Coach Jim Wood Receives USA Swimming Award

Editor's note: The following introduction was offered by Dennis Pursley, Former USA Swimming’s National Team Director and current Head Coach of the BEST Swim Team in Phoenix, AZ. when USA Swimming honored Jim Wood last week in San Diego at the annual United States Swimming convention with the USA Swimming Award.

This is not only a pleasure, but more importantly, it is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to present this award.

I’ve been told by more than a few people that my presentations are more effective when I keep them brief, so I will attempt to take that advice to heart although it will be difficult given the accomplishments of this year’s recipient.

The 2003 USA Swimming Award honoree has formerly been the General Chairman of New Jersey Swimming and Chairman of the USA Swimming Time Standards Committee.

Since 1992, he has been:
•The Coordinator of the Olympic International Operations Committee
•The Chairman of the USA Swimming Steering Committee, and
•A member of the USA Swimming Board of Directors.
He is also currently a member of the International Relations Committee and the ASUA Technical Committee. Furthermore, he has served on countless ad hoc committees over the years.

More importantly, he has taken all of these positions very seriously…
•He ALWAYS does his homework.
•He ALWAYS comes prepared.
•He ALWAYS follows through on his responsibilities.

He probably wouldn’t want me to share this information, but he usually provides these services, some including international travel, at his own expense – refusing to accept the reimbursement that he’s entitled to.

Somehow, all the while, he continues to be the owner and head coach of a 300+ member club program, and continues to coach swimmers to the National Team level.

More important than any of this is the fact that he is a man of great principle and conviction. He will not compromise his principles for any reason…
•Not for convenience
•Not for popularity
•Not for personal gain
•Not for any reason.

How refreshing this is in a world that is in desperate need of principled leaders!

As if this weren’t enough, he is also a man of humility. Although he has held positions of authority and influence, his ego has never gotten in the way and he has never sought the spotlight. When he travels with the National Team, he will be the first to volunteer to carry the luggage, fill the Gatorade coolers, run the errands or do any of the myriad of mundane jobs that have to be done on a National Team trip.

And finally, I have to take this opportunity to thank him personally for a decade of invaluable support to me during my tenure as National Team Director.

It is truly a pleasure, an honor and a privilege to present the 2003 USA Swimming Award to an inspirational leader, a great role model and a loyal servant of USA Swimming: Coach Jim Wood.

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