PHOENIX, Arizona, June 2. JUNE'S first edition of The Morning Swim Show takes viewers on an extended tour of the International Swimming Hall of Fame with Executive Director Bob Duenkel as tour guide.
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ISHOF was created in 1965 as a way to honor the legends of all the aquatic sports – swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. It's only fitting that the first thing visitors see when they enter ISHOF is a wax statue of Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics.
On the main floor of ISHOF is a chronological display of some of the swimsuit fashions through the years, from the full-body Victorian swimsuits of 1908 to a Speedo LZR Racer of 2008. Duenkel continues talking about the history of bathing suits with a story of an Australian swimmer who introduced leotards as parts of swimsuits in the early 1900s.
Continuing the history of swimsuits, Duenkel highlights a sparkly silk suit worn by Lucille Anderson, who performed high-diving entertainment shows.
Women did not have many swimming accomplishments before Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel in 1926, becoming the first woman to complete the feat. Equally historical was the introduction of the two-piece suit during that swim to prevent chafing from the salt water.
Other artifacts at ISHOF include a cast worn by diver Micki King during the 1968 Olympics after breaking her arm before her final dive; the first women's suit that eliminated the skirt feature; Tom Jager's "lucky shoes"; Natalie Coughlin's full bodysuit and Buster Crabbe's Olympic medals.
Synchronized swimming did not have its first official Olympic competition until 1984, but there were many national champions dating back to the 1950s. Duenkel shows off many of the costumes worn by some of history's greatest synchronized swimmers.
The water polo section features a bust of Tamas Farago, the famed Hungarian player who won Olympic medals in 1972, 1976 and 1980.
For more information about the International Swimming Hall of Fame, go to their Web site.