International Swimming Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Specialty Awards

2019 ISHOF Specialty Awards

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 May 17, 2019 in conjunction with the Paragon Awards, and the 55th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend, May 17–19 at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.  Get ticket information now or call 954-462-6536.

This year’s ISHOF Specialty Award Recipients:

  • Carolyn Wood—Buck Dawson Author Award: “Tough Girl”
  • Dale Petranech—ISHOF Service Award
  • David Duda—Judge G. Harold Martin Award
  • Robert Strauss—Virginia Hunt Newman Award Sponsored by Kiefer
  • Ruth Meyer—John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award
  • Peter Bick—Al Schoenfield Media Award
  • Jim Wood —Lifetime Achievement Award

Carolyn Wood Specialty Award recipient

Carolyn Wood — 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 2019 Buck Dawson Author’s Award will be Carolyn Wood for Tough Girl.  This award is presented by ISHOF in the name of William “Buck” Dawson, ISHOF’s founding Executive Director, to an author of work that positively promotes and educates people about swimming.

Carolyn Wood swam in her first Olympic games at the tender age of 14.  She traveled to Rome in 1960 as a very young teenager and placed 4th in the world in the 100-meter freestyle, failed to finish in the 100-meter butterfly final, because she swallowed water, but took home gold with her USA teammates on the world and Olympic record setting 400-meter freestyle relay.

Wood set another world record in 100-meter butterfly, the next year, in Blackpool, England.  She was a four-time High School All-American (1959-1962), and seven-time individual state champion.  In 1992, she was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.  Wood received her Bachelor of Arts, in English, from the University of Oregon, Phi Beta Kappa in 1976, Master of Social Work, Portland State University, 1978, Master of Education, Portland State University, 1979.

Now a retired English teacher, Wood spent more than thirty-five years encouraging students to write and recently took her own advice, although often she’d rather be practicing yoga, outdoors tending her bees and garden, or hiking backroads and mountain trails. Ms. Wood’s work has appeared in Teachers as Writers and Elohi Gadugi Journal. In 2016, Carolyn Wood wrote her first book, Tough Girl: An Olympian’s Journey. Tough Girl, a coming-of-age memoir of a young swimmer’s triumphs and heartbreaks on the path to winning Olympic gold at age 14. Some 50 years later, author she embarked on a solo pilgrimage to walk the 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in an attempt to reclaim her “inner tough girl” as she reflected on coming out as gay in the 1970s after a brief marriage and motherhood, and the disillusionment and loss she experiences when her 30-year relationship suddenly ends.

Tough Girl artfully weaves Wood’s life story around the tale of her long walk on the Camino de Santiago, an effort to tap into her tough girl resilience so she can begin to accept the end of her long marriage. The ups and downs of Carolyn’s childhood road to the Olympics as well as her journey on the Camino, will thrill and inspire readers.

In 2018, Wood re-released the book as Tough Girl: Lessons in Courage and Heart from Olympic Gold to the Camino de Santiago.

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 around 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.

Dale Petranech Specialty Award recipient

DALE PETRANECH — 2019 International Swimming Hall of Fame Service Award

The CEO and staff of the International Swimming Hall of Fame are pleased to announce that Dale Petranech will receive the 2019 ISHOF Service Award.  The ISHOF Service Award is given periodically 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.

Dale Petranech has been a fixture at the Hall of Fame for as far back as anyone can remember.  Whatever needed to be done, Dale was always there to pitch in and lend a helping hand.  Whether it was getting up at 4:00 am to help ISHOF’s own, Bob Duenkel set up for the Ocean Mile Swim or make a last-minute run to the Miami International Airport to pick someone up, Dale always did it with a smile on his face. And he never said no.

Dale became involved in swimming on an administrative level in 1977, when he was selected to be the chairman of the first USA Swimming Open Water Committee and developed successful domestic and international programs.  In 1984, Petranech was instrumental in getting FINA President Bob Helmick to establish a commission to study adding open water swimming to the FINA and Olympic programs.  Under Petranech’s leadership as chairman, in 1991, the first FINA 25K was swum in Perth, Australia at the 1991 FINA World Aquatic Championships.

In 1998, Dale became the Secretary General for the Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and has since been responsible for formulating the nomination ballots and organizing the annual IMSHOF inductions.

He is an accomplished open water swimmer is his own right.  In 1985, he became the oldest person to swim the 21-mile Catalina Channel at the age of 50.

All these accomplishments are just another part of Dale’s history and background, but to us, Dale is just another member of the family.  Another person we can turn to when we need someone to set up tables, get the flags ready for the Honoree parade, help run an important errand, or just count on when you really need someone.  There are not many people like that anymore these days.  That’s why Dale Petranech is so special to the staff at ISHOF.  Thanks Dale for all your many years of support, kindness, hard work and friendship. We could not have done it without you all these years.

David Duda 2019 Specialty Award recipient

DAVID DUDA — 2019 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 2019 Harold Martin Award is David Duda.  The G. Harold Martin Award is presented to someone for long and exceptional leadership, insight, and dedication to the water safety of children and the cause of making Every Child A Swimmer.

David Duda has been an aquatics professional for 60+ years and has been active in Florida aquatics for 31 of those years. He is the founder and CEO of MDM Aquatics/ Safety Training & Consulting working closely with many community clients including five south Florida cities.  Prior to moving to Florida, Dave spent 4 years in Family YMCA’s as an aquatic director.  Dave’s expertise in efficiency in the water also played a large role in his successful coaching of swimming and diving at age group, high school and collegiate levels as well.

In 1987, Dave accepted the aquatics manager position at FIU in North Miami where he partnered with the FIU Early Education Department to initiate a swim / safety program for their pre-school participants. He also collaborated with many aquatics professionals throughout Florida to promote aquatics lessons and develop strong teachers. He hosted three successful ARC National Aquatics Schools with 300+ participants earning various Red Cross certifications. Dave received the Greater Miami ARC Chapter “Volunteer of the Year” Award. In 1992, Dave took an assignment as an Associate in Program Development at the ARC National Headquarters in Washington D.C. working on the WSI program update. Today, he is an active member of the Broward Drowning Prevention Task Force.

His focus continues to help teach aquatic skills to children and mentor instructors in diverse populations in aquatics. He partners with Seminole Tribe of Florida to train and certify aquatics staff as well as promote swim lesson programs in their preschool. He recently consulted with Florida Kiwanis District Chair in Naples and helped develop a brochure for Every Child A Swimmer to distribute at their state convention. The ECAS outreach program partners with communities and families to help reduce child drownings.

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.

Robert Strauss 2019 Specialty Award recipient

ROBERT STRAUSS — 2019 Virginia Hunt Newman International Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Robert Strauss will be the 2019 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.

Professor Robert Strauss, M. Ed. has dedicated his professional career to aquatics. Through aquatic education, Coach Strauss has enriched the lives of babies, toddlers, school-age children, teens, and adult, assisting them to discover how to be safer and stronger swimmers. Strauss is well known for the development of instructional skills based on soft-touch and soft-voice.

Coach Strauss and his life partner, Jennie, founded Swim Gym in 1984. In the fall of 2012, the Swim Gym Swim School opened its doors at the Galbut JCC in Miami Beach, its present home and only location.  The physical plans at the JCC’s improved conditions to teach and coach people of all ages and turned Swim Gym into one of the Top 25 Authorized Providers of the American Red Cross in the S. Florida Chapter. This included certification of water safety instructors and life guards, as well as the learn to swim program that teaches an average 500 children per week during the school year and approximately 1000 children per week during the summer camps. At present, Robert and Jennie spend some of their time travelling together reinventing the science of learning how to swim and sharing their combined 90 years’ experience of teaching and administration.

Ruth Meyer 2019 Specialty Award recipient


RUTH MEYER — 2019 John K. Williams, Jr. Adapted Aquatics Award

The Adapted Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Ruth Meyer will receive the 2019 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.

Ruth Meyer has long been involved in adapted aquatics.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry/Pre-Med at Bucknell University and an MEd, at the University of Toledo in Kinesiotherapy.  She is a Watsu Practitioner, Kinesiotherapist, and Wellness Consultant in Charlottesville, CA since 1998; a Kinesiotherapist-Aquatic Specialist (2016-2018); a Therapeutic Instructor in Charlottesville, VA Parks and Recreation Department (2007-2011); Kinesiotherapist owner/consultant Kinesiotherapy of NH (1986-2000); Adjunct Faculty of Kinesiology at New England College (2000), Aquatic Therapy Coordinator at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, (1998-1999); Aquatic Exercise Coordinator at Havenwood Heritage Retirement Community, Concord, NH (1995-1998).

Meyer is a member of many organizations as well, the American Kinesiotherapy Association (1980 to present); Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (1997 to present); Watsu practitioner (1997-present) and Watsu 1 instructor (2006-present); Medical Fitness Association (2010 to present); International Hypopressive and Physical Therapy Institute,  SL; Low Pressure Fitness Level 1 (April 2018); American Alliance for Health; Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute; and the Arthritis Foundation volunteer, Instructor Trainer for Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program, Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (1992-2016).

She has also been published in her field: “Staff Training in Aquatic therapy” chapter in Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy (Eds Beckerand Cole); “Getting paid for Aquatic Therapy”, Advance for Managers, January 2001; and Watsu, Convergence, Summer 2000, Concord, NH, just to name a few.

Ruth Meyer has been a respected part of the adapted aquatics community  and continues to give back.

Peter Bick 2019 Specialty Award recipeint

PETER BICK — 2019 Al Schoenfield Media Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 Al Schoenfield Media Award will be Peter Bick.  This award is presented by ISHOF in memory of Al Schoenfield for outstanding contributions to the promotion of aquatic sports through journalism.

Since moving to Indianapolis in 1985, Peter Bick has been part of the Indianapolis Sports Initiative, through his involvement with the Indiana Sports Corporation, the RCA Tennis Championships, the Circle City Classic, various amateur governing bodies, Indiana and Purdue Universities and event corporate sponsors.

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).  Al’s life was a commitment to swimming.  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.

Jim Wood 2019 Specialty Award recipient

JIM WOOD — 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

The Awards and Recognition Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award will be Coach Jim Wood.  This award is presented by ISHOF for a lifetime of service and outstanding contributions to the world of swimming.

 Jim Wood founded a successful swim club team in New Jersey while simultaneously influencing the future of swimming on a global scale. His passion for the sport and his desire to see it expand and grow inspired the entire swimming community for decades.  Wood graduated from John Hopkins with an Art and Science degree in 1972 and went on to University of North Carolina grad school.  He became UNC’s men and women’s swimming head coach from 1975-1977.

Wood’s first position on the national level came when he was elected as the Chairman of USA Swimming’s Time Standards Committee.  He served 12 years (1992-2004) as Chairman of the USA Swimming Olympic International Operations Committee and was a member of USA Swimming delegation at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.  He was elected as the first ever swim coach to become President of USA Swimming in 2006 and four years later he was elected to serve as President of United States Aquatic Sports.

In 2011 Wood was inducted to the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Hall of Fame and in 2015 he was voted one of the “30 Most Influential People in Swimming Over the Past 30 Years”.  2017 he was elected as one of the ASCA’s Vice Presidents.

At the time of his passing, Jim was Chairman of the USA Swimming Steering Committee, a member of the USA Swimming Board of Directors and a member of the USA Swimming Foundation. On a local level he had previously served as the General Chairman of New Jersey Swimming.

The Berkeley Aquatic Club (BAC) swim school he founded taught over 8,000 school kids how to swim. In 2012 it was reported that BAC competitive swim team had won 57 out of the last 64 state championships.  At least 30 BAC swimmers have held first place national rankings and have raced 38 times at U.S. Olympic Trials since 1980. BAC athletes have represented the United States and “medaled” in every major international swimming competition including the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.

At the 2001 FINA World Swimming Championships Jim was on the pool deck in Fukuoka, Japan to watch the USA swim to a third-place finish in the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay.  Jim may have been the only one to notice that two men swam in a different order.  While this may have escaped everyone else’s attention, he urged the National Team Director to self-report the violation, resulting in the relay team’s disqualification.  Jim was a man of integrity and this is but one example of his character.

In 2003 the USA Swimming Award, the organization’s highest honor was presented to Jim in recognition of his contributions to the sport of swimming.

Additional Awards During 55th Annual Hall of Fame Honoree Weekend

2019 Paragon Awards

Sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, the Paragon Awards are presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics in six categories.“Pentair is honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and to recognize leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of aquatics,” said Jim Drozdowski, Institutional Aquatics Sales Manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems.

“The annual Paragon Awards bring some of the most interesting and fascinating people each year to the Hall of Fame,” said ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller. “These are the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible, who save lives, who promote water safety and further aquatic education.”

2019 Paragon Award Recipients:

Competitive Swimming:  Greg Eggert

Water Polo:  Don Holbrook

Competitive Diving: Bill Farrar

Synchronized Swimming: Igor Kartashov

Aquatic Safety: Peter Davis

Recreational Swimming:  Carvin DiGiovanni

The Weekend Lineup

Friday, May 17th — Paragon & ISHOF Specialty Awards Night

Saturday, May 18th — Honoree Induction Day Luncheon

12-1:30 PM Luncheon ISHOF Museum

Official 55th Annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

VIP Reception 6:00 PMInduction Ceremony 7:00 –10:00 PM at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa

  • Honor Swimmers

    Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL)
    Jason Lezak (USA)
    Stephanie Rice (AUS)
    Britta Steffen (GER)
  • Honor Water Polo Player

    Alessandro Campagna (ITA)
  • Honor Diver

    Ting Li (CHN)
  • Honor Synchronized Swimmer

    Olga Sedakova (RUS)
  • Honor Open Water Swimmer

    Marcy MacDonald (USA)
  • Honor Coach

    Boris Popov (RUS)
  • Honor Contributor

    Dr. Ferenc Salamon (HUN)
  • Honor Pioneer

    Alfred Nakache* (FRA)
  • Gold Medallion Recipient

    Dr. Joseph MacInnis

Sunday, May 19th — Swim Across America



  • Host Hotel: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

    Four and a half star 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.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach

    • 440 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 524-8733
    • Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $169 per night
    • Please call 954 524-8733 and mention Swimming Hall of Fame Honoree Ceremony for the special Rate of $169.
For more hotel or ticket Information contact Meg Keller-Marvin / 570-594-4367

* Deceased



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