2020 ISHOF Specialty Awards to be presented during its Honoree Induction weekend, April 24-25, 2020


The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today the recipients of the ISHOF Specialty Awards.  The ISHOF Specialty Awards are presented annually to individuals for outstanding contributions to aquatics.  This year’s awards will be presented on Friday evening April in conjunction with the Paragon Awards, and the 56th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, April 24-25, 2020 at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.  Get ticket information now or call 570 594-4367.

This year’s ISHOF Specialty Award Recipients:

  • Jordan Whitney-Wei — Buck Dawson Author Award: Katharine Whitney Curtis – Mother of Synchronized Swimming
  • Russell Weaver—ISHOF Service Award
  • James S. O’Connor —Judge G. Harold Martin Award
  • Patricia Cirigliano—Virginia Hunt Newman Award Sponsored by Kiefer
  • Julia Meno—John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award Sponsored by S.R. Smith
  • Wayne Goldsmith—Al Schoenfield Media Award
  • John Leonard —ISHOF President’s Award

Jordan Whitney Wei — 2019 Buck Dawson Author Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Buck Dawson Author’s Award will be Jordan Whitney-Wei for his book, Katharine Whitney Curtis – The Mother of Synchronized Swimming.  This award is presented by ISHOF in the name of William “Buck” Dawson, ISHOF’s founding Executive Director, to an author of work that promotes and educates people about aquatics.

Jordan Whitney-Wei

2020 Paragon Award recipient Jordan Whitney-Wei

Jordan Whitney-Wei is the great-grandnephew of Katharine Whitney Curtis. His book, Katharine Whitney Curtis – Mother of Synchronized Swimming will be released on February 25, 2020.  His previous writing and research focused on philosophy and poetry, but this time, it focuses on family, synchronized swimming and his “Aunt Kate”, a woman ahead of her time.  This is Whitney-Wei’s third book and his first award.   Katharine “Kay” Curtis was the originator of synchronized swimming, as we know it today, she even wrote a book about it in 1936.  But there was much more to her life and career.  Unbound by fear, or the narrow expectations of society, this was a woman who lived ahead of her time making things happen along the way.  She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979.  The book will be available on Amazon for purchase.

About Buck Dawson: Dawson was a veteran of WWII who served as assistant and publicist for Generals Gavin and Ridgeway in the 82nd Airborne. From the time he was chosen to lead ISHOF in 1962, until his death in 2008, Buck traveled the world armed with Hall of Fame brochures, books, and bumper stickers, always spreading the word, always willing to talk and teach swimming and swimming history to anyone who would listen. He wrote hundreds of articles and was the author of eight books, ranging in subjects from bathing beauties to war, but especially swimming.


Russell Weaver — 2020 International Swimming Hall of Fame Service Award

The Staff of the International Swimming Hall of Fame are pleased to announce that Russell Weaver will receive the 2020 ISHOF Service Award.  The ISHOF Service Award is given to an individual who has selflessly volunteered their time, energy, and/or resources to advance the interests and work of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Russell Weaver

2020 Paragon Award recipient Russell Weaver

Russell Weaver has easily given over 25 years of his time, connections, and resources to ISHOF.  He is involved extensively with business networks throughout South Florida.  When he attends these meetings and events, he always has in his mind, “Can this help ISHOF in any way?”  As president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Sisters Cities International and co-chair of Tower Club Internationals, Weaver works closely together with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Broward County, and the City of Fort Lauderdale to promote Broward County’s business and cultural highlights to the Miami based Consulates and binational chamber of commerce organizations.   During these international monthly meetings, new business and government relationships are established, highlighting Fort Lauderdale and Broward County as a world class destination.   As always, Weaver remembers ISHOF and always gives us the opportunity   to showcase our Honorees at some of these events and educate the international local community and others, about what our museum has to offer.


James S. O’Connor — 2020 Judge G. Harold Martin Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Judge G. Harold Martin Award is James (Jim) O’Connor.  The G. Harold Martin Award is presented to someone for their long and exceptional leadership, insight, and dedication to the water safety of children and the cause of making “Every Child A Swimmer”.


2020 Paragon Award recipient James S. O’Conor

Jim O’Connor has more than 40 years-experience as an aquatic professional and is committed to the prevention of aquatic accidents and teaching children to swim.  O’Connor is the Aquatics Program Manager for Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Open Spaces Department, the third largest parks and recreation department in the United States and the largest municipal learn to swim provider in the state.

Mr. O’Connor has held numerous aquatic positions, served on the “Advisory Council” of the “National Drowning Prevention Alliance”, has been an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, Aquatics Coordinator for the American Red Cross Greater Miami and Keys Chapter, and was the Aquatic Director and Head Swim Coach at the University of Oregon.

About G. Harold Martin: Back in 1908, G. Harold Martin almost drowned in the Ohio River. Over the next two decades he almost drowned two more times. From these experiences evolved a mission to make “Every Child A Swimmer.” His civic involvement led to the building of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s first municipal pool in 1927, Kiwanian sponsored free swim lessons at the pool, and eventually the decision by ISHOF to locate in Fort Lauderdale. An active Kiwanian his entire adult life, he was instrumental in making the Key Club an integral club within Kiwanis International and the adoption of Every Child A Swimmer as a Kiwanian project.


Patricia Cirigliano — 2020 Virginia Hunt Newman International Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Patricia Cirigliano will be the 2020 recipient of the Virginia Hunt Newman International Award.


The award is sponsored by Kiefer, the “Keep ‘em Swimming” company founded in 1947 by Hall of Fame swimming great Adolph Kiefer, this award annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of infant and young child swimming instruction in the name of the “Mother of Infant Swimming,” Virginia Hunt Newman.

Dr. Patricia Cirigliano

2020 Paragon Award recipient Dr. Patricia Cirigliano

Dr. Patricia Cirigliano started the first Argentine swimming school for babies in 1960, together with her holistic method, Matronatacion®, which is a creative and original approach to aquatic initiation for babies that involves human integrity and respect for the child and the family. To present, 17,000 babies, toddlers and young children beginning at 15 days old have learned to swim and have enjoyed the Matronatacion® method at Cirigliano’s school, whose motto is “Swimming is learnt by playing”.  They are at the very core of learning. The Method distinctive characteristics are freedom, game, active mother role, intelligent learning according to child maturity development, without conditioned response and didactical use of toys and materials.

Dr. Cirigliano is member of a great number of associations such as: International Physical Education Federation and Panathlon Club in Buenos Aires and the National Swimming Schools Association in U.S.A.  As from 1991, she has been an active member of the Argentine Pediatrics Association.


Julia Meno — 2020 John K. Williams, Jr. Adapted Aquatics Award

The Adapted Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Julia Meno will receive the 2020 John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award. The annual award, honoring individuals or organizations who have made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adaptive aquatics, is presented by S.R. Smith, a world-leading manufacturer of commercial and residential swimming pool deck equipment headquartered in Canby, Oregon.


Julia Meno, CTRS, ATRIC, CMT, is the founder and owner of Therapeutic Aquatics, LLC. and is an internationally known presenter and instructor on aquatic therapy and wellness. She currently instructs group wellness classes and provides individual aquatic therapy sessions. She is the author of several instructional aquatic therapy technique manuals & DVD’s. She was the recipient of the ATRI International Tsunami Spirit Award (2005) and The Aquatic Therapy Professional Award (2012).

Julia Meno

2020 Paragon Award recipient Julia Meno


Wayne Goldsmith — 2020 Al Schoenfield Media Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Al Schoenfield Media Award will be Wayne Goldsmith for outstanding contributions to the promotion of aquatic sports through journalism.  This award is presented by ISHOF in memory of Al Schoenfield.


2020 Paragon Award recipient Wayne Goldsmith

Wayne Goldsmith has been a thought-provoking leader and influencer in the swim industry for more than 25 years.  As a regular contributor to Swimming World Magazine, his “Goldmind” articles discuss goal setting, visualization, and team building concepts.  He has worked directly with many of the world’s leading coaches, athletes, teams and sporting organizations in over 30 different countries.  Wayne is a recognized global expert in coaching, coach education, and coach development for peak performance.  His lessons in leadership, team development, change acceleration and continuous improvement provide swim coaches with quality, credible, engaging information via articles, videos, podcasts, seminars, clinics, and talks.

Al Schoenfield was the Editor and Publisher of Swimming World Magazine (1960-1977) and served on various international committees of swimming, including the FINA Technical Swimming Committee (1980-1984).  Schoenfield’s life was a commitment to swimming and he participated in its administrative structure and spread its stories through his magazines and promotions.  Al died in 2005, but his legacy will forever endure to all who have benefited from his lifetime of service to swimming.


 John Leonard — 2020 ISHOF Presidential Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Presidential Award will be John Leonard.  This award is presented by ISHOF conferred in recognition of an extraordinary or exceptional achievement to promote the mission of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


2020 Paragon Award recipient John Leonard

John Leonard has served as the Executive Director for the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) for over 35 years. During his tenure, ASCA has grown from 1,000 to 11,000 coach members.  Along the way, Leonard and his staff created a certification program that educated swim coaches and professionalized the sport.  In fact, over 24,500 coaches have been certified by ASCA since 1985.  To further that mission, swim coaches, aquatic professionals, and industry giants gather every fall at the ASCA World Clinic, which is now the largest gathering of its kind in the world.  Leonard enhanced ASCA’s service to the aquatic community by creating Swim America for coaches to run learn-to-swim programs to teach proper technique and save lives.  He has published numerous articles and commentaries while overseeing ASCA’s publications throughout his career.  As an advocate for coaches and athletes, no other person has been more outspoken on issues relating to doping, athlete rights, and coaching representation on an international level.

Additional Awards During 56th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend

2020 Paragon Awards

Pentair Logo
“For more than 20 years now, Pentair has been honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame in recognizing leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of aquatics with the Paragon Awards”, said Jim Drozdowski, Institutional Aquatics Sales Manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems.

“The annual Paragon Awards is a spectacular event that celebrates the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible.  These are the people who save lives, promote water safety, and further aquatic education around the world.  We are so proud to recognize these important people at the International Swimming Hall of Fame through the sponsorship of Pentair every year,” said ISHOF President/CEO Brent Rutemiller.

2020 Paragon Award Recipients:

Competitive Swimming:  Teri McKeever

Water Polo:  Lynn Comer Kachmarik

Competitive Diving: Dave Burgering

Synchronized Swimming: Betty Hazle

Aquatic Safety: Linda Quan,M.D.

Recreational Swimming:  Florence Werner


The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”.   In 2018, Sports Publications Inc, publisher of Swimming World Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact.  Today, ISHOF’s vision is to be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.  Show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.

About the International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Weekend:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with ISHOF Honoree and Sullivan Award Winner, Debbie Meyer, and double Olympic gold-medalist and everyone’s favorite Olympic swimming broadcaster, Rowdy Gaines acting as co-emcees and hosts of the induction with multiple events spread out over two days in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Make your plans now to attend the weekend of April 24-25, 2020!  ISHOF Members can purchase the Complete Weekend Package (see below) and save! (Get info on membership here.) Can’t attend the event? Donate to ISHOF to support our honorees.

This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees include:

HONOR SWIMMERSBrendan Hansen (USA)Michael Klim (AUS), Jon Sieben (AUS)Rebecca Soni (USA), and Daichi Suzuki (JPN)

HONOR DIVER: Matthew Mitcham (AUS)




HONOR COACH: Ursula Carlile (AUS) and David Marsh (USA)

HONOR CONTRIBUTOR: Bob Duenkel*(USA) and Peter Hürzeler (SUI)

In addition to the Class of 2020, two Honorees from the Class of 2019, who were unable to attend last year, will be present to be inducted. Honor Swimmer: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL) and Honor Diver: Li Ting (CHN).

Get more information about this year’s induction class here and more information about Otylia Jedrzejczak and Li Ting.


The Induction Weekend Schedule

Friday, April 24, 2020

Paragon & ISHOF Awards Night

  • 5:30 pm Cocktails
  • 6:30 pm ISHOF and Paragon Awards

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Honoree Induction Day Luncheon – Meet Rowdy Gaines and go on a behind the scenes tour of the Aquatic Complex construction

  • 12-1:30 pm Luncheon

Official 56th Annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner

  • 5:30 pm VIP Reception
  • 6:30 –10:00 pm Induction Ceremony & Dinner


Ticket Information

*See all ticket options here.



Host Hotel: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Upscale retreat with private beach access, two pools, four restaurants, full service spa and oceanside bar. Location of the Saturday evening induction ceremony. ¼ mile south of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

3030 Holiday Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 525-4000

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $279 per night

Book your group rate for International Swimming Hall of Fame



Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach

440 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 524-8733

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $229 per night

Book your hotel through the group rate for ISHOF Honoree Ceremony

Questions: contact Meg Keller-Marvin at meg@ishof.org or 570-594-4367

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