Carney, Cassidy Among Five Inducted to North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame

Photo Courtesy: Competitor

The North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame will induct five members as the Class of 2020 in March. The honorees, announced Tuesday, are Peter Carney, Sid Cassidy, Pat Earey, Beth Harrell and Fritz Lehman.

“Our Class of 2020 North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame Inductees represent standouts in all levels of swimming competition, coaching, and administration,” said Ceil Blackwell, co-chair of the NC Swimming Hall of Fame Committee, in a press statement. “They represent accomplishments in Swimming, Open Water Swimming, and Masters Swimming, and we are delighted to recognize their achievements in, and contributions to, the sport of swimming.”

“I am thrilled this year to see the amazing achievements of individuals who have led, or are continuing to lead, our sport, both in the pool and out,” co-chair Erika Brown added. “With all the assembled aquatics sports talent, our Induction Ceremony in March promises to be quite an event.”

Carney was the first coach of Mecklenburg Aquatic Club from 1977-81. He was part of NC Swimming’s leadership for 20 years and also served on USA Swimming’s Board of Directors in various capacities and committees, including as the chairman of the Rules Committee from 1997-2002 and as USA Swimming’s treasurer from 2005-08.

Cassidy was an All-American swimmer at NC State and a three-time NCAA champion in both the 500 free and 1,650 free before competing in open-water marathons, ranked fourth in the world in that discipline in 1979. The Kinston, N.C., native coached at Wilmington Swim School & Aquatic Club in Delaware and the Greater Tampa Swimming Association, then became head coach at James Madison University and the University of Miami. A pioneer of the FINA Open Water Grand Prix, he served as FINA’s chairman at the first Olympic 10K in Beijing in 2008, then a referee in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Since 2005, he’s been the aquatic director and head coach at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Fla.

Earey coached the University of North Carolina from 1957-74, winning 71.1 percent of dual meets (145-59) and five ACC championships. Thirteen times, Earley’s Tar Heels finished in the top two in the ACC, and they earned two top-10 finishes at NCAAs (topping out at sixth in 1964) and seven top-20s. He compiled an 84-20 record in ACC duals. He also mentored a pair of Olympians (Phil Riker and Thompson Mann in 1964) and three-time All-America Harrison Merrill. Earley passed away in 2005 at age 82.

Harrell excelled as a swimmer at NC State and on the international stage. She finaled in the 1976 Olympic Trials and was part of an American delegation that swam in Russia and the World University Games in 1977. She earned 26 All-American honors at NC State. Harrell was an accomplished Masters swimmer, an All-American in the 30-34 age group in 1990. She founded Piedmont Aquatic Club in Winston-Salem and later became its head coach. Her coaching journey took her to jobs as an assistant/interim head coach at her alma mater, as the head coach at South Carolina and as the founder and head coach from 2000-14 at the University of Northern Florida.

Lehman, who swam at the University of Oklahoma, ranked in the top 10 in the nation in every age group from 12 to 47. He was a Big 8 Conference champion and record-holder in both backstroke events and remains the last male conference swimming champion in Sooners history. He launched his Masters career after moving to North Carolina, becoming an All-American seven times with 27 national No. 1 times and 93 national top-10 rankings, including 10 masters records in backstroke over various distances and courses. He also holds six FINA Masters world records in backstroke. On the administrative side, he’s worked on the board of directors at Raleigh Area Masters Swim Team and is currently the president of North Carolina Masters swimming.

The North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame was founded in 1985 to recognize outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, the sport of Swimming in North Carolina. From 1985 to 1991 the NC Swimming Hall of Fame conducted six induction ceremonies honoring 27 inductees, but subsequently went on a long hiatus. In 2015 a new NC Swimming Hall of Fame Committee came together to re-establish the NC Swimming Hall of Fame. The 2016 Induction Ceremony was the first in 25 years. Under the new Committee, the Hall aims to recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions across a broader spectrum of aquatic sports including Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Water Polo, Masters Swimming, and Open Water Swimming. In particular, the Committee seeks to honor those individuals or groups that have achieved at a high level and/or made a significant positive difference in aquatic sports in North Carolina. For more information on the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame visit www.ncswimhalloffame.com.