butterfly, 6-200m butterfly, 1-100y butterfly; TWO NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 200m butterfly.

Melvin Stewart was known as the greatest 200m butterfly swimmer of his era. Not only did this 14-time National champion win the 200m event at the 1991 Perth World Championships, defeating legendary Hall of Famers Michael Gross of Germany and Tamas Darnyi of Hungary, he became the gold medallist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Olympic record time, 1:56.26. Stewart won a second gold as a preliminary heat member of the 4x100m medley relay and a bronze on the 4x200m freestyle relay. In his first Olympic Games at Seoul in 1988, he placed fifth in the 200m butterfly. Stewart held the world record at 1:55.69 from 1991 to 1995 when it was broken by Denis Pankratov of Russia.

It all began for Stewart in 1974. Under the direction of Coach Frankie Bell at the Johnston Memorial YMCA pool in Charlotte, North Carolina, he won National YMCA titles. Bell taught him stroke technique and built his love for the sport, motivating the already inspired youngster with a banana split every time he won. By age 10, he was ranked among the top 10 in the nation in his age group in 16 events. “Little Melvin,” as he was called, grew up on the grounds of Heritage USA, the PTL Ministries Theme Park and religious retreat where his father was recreation director of Jim and Tammy Bakker’s Heritage Church and Athletic Director of his school, Heritage Academy.

Mel became a butterfly side-breather, preferring this unconventional breathing technique to the more traditional head up breathing common to most butterfly swimmers. At 6’1”, 180 lbs., he was a natural. He had flexibility, quick hands and feet, great turning ability and tremendous kicking power. His arms reached from lane rope to lane rope.

In need of some academic tutoring, his mentor, George Baxter, enrolled Stewart at Mercersburg Academy, a small boarding school known for its academics and competitive swimming teams. In his three years there, Mel became an honor student and a leader.

He followed his Mercersburg coach John Trembley to the University of Tennessee and swam on to international stardom one year later, winning the 200m butterfly at the Goodwill Games of 1986. He repeated with Goodwill Game wins in 1990 and 1994 in Moscow, and at the Pan Pacific Championships of 1987, 1989 and 1991. While at Tennessee, he won two NCAA titles in the 200y butterfly.

Stewart holds the record in United States Swimming for winning the most national championships (14) in one event (200 butterfly), more than any other male swimmer in USA history.

After failing to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Team, Mel began to pursue his second dream of acting. He appeared in plays, movies and television shows. He served as an ABC Sports field reporter, hosted ESPN’s “American Outback” and appeared in “Pentathlon,” starring Dolph Lundgren. Stewart was also a hotel lifeguard in “Baywatch.” He is a partner, producer and writer for Symbiotic Entertainment.

*write-up from 2002

Happy Birthday Britta !!!

  Britta Steffen (GER) 2019 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: bronze (4x200m freestyle); 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 2009 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle), silver (4x100m freestyle), bronze (4x100m medley); 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): silver (4x200m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): bronze (4x100m freestyle); 2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SC): silver (4x100m freestyle); 2012 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SC): gold (100m freestyle; 5 WORLD RECORDS

She was winning youth championships in Germany at age 14 and was quickly becoming one of the top junior swimmers in all of Europe. At the 1999 European Junior Championships when she was just 15, Britta Steffen won six gold medals.

A year later, Steffen was selected to compete for Germany at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in both freestyle relays. She led off Germany’s 4x200m freestyle prelim relay and watched as her teammates raced to the bronze medal in the final, earning her first major international medal at the senior level.

In 2004, Steffen missed qualifying for the Olympic Team by six hundredths of a second in the 50m freestyle, but still picked up a relay spot to compete in Athens. She again swam on the prelims relay in the 4x100m freestyle, but injured her foot and was unable to compete during the rest of the Games.

After a heartbreaking Olympic experience, Steffen returned home to begin her studies and work on her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, adding on to an already rigorous training schedule.

Steffen had to start practice later than all her teammates, because of her studies, and often had to practice alone. With the continuous work load, she was constantly tired and ended up bedridden with a severe cold. She decided then that maybe it was time to quit swimming.

One of Britta’s biggest struggles in swimming was her inability to put her swims together in competitions when it mattered the most. She knew that if she was going to come back to swimming, she was going to have to get out of her own head. She met with a sports psychologist, who specialized in high performance and health. She was able to help Britta make changes with her training as well as her relationship with her coach.

With this new mental training, Steffen hoped she would lead her swimming career on a new path and in 2006 at the European Championships, Steffen set a world record in the 100m freestyle and was on two world record setting freestyle relays for Germany, swimming one of the fastest relay splits in history. For these efforts, Steffen was honored as Swimmer of the Year by the German Swimming Federation.

After her seemingly meteoric rise to the top of the world rankings, Steffen was accused of doping by the international media, even though she had never failed a drug test. To hush these rumors, Steffen volunteered to take examinations to ensure she was clean and all of the tests came back negative.

Steffen struggled to return to her form as the best sprinter in the world after her spectacular 2006 performances. At the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, she only managed a bronze in the 100m freestyle and a silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Leading into the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Steffen was hardly a medal favorite.

She silenced all of her doubters when she won the 100m freestyle at the last stroke to win Germany’s first Olympic gold medal in swimming since 1992. Two days later, she won her second gold medal of the Games in the 50m freestyle, winning again at the very last stroke.

After the Olympics in 2008, she continued her momentum with two new world records at the 2009 World Championships in the 50m and 100m freestyles, but after 2009 her career would never be the same.

Illnesses and injuries kept her off the podium at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics and Steffen retired from swimming in September 2013. Today, she hosts TV programs and is involved in social projects for young children.

Happy Birthday Aleksandr Popov !!!

Aleksandr Popov (RUS) 2009 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle), silver (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle), silver (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (100m freestyle), SEVEN WORLD RECORDS: 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle (50m), 50m freestyle, four 100m freestyle (25m); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m & 100m freestyle), silver (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle), silver (50m freestyle), bronze (4x100m freestyle); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m &100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle), silver (4x100m medley); 1991 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1993 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m & 100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle); 1995 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m & 100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle); 1997 EUROPEAN CHAMPONSHIPS: gold (50m & 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1999 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, bronze (50m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 2001 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m & 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 2002 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m medley), silver (100m freestyle); 2004 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m freestyle).

Aleksandr Popov of Russia dominated swimming’s marquee events, the 50m and 100m freestyle and became the world’s premier sprinter during the decade of the 1990’s. He won nine Olympic medals at three Olympic Games from 1992 to 2000 with a total of four gold medals in individual events.

He was the first Olympic swimmer since Johnny Weissmuller in 1924 and 1928 to win back to back sprint races – 1992 and 1996. Volgograd native, Popov moved to Australia to be with his Russian coach Gennadi Touretski, but he never gave up his Russian citizenship competing for the Unified Team in 1992 and the Russian Team thereafter.

Popov held seven World records during his career. His 100m freestyle (long course) record of 48.21 held for six years until broken by Michael Klim of Australia and his 100m freestyle (short course) record of 46.74 held for ten years until broken by Ian Crocker of the United States. He won six World Championship and 21 European Championship gold medals from 1991to2004. He was European Swimmer of the Year in 1994 and 2003.


Friday, November 13, 2020

Read about the Amazing Budd Goodwin who lived quite a life and was born on this day in 1883....

 

BUDD GOODWIN  (USA) 1971 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD:  OLYMPIC GAMES: 1904 gold (water polo); U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (19): 1901-1915 (including 500yd freestyle, quarter-mile, half-mile); METROPOLITAN CHAMPIONSHIPS (over 30): included 500yd freestyle, one mile, five mile, Marathon race from the Battery to Coney Island; Congressional Medal for bravery for a sea rescue off Newport News, Virginia.

Budd Goodwin was employed by his father who thought swimming was nonsense if it interfered with work on their Manhattan Island excursion ferry.  Budd had to work out during his lunch hour, a routine which consisted of running uptown to the New York Athletic Club, swimming as many laps as he had time for, grabbing a sandwich from the doorman as he ran out the door, and eating his lunch as he ran back down to the docks.

Such a routine must have agreed with Budd Goodwin, who won 19 National AAU gold medals, the first in 1901 and the last in 1915.  He won his only Olympic gold medal in water polo at the 1904 Games in St. Louis as his father's ferry boat routine hardly allowed for trips abroad even in 1908, which would have been Budd's best Olympic year.

In the first decade of this century, heroes of the sporting world were immortalized on colored cards slipped into each pack of Mecca cigarettes.  The back of Budd Goodwin's card read as follows: "Budd Goodwin, of the New York Athletic Club, is in all probability the best all-round swimmer in the United States, having won over 50 Metropolitan and National championships.  Goodwin won his first National Championship at the half mile in 1901.  In 1905 he was quarter-mile champion, in 1907, half-mile champion, and in 1908, he probably scored his greatest victories, winning the 500-yard indoor National Championship, the 500 yard Metropolitan championship, the half-mile National Championship, the one-mile Metropolitan, the five-mile and the Marathon race from the Battery to Coney Island."

Goodwin's swimming career nearly ended in 1906 with a severe case of blood poisoning that called for amputation of his left arm.  Fortunately Dr. Dave Hennen, a NYAC club member, a swim enthusiast, and a famous surgeon, refused to acknowledge such a fate and stopped the flow of poison in a dramatic and unprecedented 80 minute operation in which he dissected the entire forearm, then re-assembled the veins, muscles and ligaments.  Dr. Hennen stayed at Goodwin's bedside four days until the crisis was past.  Budd was soon back in the water but not in time to try for the 1906 Olympics, dominated by his NYAC teammate Charlie Daniels and Englishman Henry Taylor, two swimming immortals Goodwin now joins in the Hall of Fame.

Goodwin won a Congressional Medal for bravery (the USA's highest peacetime award) for a daring sea rescue off Newport News, Virginia.  He ended his competitive career in 1922 but was still swimming well into his seventies.  Retired and living in Palm Beach, Budd would walk a couple of miles to St. Edward's church every morning, then on the way back he would stop at the Breakers Golf Course and pull a midiron and ball out of the bushes where he would have them hidden -- and do nine holes in better than the average golfer and never lose the ball.  He would re-hide his club and ball, then come to the Sea Spray and swim a mile in better than average time.  He was Palm Beach County's first Red Cross 50 mile recipient.

Budd Goodwin's son was a national amateur golf champion but no one ever found out whether he was forced to do it the hard way or whether Budd let him sharpen his putting with daily practice on the deck of the family ferry boat

Petar Stoychev to Receive the 2020 Poseidon Award

FORT LAUDERDALE – The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) will recognize Petar Stoychev for his high-level achievement in marathon swimming with the 2020 Poseidon Award.  The Award will be presented to Petar, on Saturday evening, during the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremonies, on May 2nd in New York City.  

The Poseidon Award is presented annually by the International Swimming Hall of Fame to the organization or individual for high level achievement from personal effort or initiative in a field of endeavor that contributes to the performance of marathon swimmers or to the development and status of Marathon Swimming to the world.

This year’s award honors Petar Stoychev.  As a swimmer he has won an unprecedented eleven consecutive FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix titles, with over 60 victories in individual professional marathon swims, including the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri Napoli in Italy and the 57 km (36-mile) Maratón Sante Fe – Coronda, Argentina. He was the 2011 FINA 25km World Champion and has six FINA World Championship medals. He competed in four Olympics in both the pool and Open Water and was the flag bearer for the Bulgarian Olympic Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Petar was the first swimmer to cross the English Channel in under seven hours and has set Ice Swimming World Records.  

He has served as a swimming administrator/coach for the last 10 years.  From 2009 to 2017 on the FINA Athletes Committee, in 2013 as Sports Minister in Bulgaria, a Board Member of the International Ice Swimming Association, coaching other professional swimmers and Team Manager of his club Levski.

He was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF) in 2008 and inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Swimming Hall of Fame 2018.  For his singular contributions to marathon swimming on the international stage, Petar has been awarded the 2020 Poseidon Award.

For additional information, please call Ned Denison in Ireland, (+353) 87-987-1573, or ISHOF at (954) 462-6536, or visit http//:www.ishof.org 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Happy Birthday Honor Diver Sue Gossick !!!

SUE GOSSICK (USA) 1988 Honor Diver

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1964 4th place (springboard); 1968 gold (springboard); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1967 gold (springboard); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 5 (springboard); 1966, 1968 WORLD DIVER (springboard); 1967 Los Angeles Times "Woman of the Year"; Women's Southern Pacific Association Springboard Diver of the Year: 1964-1968.

By the time Sue Gossick came along as a member of the 1964 and 1968 Olympic teams, Southern California diving had gone into a partial eclipse.  She and her coach Lyle Draves proved it was a short eclipse.  She was a medalist in 21 of 24 national springboard diving championships she entered beginning in 1962.  Sue Gossick was coached early on by her father Dr. Gustav Gossick.

Placing fourth in the 1964 Games at Tokyo, Gossick won the 1966 pre-Olympics against the world's best at Mexico City but almost didn't make the team when she hit her hand on the board during the U.S. Olympic trials in  1968.  Despite a back injury, which had kept her out of the pool for five weeks, she made it to the 1968 trials and finals and took the gold -- thanks to treatments from the team doctor of the Los Angeles Rams.

At age nine, Miss Gossick was singled out by the U.S. Olympic Development Committee in 1957 as a "future Olympic champion" and 11 years later she made believers of them and their brash projection.  In between, she won the U.S. Nationals five times, a gold medal in the 1967 Pan American Games and was the Southern Pacific AAU's Springboard Diver of the Year four times.  She won world diving first place ratings in 1966 and 1968.  After she won the gold at the Mexico City Olympics at age 20, she was honored as the youngest ever "Woman of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times.

Happy Birthday to Mr. 46.06 !!! (Jason Lezak)

 

Jason Lezak (USA) 2019 Honor Swimmer

FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100m medley), silver (4×100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100m medley), bronze (4×100m freestyle); 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4×100m freestyle, 4×100m medley), bronze (100m freestyle); 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (4×100m freestyle); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): gold (4×100m medley), silver (4×100m freestyle); 2005 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): gold (4×100m freestyle, 4×100m medley); 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): gold medal (4×100m freestyle); 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (LC): bronze (4×100m freestyle); 2002 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SC): gold (4×100m freestyle, 4×100m medley); 2004 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SC): gold (100m freestyle, 4×100m freestyle, 4×100m medley); 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (SC): silver (4×100m medley), bronze (4×100m freestyle);

From the beginning, Jason Lezak showed great promise in the pool, but he constantly butted heads with his coach, Dave Salo, over his commitment to training. Recruited to swim at UC Santa Barbara, Jason’s problems with authority continued until coach Gregg Wilson finally dismissed him from the team. This was the wake-up call he needed. He loved to swim and compete, and after promising to improve his training habits, he rejoined the team. In his Senior year, he was named Big West Conference Swimmer of the Year,

At the 2000 Olympic Trials, Jason finished fourth in the 100m freestyle. While he failed to qualify individually, his result was good enough to make the 4x100m freestyle relay team, an event Team USA had never lost in the Olympic Games. In Sydney, the Australians pulled off the unexpected upset in their home pool and the USA settled for the silver.

Over the next four years, Jason was the top sprinter in the world, and at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Long Beach, he qualified for the Olympic Games in both the 50m and 100m freestyle.

In Athens, the US freestyle relay team was trying to win back the title it had lost in Sydney four years earlier. Instead, they finished third behind South Africa and the Netherlands. The next day Jason did not swim as well as expected and failed to reach the semi-finals. Individually Jason finished fifth in the 50. Success came when he swam the freestyle leg behind Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, and Ian Crocker to win the medley relay gold medal, in world record time.

In 2006, Dave Salo left Irvine to take the coaching job at USC, leaving Jason without a coach. He began coaching himself and proved by qualifying for his third Olympic Games that he had the discipline to train daily without a team or trainer at his side.

When he finished second in the 100m freestyle at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, he was 32 years old, the oldest male swimmer to make the team and was selected by his teammates as a captain.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, his first event was the 4x100m freestyle relay. The USA hadn’t won this race since 1996 and this time the USA was not the favorite. That distinction belonged to the team from France, with 100m world record holder, Alain Bernard as its anchorman. Swimming last, and starting nearly a fully body length behind, Jason chased down Bernard in the final 20 yards to win the gold medal by eight-one-hundredths of a second. Jason’s split time of 46.06, is still the fastest 100m split in history.

The next day, Jason won bronze in the 100m freestyle for the first individual Olympic medal of his career. On the final day of competition, he anchored the USA’s world record setting medley relay that gave Michael Phelps his historic eighth gold medal.

Continuing to swim on his own after Beijing, Jason passed up the opportunity to compete in the World Championships to participate in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he won four gold medals and celebrated his heritage as a Jewish athlete.

In 2012, at the age of 36, Jason qualified for his fourth Olympic team by finishing sixth at the Olympic Trials in the 100 free. In London, he swam in the preliminaries and helped earn a spot in the final for the silver medal winning U.S. team. In doing so, he became the first male swimmer in Olympic history to win four medals in the same event, in the 4×100m freestyle relay, in four consecutive Olympic games.

Jason ended his Olympic career with a total of eight medals, four gold, two silver and two bronze. Today, Jason is a proud husband and father of three and a popular motivational speaker who is successfully balancing his family life with business opportunities.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Birthday Frank Gorman !!


Frank Gorman (USA) 2016 Honor Pioneer Diver

FOR THE RECORD: 1964 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (3m springboard); HARVARD UNIVERSITY: never lost a dual meet diving competition; NCAA ALL-AMERICAN DIVER: 1m, 3m springboard from 1957-1960.

Before 1973, there were no World Championships, World Diving Cups or Grand Prix Diving series. For divers there was only one chance to test their skills in the international arena every four years and that was at the Olympic Games.

In 1952, Francis Xavier Gorman became the youngest boy to win the New York City Public School Athletic League Diving Championships. When he won the title for the fourth time in a row, he caught the eye of Harvard University’s coach, Harold Ulen. At Harvard, Gorman became an immediate success. He was an All-American on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards in each of his four years, from 1957 through 1960 and amazingly, never lost a dual meet competition. In 1960, he was the Eastern Intercollegiate Champion on both boards.

After graduating, he set his sights on the Olympics, but failed to make the team. Extremely disappointed, Frank entered the Navy, where he was eventually assigned to the physical education department at the US Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland.

For three years, Frank agonized over not making the 1960 Olympic team and he vowed if he ever got another chance, he would make the most of it. He contacted his friend and fellow competitor, Tom Gompf, who recommended they train together with coach Dick Smith, who at the time, was one of the world’s greatest diving coaches.

At the 1964 US Olympic Diving Trials, Gorman qualified for the Tokyo games on the 3-meter springboard with a record breaking point total. Of the 12 available slots on the US Men’s and Women’s Diving Team, Coach Dick Smith’s divers claimed six of them - with Frank Gorman and Tom Gompf taking two of the spots.

In Tokyo, Frank Gorman gave one of his finest performances. With the highest scores of the competition on each of his first eight dives, Frank was firmly on track for the gold medal, but on his second to last dive he missed badly. Although he recovered to receive the highest scores of the competition on his last dive, he still finished two points behind teammate Ken Sitzberger - but 14 points ahead of teammate, Larry Andreasen to claim the silver. For anyone at the event, there was little doubt that except for one dive Frank Gorman had turned in one of the truly outstanding performances of the 1964 Olympic Games.

After Gorman’s career as an athlete ended, he continued to stay involved in diving and giving back to the sport he loved