GAINESVILLE, Fla., October 3. ON Friday, Sept. 24, the final touch was placed on a swimming scholarship, making the idea a reality – establishing the Rogers “Tiger” Holmes Swimming Endowment, according to reports received from the University of Florida.
The idea for the scholarship to honor former Gator great Tiger Holmes was proposed at the 2003 Swimming Alumni Weekend banquet by another former Gator great and Olympian, Mary (Wayte) Bradburne, and Splash Club President, Jeff Smith. The goal was to complete the endowment by Sept. 24, 2004, the date of the 2004 swimming alumni banquet. By the end of the three-hour dinner and ceremony, the goal was achieved and the endowment established.
The endowment was made possible by generous contributions from numerous former orange and blue swimmers and friends of the Florida swimming and diving program. Approximately $50,000 was raised in just over a year.
Tiger Holmes graduated from UF in 1948. He was president of his graduating class, a member of the Florida Blue Key and captain of the ’48 Gator swim team. In 1941, he swam the 400- and the 50-yard freestyle and claimed the SEC titles in both events and helped the Gators win the SEC Championship that season. Among his many decorations after collegiate competition, Holmes won three FINA World Championships and garnered 14 United States Masters Swim titles.
Holmes now works with a team, teaching underprivileged Jacksonville children how to swim. In just three years, over 12,000 children were given the chance to learn under Holmes’ “Every Child A Swimmer” program. The endowment will not only honor a great member of the Gator family, but also provide a scholarship for current and future generations of Gator swimmers and divers.