FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 5. MARGE Counsilman, wife of the late Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman, will receive the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) “Grande Dame" Award at the Hall of Fame’s annual awards gala in Fort Lauderdale on May 8.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame Dames organization was established in 1965 for the purpose of promoting the interests and projects of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Past recipients include Olympians Eleanor Holm and Aileen Riggin Soule.
Dr. Sam Freas, President of the Hall of Fame, comments: “Marge Counsilman truly deserves this award. She has contributed in thousands of ways to the sport of swimming, on both an intellectual and a personal level. That is why she was a unanimous selection for this honor when the Hall of Fame's Dames Committee met last year to choose its 2004 honoree.”
Marge and Doc Counsilman formed a partnership that lasted for the more than 60 years they were married. Marge shared fully in her husband’s accomplishments because she contributed so much to them.
The mother of four children — Kathy, Jim, Jill and Brian – she typed and proofread all of Doc's books and articles; served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Counsilman Company, Inc.; administered the Counsilman Swim Camps; and ran the Indiana State Championship meet several times.
Beyond these achievements, she supported Doc unfailingly for more than 60 years, stimulated his thinking, served as a sounding board, and organized his life.
Dr. David Tanner, a former Indiana University swimmer, notes: “To those of us who swam for Doc, she was a source of emotional stability during a tumultuous time in our young lives. She did all this by just being herself, by doing what she thought was right for Doc and his swimmers. Now, with Doc gone, she has become the glue that holds us together.
“It's a very strong bond that Doc's swimmers have with her; surely unique in the world of sports.”
Always challenging herself intellectually, Marge currently is attending classes at Indiana University to earn a bachelor's degree in English (creative writing).