FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., January 26. IN a moving, weekend ceremony, nine aquatic Masters greats – including six swimmers, one diver, one water polo player and one synchronized swimmer – were inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF) in Fort Lauderdale. The IMSHOF is an independent wing of the nearly 40 year-old International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Masters swimming, which was founded by Dr. Ransom Arthur in 1970 as a means to promote vigorous lifelong health and fitness, has mushroomed into one of the world’s largest participatory sports, with hundreds of thousands of athletes ranging in age from 25 to more than one hundred.
“Masters swimming is literally tearing down our notions of what is possible at age 40, 50, 60, even 90 and 100,” said Dr. Sam Freas, President of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. “And at the forefront of this social revolution are the men and women we are honoring today.”
To qualify for consideration for IMSHOF, Masters swimmers must have been dominant for at least 15 years and in at least four five-year age groups. The following is a brief summary of the achievements of the 2004 honorees, the second class to be inducted into the Hall:
JANE ASHER (Great Britain). Born in Northern Rhodesia and raised in South Africa, she is a highly successful swim coach. Since 1983, she has competed in four age groups (55-59 through 70-74) and set 52 Masters world records in freestyle, backstroke, IM and sprint butterfly.
ALDO DA ROSA (USA). Brazilian born, he is a professor of engineering at Stanford University. Since the 1970s, he has competed in six age groups (60-64 through 85-89) and set 44 Masters world records.
PAUL HUTINGER (USA). One of the 45 people who swam in the first official U.S. Masters championship in 1971, he has, since then, competed in seven age groups (45-49 through 75-79) and set 26 Masters world records, mostly in the backstroke. He received his Ph.D. at Indiana university under the famed “Doc” Counsilman.
YOSHIKO OSAKI (Japan). A Japanese Olympian in 1956 and ’60 and multi national champion, she has competed in four age groups (45-49 through 60-64) since 1984 and set 70 Masters world records, in backstroke, freestyle and the medley. She is married to Yoshihiko Osaki, a silver medalist at the 1960 Olympics and current Chairman of Japanese Masters Swimming.
FRANK PIEMME (USA). A retired mechanical engineer, since 1980, he has competed in five age groups (55-59 through 75-79) and set 49 Masters world records, primarily in freestyle and butterfly.
LAURA VAL (USA). Arguably the most dominant female Masters swimmer in the world, since 1984 she has competed in four age groups (35-39 thru 50-54) and set 97 Masters world records in every stroke but breaststroke and in every distance from 50 to 1500 meters.
The inductees from the other aquatic disciplines:
VIOLA HARTMAN CADY KRAHN (USA). Diving. The only woman ever to win national titles in swimming, diving and water polo, she is now the world’s oldest competitive diver at the age of 102. She has won 17 Masters world diving titles: 11 on the one-meter and six on the 3-meter springboard. At age 100, she appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” conversing on stage and doing a dive into a pool.
MIKE GARIBALDI (USA). Water polo. A coach, teacher, actor and model, since 1988 he has played in five age groups (30+ through 50+) and competed in seven Masters World Championships with his teams winning 3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze medal. He is also an outstanding distance swimmer.
LOUISE WING (USA). Synchronized swimming. A musician, former Coast Guard lieutenant and founder of Masters synchronized swimming, she has competed in six Masters World Championships and won 14 gold, three silver and two bronze medals since 1985.