Friday, July 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

AUSTRALIAN WATER SAFETY ADVOCATE LAURIE LAWRENCE To Receive ISHOF’s 2017 Gold Medallion Award

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

For tickets or additional information, please call Meg Keller-Marvin at (570) 594-4367 or ISHOF at (954) 462-6536, or visit http://www.ishof.org

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Conference on Near-Death Experiences while Drowning

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL: The International Swimming Hall of Fame will host a fascinating and visionary “Conference on Near-Death Experiences While Drowning”, on Friday, August 18th, 2017. Since its inception in 1965, ISHOF has been the "Mecca of Aquatics," bringing together many fascinating people and acting as the facilitator for knowledge exchange. This conference aims to bring attention to near-death experiences during a drowning episode, a very important issue largely neglected by most aquatic safety professionals.
I could see, floating in the air, the lifeguards attempting to resuscitate a lifeless body; it was mine.”I saw a bright light that asked me, in a life review, what I have done in my life for love and learning.”I felt peace and no fear of death.” These are the words of people reporting what they experienced during the time they “died” temporarily during a drowning episode, as reported by Holden and Avramidis in their book Near-Death Experiences While Drowning. Such Reports are termed near-death experiences (NDEs). Contemporary advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation have enabled lifeguards and first responders to bring large numbers of victims back to life, heretofore unprecedented in human history. Of the millions of those who survive drowning each year, approximately 20% of survivors report NDEs.
Often when victims report their NDEs to health care providers and first responders, due to lack of information, the confidantes may label the experience or experiencer as pathological. However, research shows no relationship between NDEs and mental disorder. When a Near Death Experience is discounted, it becomes psychologically disconcerting to survivors. Similarly, the survivors or their families may believe that the experiencers have lost touch with reality. Presenters at this conference will discuss NDE characteristics that a successfully resuscitated drowning casualty might report; provide a sample of drowning NDE accounts; offer recommendations for how water safety and other healthcare professionals can use NDE related information in their work; and, include a poster session open to any water safety- and aquatic-related professional to provide information relevant to drowning in terms of prevention, rescue, and treatment. This conference will provide a day of insight into this unique phenomenon, along with providing useful professional information for first responders and medical personnel.
Conference presenters include: Bruce Wigo¸ J.D., ISHOF President and CEO, discussing the importance of hosting a conference on Drowning Related NDEs; Stathis Avramidis, DipEd, BEd, MSc, MPH, PhD, Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Seasonal Instructor of Applied Lifeguarding and Lifesaving Sport at the University of Athens, Greece, Greece, who will discuss the "NDE Mnemonic" and NDE Protocol": Two Useful Tools for Lifeguards; Dr. Janice Miner Holden, Professor of Counseling and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education, University of North Texas (UNT), who will present, “Near-Death Experiences: An Overview of 40 Years of Research”. Other speakers include: Audrey C. Dalton, survivor of a drowning incident who will recount her Near Death Experience; John Spannuth, President and CEO, United States Water Fitness Association who will discuss the Importance of Swimming and Lifeguard Lessons; and Aquatics and Drowning Prevention professional Kim Burgess, who will discuss why learning about drowning is informative to Aquatic Safety Professionals, First Responders and Survivor Families.
Conference information can be found online at https://drowningnde.blogspot.com/. Conference registration is available on the ISHOF website. Luncheon and refreshments are included in the conference fees. Please note in addition to conference fees, City of Ft. Lauderdale parking fees will apply for all parking facilities, including the International Swimming Hall of Fame. All fees act as a donation to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
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About the International Swimming Hall of Fame
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children. It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org
To learn more about the International Swimming Hall of Fame participants and activities or to donate, please visit:


Friday, May 12, 2017

THE INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES THE 2017 PARAGON AWARD RECIPIENTS, Presented by Pentair Aquatic Systems

Fort Lauderdale –  Sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today the recipients of the 22nd Annual Paragon Awards.  The Paragon Awards are presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics in six categories. This year’s recipients are Ron Van Pool for Competitive Swimming; Terry Sayring for Water Polo, Linda Paul for Competitive Diving;  The National Swimming Pool Foundation for Aquatic Safety; Stefania Tudini (ITA) for Synchronized Swimming and Juliene Hefter for Recreational Swimming. This year’s awards will be presented on Friday evening August 25, 2017, in ceremonies at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

“Pentair is honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and to recognize leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of aquatics”, said Jim Drozdowski, Institutional Aquatics Sales Manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems.

“The annual Paragon Awards bring some of the most interesting and fascinating people each year to the Hall of Fame,” said ISHOF President/CEO Bruce Wigo. “These are the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible, who save lives, who promote water safety and further aquatic education. “
The Paragon Awards are part of ISHOF’s 53rd Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, August 25-27.
For ticket information visit www.ishof.org or call 954-462-6536.  For more information about the Paragon Awards, see: http://www.ishof.org/awards/paragon.html

About Pentair Aquatic Systems: Pentair Aquatic Systems is a world-wide leader in the manufacture of residential and commercial swimming pool equipment including PARAGON™ Competitive Starting Platforms, which have been the leader in innovation, design and quality for over 50 years. Pentair is a proud sponsor of the ISHOF “Paragon Awards” since 1996. For more information about the Paragon Awards, see: http://www.ishof.org/awards/paragon.html

About ISHOF:  The International Hall of Fame, founded in 1965 and recognized by FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, is a not-for-profit educational organization. Its mission is to Preserve swimming history, Celebrate the heroes and to Educate the public about the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to water safety, fitness, good health, quality of life; and to Inspire Swimming For All, Swimming For Life! and “Every Child A Swimmer™” . For more information about ISHOF, see www.ishof.org

About this years Paragon Award Recipients:

Competitive Diving
Linda Paul (USA)
Linda Paul has been a part of USA Diving for more than 16 years. She joined the organization as Director of Business Development in 2001 and since has been involved in nearly every aspect of the organization, from managing USA diving teams in international competitions and events, to coordinating sponsorship services and serving as a liaison between the national office and the U.S. Olympic Committee.  In 2010 she was named President and CEO of the organization, leading a return to the podium in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.  She announced her retirement in 2017, and will be remembered for assisting in the growth and success of the organization through many challenges.

Synchronized Swimming
Stefania Tudini (ITA)
Stefania Tudini has served on the FINA Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee (TSSC) since 1992 and has been their chairman since 2009. She was also the chairman of the LEN TSSC and was honored by them for her years of service. “Cicci” is the director of Synchronized Swimming for the Italian Swimming Federation. Participation in the sport has grown exponentially in Italy under her leadership.

Water Polo
Terry Sayring (USA)
Terry started officiating Water Polo in 1963 and has officiated over 6,000 games, including FINA World Championships, FINA World Cups, FINA Jr. World Championships, Pan American Games, NCAA Championships and AAU National Championships. He was the manager of the 1980 and 1984 USA Water Polo Olympic Teams and was the competition manager for the 1996 Olympic Games. He was elected into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1986 and received the USA Water Polo Award in 1988, the organization’s highest honor.  In 2015, he founded American Water Polo Collections, Inc. a California non-profit dedicated to preserve the history of water polo in America.  

Competitive Swimming 
Ron Van Pool (USA)
Ron Van Pool has been a volunteer for USA Swimming for the past 30 years, serving as an official at high level meets such as the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials. He was elected to the USA Swimming Board of Directors in 1998 and served as President from 2002-2006.  Ron also served as the USA Swimming representative to the USOC and the National Governing Body Council for over 10 years. He was also a member of the USSIC Board of Directors from 2002 to 2014.He was the founding director of USA Swimming Foundation in 2004 and has served on the Foundation BOD since 2010. In addition to serving on several committees, including International Relations and Task Forces , including Governance and the CEO Search, in which he is the chair. In 2013, he received the USA Swimming Award, considered to be USA Swimming’s highest honor.

Recreational Swimming
Juliene Hefter (USA)
Juliene has a long and illustrious career in aquatics and park and recreation administration. She has been the Deputy Director for the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association for the past 8 years and is the Executive Director/CEO for the Association of Aquatic Professionals. The AAP is a non-profit corporation that exclusively promotes and advocates policies, practices and procedures that contribute to safer and improved aquatic education, aquatic recreation activities, programs, and facilities; provides and supports quality aquatic education opportunities; coordinates and conducts research in the field of aquatic management and safety; promotes coordination and cooperation between established aquatic associations responsible for all aspects of aquatic programming, aquatic management, aquatic operation and maintenance and aquatic facility design, as well as providing and annual conference and educational workshops for communities on drowning prevention and education.

Water Safety: 
The National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Step Into Swim™ Campaign
In 2012, The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) introduced its Step Into Swim™ program, a 10-year, learn-to-swim initiative to create 1 million more swimmers in an effort to improve public health and reduce drowning by teaching children, adults and minority populations to swim. The campaign asks aquatic businesses, associations, and the public sector to sponsor organizations that are already teaching people to swim. To help the public and private sector understand the importance of learning to swim, the NSPF issued a white paper, which explains the benefits of creating more swimmers, and how more people swimming can relieve increasing healthcare costs propelled by physical inactivity, an aging society and troublingly high drowning rates.

Monday, March 20, 2017

ANDY COAN PASSES AWAY

World Record Holder At 17, World Champion at 18


FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) sadly reports that Andy
Coan has passed away after a long illness in a Hospice facility in Boca Raton. He was 60 years old. In 1975, at 17 years of age, while representing the Pine Crest High School and swimming for ISHOF Honor Coach Jack Nelson, he broke Jim Montgomery’s 12-day old world-record in the 100 meter freestyle.

Later that year, Coan won three gold medals representing the USA at the 1975 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Cali, Colombia, as a member of the 4 x 100m freestyle, the 4 x 100m medley relays and an individual gold in the 100m freestyle. He continued his winning run at the 1975 United States National Swimming Championships, where he won the 100m free.

After graduation from Pine Crest in 1976, Coan attended the University of Tennessee on a swimming scholarship. At UT he won seven NCAA Championships, including the 50 and the 100 freestyle twice.

Andy missed two opportunities to compete in the Olympic Games. He came up short in 1976 and then shortly after the 1979 championships, Mr. Coan suffered broken wrists in an automobile accident. Despite wrist bones held together by two metal plates and nearly a dozen screws, he lost the 100 and 200 free to Gaines in 1980 but pulled off a surprising win over Gaines in the 50. When the Carter Olympic boycott was announced he chose not to participate in the post Olympic Trials.

Until health issues prevented him from doing so, Andy could be found on the pool deck helping Sid Cassidy and Jay Fitzgerald coach their teams at the Saint Andrews School and at his alma mater, Pine Crest.

He was diagnosed with Guilain Barre disease several years ago and had gone from total paralysis to a point where he was able to travel to Santa Clara, California for a reunion of the USA’s 1975 World Championship team, organized by the ISHOF.  But then came a battle against liver cancer that ultimately took his life.

“Andy was a great friend of swimming and the Pine Crest School,” said the schools coach, Jay Fitzgerald.  “He was always generous with his time and always positive - even through all his health issues. He will be missed.”

Coan still holds the Pine Crest School records for the 50y and 100y freestyle at 20.19 and 43.99 respectively, dating to 1975.  Amazingly, times that would have won the 2016 state titles, with-out a tech suit or underwater starts and turns.

Andy leaves behind his 13 year-old son Richard and his girlfriend, Karen Britton, who faithfully stood by him through all of his health problems.

A memorial service is being planned to take place at the ISHOF, in Fort Lauderdale in late April.  

ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

Thursday, March 16, 2017

AMERICA’S IAN CROCKER - GREAT RIVAL OF MICHAEL PHELPS ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME

FIRST STATE OF MAINE SWIMMER TO SWIM IN THE OLYMPICS - HELD 100M FLY WORLD RECORD FOR SIX YEARS


FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Crocker in Omaha at Olympic
 Trials 2016 (credit Kurt Keeler)
 announced that America’s Ian Crocker will join 16 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Crocker is the final name to be announced to the class that will be honored in ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN), Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), Leisel Jones (AUS) and Laure Manaudou (FRA), divers Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson (AUS), synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier (USA) have been announced.

Crocker, with music producer Jim Thompson
and Ryan Lochte (credit Jim Thompson)
Ian Lowell Crocker is one of the greatest butterfliers in history, but he didn't exactly grow up in a swimming hotbed. He was born August 31, 1982, in Portland, Maine, a state that has more than 35,000 square miles, yet not one Olympic-sized pool. The pool at the Portland elementary school where he somehow developed his Olympic aspirations was not much more than a 25 yards-long “hole in the ground.”  His parents recognized early on that their son suffered from a learning disorder and they felt it was necessary to have him involved in activities that would give him self-esteem outside of academics and keep him well rounded.  So Crocker jumped into to the pool, pursued playing the guitar and when he grew old enough to drive, developed an interest in cars. 

In 1997, he broke onto the national age group scene with a 13-14 US National record in the 200m freestyle. The next year he became the first U.S. 15-year old to break 1:50 for the 200m free and finished fourth at the 1998 USA Swimming Summer Nationals.  The next year, at the same meet he finished 23rd in the 100m butterfly and people started telling him that if he wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, he'd have to leave the state and train in a bigger pool. But he had enormous talent, desire and was blessed with a coach, Sharon Power, who knew what she was doing.

As a 17-year old, Crocker had entered the 2000 US Olympic Trials with a view to gain experience for 2004, but he left the meet winning the 100m fly and breaking Matt Biondi’s Trials record in the process.  In Sydney, he finished fourth, but broke Neil Walker’s American record and was a member of the USA’s 4 x 100m medley relay that captured the gold.

Now swimming for Eddie Reece, at the University of Texas, Crocker won  the 100y fly at the NCAAs and claimed the silver medal in the event at the FINA World Championships.  But at the 2002 Phillips Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, 17-year old Michael Phelps rallied in the final yards of the 100m fly to best Crocker and claim the American record.  Thus began an incredible rivalry that would last through the Beijing Olympic Games and become the subject of a behind the scenes, feature-length documentary film released in 2005, “Unfiltered: Michael Phelps & Ian Crocker - The Story Behind Their Rivalry.”  

At the 2003 FINA World Championships, Crocker watched Phelps break the world record in the preliminaries of the 100m butterfly, but Crocker came back to win the gold and set his first individual World Record in the finals, becoming the first in history to break 51 seconds. Phelps was reportedly so bothered that he tore Crocker’s photograph from a magazine and hung it in his bedroom as a motivator.

At their next confrontation in Santa Clara, in the early summer of 2004, Phelps came out on top. But at the 2004 Olympic Trials, Crocker got revenge, easily beating a tired Phelps (swimming in the last of his 17 races) and lowered his own world record to 50.76.  He also qualified to swim in the 100m free, finishing second behind Jason Lezak.

Their race in Athens was ridiculously close, with Phelps taking the gold, with brilliant touch at the wall that had become his trademark and a time of 51.25 to Crocker’s 51.29 seconds.  But be-fore the race, it was clear that Crocker had not been feeling well or swimming well. In his first swim, he had a dreadful first leg of the 400m freestyle relay that left the team in dead last and having to struggle to get the bronze medal.  In his individual 100m free race, he failed to even get past the preliminaries. In fact he suffered from a sore throat when he arrived at the Olympic village. Finishing second in the butterfly had also knocked him off the relay, which he had been a part of since 2000.  But in a magnanimous gesture of grace and sportsmanship, Michael Phelps
2004 OG: Crocker, with teammates Aaron Peirsol and
Brendan Hansen (credit Donald Miralle)
 stunned the swimming world by giving up his medley spot to Crocker.  Phelps justified his actions by saying that Crocker had a better relay start, but also that he had taken Crocker’s malaise into consideration.  “He wasn’t feeling too well,” said Phelps. “He deserved another shot.” The gesture brought Crocker to near tears and he didn’t disappoint, splitting a world best time of 50.28 to help his team win the gold and set a new world record.

In 2005, Phelps had backed off a bit on training, while Crocker, having graduated from UT and wanting to redeem himself, was wholly focused on the FINA World Championships. In the much anticipated rematch, Crocker took the lead and had a half body-length lead at the halfway mark. Instead of reeling Crocker in down the backstretch, Phelps actually lost ground to Crocker.  In the final 10 meters, Crocker’s finish was compared to Secretariat finishing the final stretch at the Belmont Stakes horse race to win the Triple-Crown in 1973. He was untouchable, and finished a full body-length ahead of the field, winning with a 50.40. It broke his world record by more than three tenths of a second and was an amazing 1.25 seconds ahead of Phelps.

“When you’re racing (Phelps), you have to always assume it’s going to take a world record to win,” Crocker said after the race. “It’s faster than I thought I could go. You can’t put limits on yourself.”

“What happened here,” said Phelps after the race, “I’m going to use for motivation, and hopefully by next summer. I’ll be able to give (Crocker) a race.”

In the much anticipated re-match in 2006, at the US Nationals in Irvine, Phelps came from behind in the final meters to out-touch Crocker.  “When we race each other,” said Phelps after the race, “we bring out the best in one another.”  Later that month, Crocker, without Phelps in the race, claimed the Pan Pac title in the fastest time in the world for the year.

The showcase event at the 2007 Phillips USA Swimming Nationals in Indianapolis was the Phelps-Crocker rivalry.  But just before the start, a photographer’s strobe light inadvertently flashed causing Crocker to flinch. It left him last off the blocks and would result in his disqualification.  Still he caught Phelps and eventually took the lead on the first lap, only to have Phelps chase him down on the homestretch for the victory.  At the 2007 World Championships, Crocker beat Phelps in the semi-finals, but in the final it was Phelps on top again, with a time of 50.77 - the second man in history to break the 51 second barrier.

By 2008, Phelps was confident and in control, and he faced a new rival in Serbian Milorad Cavic. But lost in their historic finish at the Beijing Olympic Games was that Ian Crocker just missing the bronze medal by the same 1/100th of second that decided the gold medal.  Despite not earning a medal in his signature event, Crocker swam in the prelims of the USA’s 4×100m medley relay and received his third Olympic relay gold medal.

Ian Crocker retired after the Beijing Games with 21 medals in major international competition, spanning the Olympics, the FINA World Aquatics Championships and the Pan Pacific Swim-ming Championships. He is one of the only swimmers in history to win the same event (100y butterfly) at NCAA’s all 4 years of college.  He set two long-course world records (50m & 100m butterfly) and three short-course records (50m & 100m fly and 100m free). He also retired holding the world record in the LC 100m butterfly.  But as was the case with many world records, Crocker’s 100 fly mark was taken down in 2009 by Michael Phelps in the fullbody tech-suit era. Though the sub-50 second swims by Phelps and Milorad Cavic in the 2009 World Champion-ships were astounding, it’s worth noting that Crocker’s 50.40 from the 2005 worlds remained the only swim in the top 10 performances in 100m butterfly history until Joseph Schooling’s gold medal swim at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, not done in a polyurethane suit.   

Ian Crocker enters the Hall of Fame as one the greatest butterflyers in history and one of Michael Phelps’ greatest rivals. He held onto the 100m fly world record for 6 years and challenged the greatest swimmer in the history of our sport to achieve unimaginable success.

Crocker with Josh Davis at a Mutual of Omaha Break Out 
Swim Clinic (credit Swimswam/ MOO BOSC)

Since retiring, Ian continues to be involved in swimming as a coach, swim school operator and clinician for Mutual of Omaha.  He also pursues his many other interests, including singing and playing the guitar, tinkering with cars and reading. 







ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org


  

Monday, March 13, 2017

FRANCE’S LAURE MANAUDOU ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME - FIRST FRENCH WOMAN TO WIN OLYMPIC GOLD IN SWIMMING BROKE THE “UNBEATABLE” RECORD OF JANET EVANS

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Laure Manaudo of France will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Manaudou is the sixteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA) and Australia’s Leisel Jones (AUS), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poe-nisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Manaudou with coach Phillipe Lucas
Laure Manaudou was born on October 9, 1986 in Villeurbanne, France. She swam for the club of Ambérieu-en-Bugey, in Ain, from the age of 6 to 14 years old.  In 2000, coach Philippe Lucas spotted her and convinced her parents that he would make her a champion. She then left the family nest to join her new coach in Melun, and a year later she won two silver medals at the European Junior Championships in Malta. Everyone started talking about her enormous potential.

On the podium in 2004
In 2003, at the age of 16, Manaudou won her first French national title in the 50m backstroke, at the French championships. The following year she took gold in the five individual events (400m, 800m, 1500m, 50m back and 100m back) at the French Nationals and qualified for her first Olympic team.  In Athens, a few months later, she won the gold medal in the 400m freestyle.  It was France's first gold medal ever in women's swimming and the first swimming gold medal won by a French athlete since Jean Boiteux's victory in the 400m men's freestyle event at Helsinki in 1952. Manaudou also won the silver medal in the women's 800m freestyle and the bronze medal in the women's 100m backstroke, thus becoming only the second Frenchwoman to win three medals in a single Olympic Games, Summer or Winter.

In 2005, she defended her world title in the 400m freestyle at the 2005 FINA World Champion-ships. At the French Championships in 2006, she did what many thought was impossible. For eighteen years, women swimmers had been chasing the seemingly untouchable record set by America’s Janet Evans in the 400m freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. There was rea-son to believe it would last for eternity, but Laure Manaudou finally broke it and she lowered Evans' standard again at the European Championship three months later.

She confirmed her status as a favorite to repeat as Olympic champion in Beijing, by winning 5 medals including 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze at the 2007 World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Shortly thereafter, she signed a sponsorship contract for 5 years for a sum of money that would be close to 1 million euros a year. The same year, on May 6, 2007, she decided to part with coach Philippe Lucas to train in Italy.

Manaudou was the star of French swimming and a real hope of multiple medals at Beijing 2008, but by her own admission 2007 was a crazy year as personal issues interfered with her training. After a season where she had four coaches and a loss of motivation, Laure finished a disappointing 8th in the 400m final and 7th in the 100m backstroke.

Entre Les Lignes
She announced her retirement in early 2009, but living in the United States two years later, start-ed training again and although she qualified for the London Olympic Games in the 100m and 200m backstroke, she failed to advance beyond the preliminaries.  She announced her retirement and left the international aquatic stage as she started it, after winning the 50m backstroke at the European (SC) Championships in November of 2013.

In 2014, Laure released her autobiography, Entre Les Lignes (Between The Lines).  It is a can-did, honest account of her life in competitive swimming, with its sacrifices, its ups and downs, her relationships with her brothers, coaches and lovers and the challenges she faced dealing with fame at an early age.

Triple Olympic medalist, three-time world champion, 18-time European champion and 58 times champion of France, Laure Manaudou enters the ISHOF as the best female swimmer of France history.



ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org


Friday, March 10, 2017

AUSTRALIAN LEISEL JONES ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME - WINNER OF 9 OLYMPIC MEDALS, 7 WORLD TITLES

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that
Australia’s Leisel Jones will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Jones is the fifteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

When Leisel Jones qualified for the London Olympic Games in 2012, she became the first Aus-tralian swimmer to compete in four Olympic Games.  Along with Ian Thorpe, she holds the record for the most Olympic medals (9) won by any Australian, in addition to winning seven FINA world championships.

Sydney Morning Herald depicting 15 year old Leisel Jones
Leisel Marie Jones was born on August 30, 1985. As a ten year-old Brisbane school girl, she watched Samantha Riley win the bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  Less than four years later, she ousted her idol from the Australian Team by winning the 100m breaststroke at the 2000 Australian Olympic trials at the age of 14. Shortly after her fifteenth birthday, she swam the race of her life to win claim the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke and added another silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay at the Sydney Olympic Games. For the next eight years, Leisel was the most dominating female breaststroker in the world, setting 6 world records, 3 in the 100m and 3 at 200m. Named world swimmer of the year in 2005 & 2006, the pinnacle of her career came with her individual gold medal in the 100m breaststroke, silver medal in the 200m and a second gold medal in the 4 x 100 medley relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Cover of Leisel's book
"Body Lengths" penguin books
Cover of Good
Weekend Magazine
Nicknamed "Diesel"and "Lethal Leisel," she candidly recounts in her 2015 autobiography, Body Lengths, that her achievements were not without their challenges. In her book she tells what it was like to be thrust into the limelight so young and under constant pressure from an early age to be perfect — from coaches, from the media and from herself. Despite the highs of her swimming stardom, she suffered depression, and at one time planned to take her own life. In London, she was criticized in the media for her weight, but she handled herself with great composure. She has emerged with maturity and good humor, having finally learnt how to be herself and live with confidence.  She also hopes that by telling her story, other female athletes will understand they are not alone.

ABOUT ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ANASTASIA DAVYDOVA SELECTED FOR THE HALL OF FAME - MOST DECORATED SYNCHRO SWIMMER IN HISTORY

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Russian synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Davydova is the fourteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi Halo Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Anastasia Davydova—nicknamed “Asya”— was born on February 2, 1983. She is a five-time Olympic champion, thirteen-time world champion, seven-time European champion in synchro-nized swimming.. Davydova’s specialty was the duet event and she is the only swimmer in his-tory to repeat as an Olympic duet champion. Her routines were on the cutting edge of choreog-raphy, as well as being technically superior. In 2010, FINA declared her the best synchronized swimmer of the XXI century and in 2012 she was the standard bearer of the Russian Olympic team at the closing ceremony of the Games in London. 

Anastasia’s first sport was figure skating. Then she saw artistic gymnastics on TV and she left the ice for the ribbon and mat, but not for long. At the age of six, her mother took her for swim lessons where she was exposed to synchronized swimming. She loved the sport so much that she even gave up her favorite foods: chips, cakes and chocolates.  You see, she was a little chubby and the coach put her on a trial period to see if she would lose weight. While she really wanted the “bad food,” she loved synchronized swimming more and the rest, as they say, is his-tory.


In a sport that usually forces athletes to be patient as they build international reputations, Anastasia Davydova did not have to wait very long to move to the top. At age 15, she was paired with Anastasia Ermakova (ISHOF 2015). Because they were very successful at the junior level, judges were familiar with them by the time they became seniors. At their first major senior international event, they placed second in duet at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. The next year they performed a nearly flawless routine, including five perfect 10s in the final free program, to win the European Championships. At the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Davydova and Ermakova won their first senior world duet title; the Russian team was also victorious. Davydova won team and duet at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens in April 2004 and the European Championships in Madrid in May 2004. At the Olympic Games in Athens, Davydova and Ermakova won gold with an impeccable routine, scoring a perfect 50 for artistic impression (receiving a score of ten from all five judges). In the team event, they also won gold, even after a music malfunction required them repeat their performance. 
 
Leading up to the Beijing Games, Davydova, Ermakova and the Russians were unbeatable, winning every event they entered. At Beijing, the pair again won duet gold, earning a combined 99.251 and all perfect 10s for technical merit. The Russian team also won, leaving Ermakova and Davydova with a record four gold synchro medals.

After Ermakova retired, Davydova began training with Svetlana Romashina. But after the pair won at the 2011 FINA World Championships, Davydova stepped aside in favor of Natalia Ishchenko to focus on the team event, her studies at the Moscow Institute of Economics, Politics, and Law and on coaching youth at her local club. When She announced her retirement after winning gold in the team event at the 2012 Olympic Games, she also announced that she would turn her energy to coaching.  She wanted to be part of keeping the Russians on top. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Russia won both gold medals.

Today, Anastasia Davydova is the director of the Olympic Synchronized Swimming Center, she is a Cavalier of three Russian state orders, is vice- president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Chairman of the Council of Assistance to the Russian Olympic Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Russian Olympic Committee.  She also still avoids eating her favorite bad foods and is in great shape.

About the ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

WATER POLO PLAYER BRIDGETTE GUSTERSON ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME - A YOUNG GIRL’S DREAM CAME TRUE WHEN AUSTRALIA WON THE GOLD IN 2000

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Bridgette Gusterson will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Bridgette Gusterson Ireland (AUS) is the fourteenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG) and András Bodnár (HUN), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Bridgette Gusterson was born on February 7, 1973, in Perth, Western Australia.  As a ten year-old she had a clear and precise goal. She wanted to be an Olympian. The only problem was, she didn't have a sport. Her first choice was gymnastics but she knew she was going to be too tall. The Bicton pool just two minutes from her home and her older sister, Danielle, played water polo, so the choice became clear. Even though women’s water polo was not yet on the Olympic program, there were hopes it would be added to the 1984 Olympic program for Los Angeles.  And so began a career that that set the standard for female water polo players around the world.

As she grew, Gusterson’s tall, athletic frame (180 cm / 5’11”) lent itself to the demanding center forward position.  But her physical attributes were matched by her fierce determination to master all technical aspects of the game.  As a feared centre forward, accurate passer and outside shoot-er, Bridgette was regarded as the best all-rounder in the world in the latter parts of the 1990s.  She made her first Australian National Team appearance in 1992 and subsequently represented her country in 212 international matches, scoring more than 400 goals. In 1995, she scored a hat-trick in leading Australia to the World Cup gold medal over the Netherlands and she was the first Australian woman to receive a professional contract to play in Europe, representing the Italian club, Orrizonte from 1995 to 1997.

It had always been her dream, from when she first started playing, that one day women's water polo would be in the Olympics.  As she grew older the dream became more defined.  She would be captain of the team that won the gold medal in the first women’s Olympic tournament.  Amazingly her dream came true. It started when she assumed captaincy of the Australian team in 1998. A short time later the Australian Olympic Organizing Committee announced women’s wa-ter polo was being added, for the first time, to the Olympic program in 2000.  In the semi-final game against Russia, she scored the winning goal with a clever flick shot over the goal keeper’s shoulder.  The final against the United States was even more dramatic she made the assist that led to the winning goal to break a tie and clinch the gold medal with just 1.3 seconds on the clock.  When the final tallies were made, she had led her team in scoring and to add icing to the top of dream cake, she shared the Olympic triumph with her sister and teammate, Danielle.

Gusterson retired after the 2000 Olympic Games, but continues to be involved in the sport as a coach. She resides in Perth with her husband Gary Ireland (former World Champion swimmer/ surf lifesaver) and their son Kalani.

About ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org


Friday, March 3, 2017

HUNGARIAN WATERPOLO PLAYER DR. ANDRÁS BODNÁR ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today that Dr. András Bodnár will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Dr. Bodnár is the twelfth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo player Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

“We are so proud of Andras' induction,” says Hungarian Water Polo President Dénes Kemény. “Because after so many Hungarian water polo players in the Hall of Fame (19), we have one more honoree. And there is no doubt about his greatness!"

Hungary is a land of thermal springs and although landlocked, swimming and water sports are ingrained in their culture. This love of water led to an early domination of international swimming and diving competitions in the late 19th and early 20th century competitions.  But in the 1920s, it was water polo that came to symbolize Hungary’s unique strengths and individuality.  From 1928 to 2008, the Hungarians have dominated the sport like no other nation, winning 9 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals, including back-to-back titles twice: 1932 and 1936 and, 1952  and 1956, and a triple - back-to-back-to back - from 2000 to 2008.

András Bodnár was born on April 9, 1942 in Ungvár, Hungary, a town that today is known as Uzhgorod, in the Ukraine. In 1952, he began swimming and playing water polo for various clubs in Eger until 1962, when he joined the team of the Budapest University Medical Association. In addition to being an outstanding water polo player, he was also one of Hungary’s top middle distance swimmers.
1964 Hungarian Water Polo Team
He was selected for the first of his four Olympic teams as an 18 year-old and would stand on the podium in each appearance, winning a bronze medal in 1960, gold in 1964 and silver medals in 1968 and 1972. In 1973 he was a member of the team that won the gold at the first FINA World Aquatic Championships in Belgrade. Between 1960 and 1976, he played for the Hungarian National Team in 186 international games - at the same time he was pursuing his medical career. Amazingly, he also swam in the Olympic Games in 1960 and 1964, although he did not make the finals.

In 1968, Bodnár earned his medical degree from the Budapest Semmelweis Medical University. From 1968 to 1985 Dr. Bodnár was Assistant Professor of Surgery. In 1985 he was promoted to head of surgery at Frigyes Korányi Hospital and later National Public Health and Medical Office Supervisor. A man of incredible energy and dedication to his sport, he served as Vice-President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, water polo division from 1981 to 1989, and as president of the newly formed Hungarian Water Polo Federation from 1989 to 1992. Since 1990 he has been a member of the LEN (European Swimming Federation Medical Committee and since 2004 a member of the Francis Field Foundation Board of Trustees.

In a swimming and water polo career spanning almost two decades, in which he won four Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), the inaugural World Championship Gold, two European Championships and seven Hungarian Championships, Dr. András Bodnár goes down in history as one of the greatest players of all time and the twentieth player from Hungary to be so honored.

About ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

US DIVER LAURA WILKINSON ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME

OVERCAME INJURIES TO CLAIM OLYMPIC GOLD

FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today that American diver, LAURA WILKINSON, will become one of seventeen (17) honorees to en-ter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Wilkinson is the eleventh individual to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo player Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been an-nounced.

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 Olympic Games (2000), the FINA World Cup (2004) and the FINA World Championships (2005).

Laura Ann Wilkinson was born on November 17, 1977 in Houston, Texas. Inspired by the publicity surrounding Romanian gymnastic guru Béla Károlyi’s arrival to that city, in 1981, Laura fell in love with gymnastics dreamed of being in the 1996 Olympic Games. But after years of training her gymnastic career ended when a growth spurt during puberty made her too tall for the sport. Then, one day while at a swimming pool, she discovered another sport after seeing an ex-gymnast friend who had switched to diving execute an impressive dive.  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 into diving anyway.  She joined a local club and says she “fell in love with the sport on the first day.”

She didn’t go very far her first year, but the next year Wilkinson won her first US National Title, made the US National Team, 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 Wilkinson won the NCAA 10m platform title in 1997 and 1999 and then gave up her scholarship 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 warmup, flip, 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 and they also found she had stress fracture on her left foot as well.  It appeared that another Olympic dream was at an end. But with a persevering heart and faith, she was not deterred by this injury.  In fact, it may have helped her focus. Together, with her coach, Wilkinson embarked on a brutal training regime that included standing in a cast for six hours a day on top of the platform to practice her push-offs. As soon as the cast was removed, Wilkinson began practicing dives underwater, to avoid putting pressure on her foot.  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 be-fore 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 Bejing as 14  time US National Teams (1995 - 2008),  a 19 -time US National Champion and one of the greatest divers of all time.

Today, Laura continues to follow her faith, is a devoted wife and mother, motivational speaker, writer, mentor and encourager.  Her passion shines through her speaking as she takes her audience on a leap of faith. The lessons she has learned throughout the peaks and valleys of her diving career have given her an insightful outlook on life and have taught her how to be successful in and out of the pool.

About ISHOF


The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people in-volved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, edu-cate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org