International Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees By Country (United States)

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Marcella MacDonald - 2019 Open Water Swimmer
When she was just 12-years-old, she knew open water swimming was her passion, and she told her younger sister that she would swim the English Channel one day.
Jason Lezak - 2019 Swimmer
From the beginning, Jason Lezak showed great promise in the pool, but he constantly butted heads with his coach, Dave Salo, over his commitment to training. Recruited to swim at UC Santa Barbara, Jason’s problems with authority continued until coach Gregg Wilson finally dismissed him from the team. This was the wake-up call he needed. He loved to swim and compete, and after promising to improve his training habits, he rejoined the team. In his Senior year, he was named Big West Conference Swimmer of the Year,
Brenda Villa - 2018 Water Polo Player
Brenda was five years old when her parents, immigrants from northern Mexico, took her to the pool so she wouldn’t be afraid of the water like her mother. After two years on the swim team, they reluctantly allowed her to follow her older brother, Edgar into the rough and tumble sport of water polo. This was before the explosion of girls water polo programs and Brenda practiced with and competed mostly against boys. It didn’t take long for her to realize that she was as good, if not better than most of the boys.
Andy Burke - 2018 Contributor
For over 50 years, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) has recognized a category of honorees known as “contributors.” They are the unsung heroes who have used their talents and work behind the scenes to positively impact the aquatic sports and help create platforms for others to achieve fame and glory.
Joy Cushman - 2018 Contributor
Joy Cushman was born into an aquatic family that had a summer beach house in Galveston, Texas. It was there she developed an early love for swimming, fishing, surfing, and waterskiing. Back in Houston during the school year, she joined a swimming team. Like most female swimmers in those days, she performed water ballet routines for her club’s annual water shows, starting in 1939. It was the great heyday of water shows and the Aquacades that helped popularize swimming and make Hall of Famers Johnny Weissmuller, Eleanor Holm, Buster Crabbe and Esther Williams superstars.
Amanda Beard - 2018 Swimmer
When Amanda Beard started serious training as an 11-year old, no one could have imagined that this California girl, whose role model was the flamboyant bad boy of basketball, Dennis Rodman, would become America’s best female breaststroker at the tender age of 13. Training under coach Dave Salo at Novaquatics Swim Club, her progress was so meteoric that she skipped Junior Nationals, jumping directly from competing against 12-year olds to the Senior Nationals.
Heinz Kluetmeier - 2017 Contributor
Heinz Kluetmeier was born and raised in Germany until he was nine, when his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was introduced to the idea of a career in photo journalism when several photos taken of him by his mother, with his multi-talented pet parakeet “Chirpy,” were picked up and published nationally by the Associated Press. By age 15, he was shooting pictures for the local AP office.
Walter Poenisch - 2017 Pioneer
He was a baker, rodeo competitor and strongman who entered his first competitive swimming race in 1963, to show that a 50 year old man could be as active as young fellows. It was a 60-mile professional marathon swim in frigid Lake Michigan. While Walter Poenish failed to finish, he was hooked on the sport and left the water determined to swim an even greater distance for an even greater cause.
Laura Wilkinson - 2017 Diver
Inspired by the publicity surrounding Romanian gymnastic guru Béla Károlyi’s arrival to her home town of Houston, Texas, in 1981, Laura Wilkinson fell in love with gymnastics and dreamed of being in the 1996 Olympic Games. After years of training her gymnastic career ended when a growth spurt made her too tall for the sport. Then she discovered diving. In spite of being told by one of her teachers that she was too old to start a new sport at the age of 15, Laura plunged in and “fell in love with the sport on the first day.”
Takeshi Hirose - 2017 Pioneer
He learned to swim in the irrigation ditches of Maui’s Pu’unene’s sugar plantation, where his parents worked as laborers. Watching over him and the other kids was Soichi Sakamoto, one of their elementary school teachers.
Richard Jochums - 2017 Coach
Dick’s journey to the Swimming Hall of Fame began when his mother insisted he learn to swim. His first swim teacher and coach was Laurabelle Bookstaver, of the Berkeley Women’s City Club. Under the tutelage of this tough talking woman, Dick fell in love with the sport. He earned a scholarship to the University of Washington where John Tallman turned him into an All-American sprinter and took him on as his assistant. Leaving Washington to continue his studies at Cal, he joined Pete Cutino’s staff as his assistant. Over the years he had studied the methods of George Haines, Sherm Chavoor, Peter Daland and Jim Counsilman and after receiving his Ph. D., accepted the coaching and teaching position at UC Hayward. It was at Hayward where Dr. Robert Morford led him to discover the ancient Greek concept of Agon and Areté - the struggle and the victory.
Ian Crocker - 2017 Swimmer
When 17-year old Ian Crocker entered the 2000 US Olympic Trials, it was with a view to gain experience for 2004, but he left the meet winning the 100m butterfly. Then, at the Olympic Games in Sydney, he won a gold medal as a member of the USA’s world record breaking 4x100m medley relay team.
Frank Gorman - 2016 Diver
Before 1973, there were no World Championships, World Diving Cups or Grand Prix Diving series. For divers there was only one chance to test their skills in the international arena every four years and that was at the Olympic Games.
Dara Torres - 2016 Swimmer
Dara Grace Torres grew up in Beverly Hills, California, where she learned to swim in her family’s backyard pool. At the age of seven, she followed her brothers to swim practice at the local YMCA. During her junior year of high school, Torres moved to Mission Viejo, CA, to train with Hall of Fame Coach Mark Schubert, and in 1983 she broke the world record in the 50-meter freestyle. The next year, while not yet a senior in high school, she won her first Olympic gold medal as a member of the USA’s 4x100 freestyle relay team.
Aaron Peirsol - 2016 Swimmer
Growing up in the seaside communities of southern California, his love affair with the water came to him naturally. He was introduced to competitive swimming under coach Stacy Zapolski at the Costa Mesa YMCA when he was just five years old. At age eight he moved to a summer swim and water polo league in Corona del Mar with coach Ted Bandaruk. At ten, he joined Junior Lifeguards in Newport Beach before making the move to Irvine’s Novaquatics to swim under Brian Pajer.
Monique Wildschut - 2016 Swimmer
Before turning professional, Monique Wildschut was a five-time Dutch Open Water Champion from 1978 through 1982. She was also a Dutch National Champion in the pool, holding records in the 800-meter freestyle and the 400 medley relay.
James Gaughran - 2015 Coach
He grew up in San Francisco where he was taught to swim by his father at China Beach, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. At Sequoia High School, in Redwood City, he developed into a champion swimmer and water polo player under coach Clyde Devine, who predicted Jim Gaughran would one day be an Olympian.
Don Watson - 2015 Coach
Don Watson’s swimming life began in the mid-1940s when, having just turned 13, he joined the St. Louis YMCA swim team. Now, as it turned out, the St. Louis Y had among its members, an outstanding swimmer who would have a profound influence not only on Don’s life, but on the sport of swimming. That swimmer was Jim Counsilman, better known to us today as “Doc.”
Karlyn Pipes - 2015 Masters Swimmer
She learned to swim at the age of four, competed in her first race for the Lompoc (California) Marlins at age six. She even tackled open water swimming before she was 10. By the time she was 15, she was a Junior National Champion, swimming under Coach Mike Troy at the Coronado Navy Swim Association in San Diego. But Karlyn Pipes did not really come into her own until she became a Masters swimmer. Ever her own woman, Karlyn did it her way: backwards. She got faster as she got older.
Charlotte Davis - 2014 Coach
She began her love of swimming at age three. At 11, her older sisters taught her “water ballet” and she was immediately hooked. She loved the music, the creativity, the artistry and best of all, swimming upside down! She then discovered the Washington Athletic Club Synchronized Swimming Team, where she competed through high school. After high school, she moved and competed with the reigning National Champion, Santa Clara Aquamaids. It was with the Aquamaids, she became a National Team champion in 1970.
Sandra Bucha - 2014 Open Water Swimmer
Like Annette Kellerman before her, this little girl earned her place in swimming history in the water and in the courtroom.
Jon Erikson - 2014 Open Water Swimmer
As his father Ted was getting interested in open water swimming, he took his son to swimming lessons with Chicago Park District’s Ridge Park program. The boy’s rapid progression led him to follow in his father’s wake as a great marathon swimmer.
David Kenneth Yudovin - 2014 Open Water Swimmer
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.Open Water Swimmer David Yudovin is known for his determination to conquer waters that have previously been considered unswimmable, and becoming the first person to swim them. But by all rights, he shouldn’t be alive right now. He should have died off the California coast on his 27th birthday in 1978, when he was attempting to be the first person to swim from California’s Anacapa Island to Ventura and went into cardiac arrest just 250 yards from shore.
Bruce Hopping - 2014 Contributor
A great promoter of youth sports and art, Bruce Hopping was born in 1921 in Vietnam. He grew up in Asia and the islands of the South Pacific, where his parents had business interests. When he was ready for high school, his family relocated to the United States, and then, like the rest of his graduating class in high school, he volunteered for the Army at the outbreak of World War II. He became a pilot and while searching for a missing plane, he was forced to ditch his plane into the Pacific. Battling storms, waves, sharks, sunburn and salt sores in a leaky raft, he survived on seagulls that roosted there and washed ashore in the Philippines two weeks later. It was a prime example of Hopping’s perseverance, tenacity and desire to live.
Dale Petranech - 2014 Contributor
Dale Petranech has been a leading figure, promoter, historian and organizer of open water swimming competitions in the United States and around the world for the past 35 years. He has accepted every challenge head on and is well respected internationally for his work.
Tom Malchow - 2014 Swimmer
He was introduced early to the water and started swimming competitively at the age of seven to help combat his chronic asthma. A naturally tall and lean kid, Tom Malchow played a little basketball and baseball in grade school, but it was swimming that he showed the most promise. Swimming for coach Paul Lundsten, state, zone and sectional times came easily to him. At St. Thomas Military Academy he held the pool record, in every event except for diving, and was recruited by some of the nations top collegiate programs. He chose Michigan because he liked the coachJon Urbanchek, and the overall program.
Nathalie Schneyder - 2013 Diver
When Nathalie fell into the swimming pool at the age of four and almost drowned, her mother decided she needed swimming lessons to keep her safe. Within four years, she was competing in synchro as a member of the Walnut Creek Synchronized Swimming Team.
Gary Hall Jr. - 2013 Swimmer
As a two year old, his dad carried him on to the pool deck of the Montreal Olympic swim stadium. Five years later, he was in Fort Lauderdale to see his dad’s induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Colonel Frank Kurtz - 2012 Diver
Frank Kurtz grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, a decidedly independent child who began making legends early. Tired of his step-father's beatings, he ran away from home when he was 12. Like a lot of runaways in the 1920's, he found a job hawking newspapers. In a pattern that would repeat itself throughout his life, his charm, winning personality, and sense of adventure soon brought him the attention of wealthy patrons at the Kansas City Athletic Club (KCAC).
Jill Sudduth - 2012 Synchronized (Artistic) Swimmer
Ever since Jill learned to swim at the age of four, she loved synchronized swimming and competed in the sport for 20 years. Upon reaching the National Team, she practiced five to seven hours a day, six days per week and became one of the world’s all-time best synchronized swimmers.
Re Calcaterra - 2011 Contributor
Re Calcaterra was born in 1915 in St. Louis, an area where she lived all her life. In this landlocked state of Missouri, swimming was not on the minds of most people especially after the dirty- water swimming conditions where many athletes became ill at the 1904 St Louis Olympic Games only eleven years earlier. After high school graduation, she went to work as a secretary atthe Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis. Soon married, she took her daughter, Roz, to the YMCA, teaching her to swim at a young age. A few years later, she attended a synchronised swimming clinic and in 1948, at the St. Louis Downtown YMCA, she organized the Clayton Shaw Park Synchronized Swimming Team, which she coached for more than 50 years; producing two national champions, one being daughter Roz, syn­chro's first nomination for the Sullivan Award.
Leonid Krayzelburg - 2011 Swimmer
Leonid “Lenny” Krayzelburg was born in Odessa, the Soviet Union. After spending his boyhood years in what is now the Ukraine, his family immigrated to the United States to escape Soviet Jewish anti Semitism and the call of the Soviet army, settling in a Soviet Jewish enclave in Los Angeles. This soft spoken Russian, a product of the Soviet sports system, wanted to continue his swimming in America, training first at the Jewish Community Center and eventually at the University of Southern California and Trojan Swim Club with coaches Bruce Becker at the Westside JCC, Stu Blumkin at Santa Monica College and Mark Schubert at USC.
Murray Stephens - 2010 Coach
In 1968, Murray Stephens co-founded the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which, in the eyes of Olympic Coach Mark Schubert, became “the best swimming club program in America” rivaling clubs in the sunbelts of California and Florida. He trained local swimmers and attracted other swimmers to relocate to his facility where he would turn them from good swimmers into great swimmers.
Maureen O'Toole - 2010 Water Polo Player
Maureen O'Toole is a six-time World Water Polo Female Athlete of the Year and played on the Women’s U.S. National Team for over 21 years. Between 1978 and 2000, she competed in six World Championships and seven FINA World Cups.
Paul Asmuth - 2010 Open Water Swimmer
Move over Abou Heif, Herman Williamsee and John Kinsella, the greatest marathon swimming racers the world had seen. That’s until Paul Asmuth ascended on the world scene in the 1980’s becoming the most dominant racer on the professional circuit and one of the world’s greatest professional marathon swimmers.
Larry Griswold - 2010 Diver
The land-locked state of Iowa had a knack for producing aquatic competitors in the first half of the 20th century. Famous for its swimmers, Olympic champion Wally Ris and coach Dave Armbruster, divers Lyle Draves and Kent Ferguson and synchronized swimmer Beulah Gundling, non the least was Larry Griswold, a 1932 graduate of the University of Iowa and a four-time varsity letterman in diving, wrestling, track and field, and gymnastics.
Brooke Bennett - 2010 Swimmer
Growing up in Plant City, Florida on a farm surrounded by a menagerie of animals, Brooke loved the water and swam a length of the family pool at the age of two. By age six she was a local swim club champ.
Judy McGowan - 2009 Contributor
Since 1953, Judy McGowan has been active as a synchronized swimming competitor, coach, judge and most importantly, as an administrator both nationally and internationally.
Jenny Thompson - 2009 Swimmer
When Jenny Thompson finished her swimming career following the 2004 Olympic Games, she was the most decorated U.S. Olympian. She had earned a total of 12 medals, eight of them gold. From 1992-2004, she competed on four Olympic teams. She also set 15 world records, most of which were in individual events.
Jon Urbanchek - 2008 Coach
Wherever Jon Urbanchek goes, honors follow him.
Jill Savery - 2008 Synchronized (Artistic) Swimmer
Jill Savery grew up in Concord, California, as an all-around athlete in gymnastics, swimming, diving, baseball and ballet. But, by the age of 10, she decided where to put her energy: synchronized swimming.
Anita Nall - 2008 Swimmer
Anita Nall joined the swim team at the age of five following, in the footsteps of her two older sisters. By age 12, she set age group records and at 14 years old notched an American record. Swimming for Coach Murray Stephens at the legendary North Baltimore Aquatic Club, she developed a technically-perfect breaststroke using the new-style stroke of the time.
Bob Helmick - 2007 Contributor
During his lifetime (1937-1991), Bob Helmick became the most influential American in international sport. He led the governing bodies of the international aquatic disciplines (FINA), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Amy Van Dyken - 2007 Swimmer
At 6'0” and 145 pounds,Amy Van Dykenis one of the world's great freestyle and butterfly sprinters who held the World Record in the 50 meter butterfly (short course).