PHOENIX, Ariz., May 10. HE’S quiet, so you may not notice him at first. But he’s there. And he’s a doer.
That’s why Arizona Swimming honored the retired Massachusetts businessman and swimming leader with its first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Award” last weekend. It is an honor richly deserved.
Without fanfare, without ever calling attention to himself, Ted Haartz is always where he’s most needed when it comes to the sport of swimming in Arizona. And in the other 49 states, for that matter. The second president of United States Masters Swimming, Haartz was instrumental in putting Masters Swimming on the map.
A graduate of Tufts University where he was a standout swimmer, Haartz never stopped swimming, continuing to compete into his forties in the years before Masters swimming. When Masters came along in 1970, he kept right on training and swimming, only now he competed against competitors his own age instead of athletes young enough to be his children… or grandchildren.
Haartz was just as quiet as a competitor as he was as a leader. He let his swimming do his talking in the water. And his swimming spoke pretty loudly. A participant in the first-ever Masters swimming meet in Amarillo, Texas, in 1970, Haartz set US and world Masters marks in the 100-meter breaststroke in several age groups before arthritis relegated him to less lofty perches on the podium.
A retired businessman and long a leader in New England AAU and Masters swimming circles, Haartz moved to Green Valley, Arizona, almost two decades ago… and simply picked up where he left off.
At the award presentation last weekend, Joy Russell, Chairman of Arizona Swimming had this to say about Ted Haartz;
“Swimming, like many not for profit organizations has many volunteers who devote countless hours to the betterment of the sport and its athletes. However from time to time, an individual stands out among those individuals and tonight Arizona Swimming is proud to award its first lifetime achievement award to Ted Haartz.
“I won’t tell you how long Ted has been involved in swimming as an athlete but lets suffice it to say that Ted was swimming on the Tufts University team before I, or for that matter most of you in this room, were born!
“From there, in addition to raising three boys who also swam or played water polo, he continued to swim and be involved in swimming. When Congress broke up the AAU sports monopoly, it was Ted who stepped up to make certain that all levels of swimming continued to exist."