International Swimming Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2024

Dana Vollmer; Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is proud to announce its prestigious Class of 2024. This year, ISHOF will induct 12 honorees from seven countries: three individual swimmers and one relay team, one coach, two divers, two water polo players, one synchronized swimmer, one contributor and one Paralympic swimmer, its second ever. The induction event will be held Saturday, October 5, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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

HONOR SWIMMERS: Lars Frölander (SWE), Daniel Gyurta (HUN), Dana Vollmer (USA) and the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal winning Women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team (USA) consisting of Shirley Babashoff, Wendy Boglioli, Kim Peyton* and Jill Sterkel; HONOR DIVERS: Alexander Despatie (CAN), Yuliya Pakhalima (RUS); HONOR SYNCHRONIZED (ARTISTIC) SWIMMER: Virginie Dedieu (FRA); HONOR WATER POLO: Carmela “Lilli” Allucci (ITA), Vladimir Akimov* (USSR); HONOR COACH: Dennis Pursley (USA);  HONOR CONTRIBUTOR: Dale Neuburger (USA) and PARALYMPIAN: to be named soon in a separate release. *deceased

ISHOF Honor Swimmers:


Swedish Swimmer, Lars Frölander is a six-time Olympian, competing in six consecutive Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012).  In the 1992 Olympic Games, he competed in the 4 × 200-meter freestyle relay finishing second behind the Unified Team.  In the 1996 Games, Frölander and his team again finished second in the same event. The pinnacle of Frölander’s career had to be when he captured gold in the 100m butterfly at the Olympic Games in September 2000, in Sydney. A couple of months prior he had broken the world record in the men’s 100m butterfly twice (short course).

He is a nine-time World Champion and 12-time European Champion in the freestyle and butterfly events.  Lars first competed in World Championship competition in 1993 (Palma-SC) and 1993 (Sheffield-LC), and in both championships, he was part of the gold medal winning 4 x 200m freestyle relay,  He also took the silver in Sheffield in the long course event in the 100-meter butterfly. Frölander went on to win a total of 21 World Championship medals in his career: nine of them gold, seven silver, and four bronze.

He was one of the greatest swimmers in SMU history, dominating the pool during his career as a Mustang, swimming for the late great Coach Eddie Sinnott. Frölander was the 1998 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, winning the NCAA Championship in two events – the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly. He won the same pair of championships in 1997 and the 100 butterfly as a freshman in 1995.


Daniel Gyurta, of Hungary, was a breaststroke specialist, specializing in the 200-meter.  He is a four-time Olympian, with a gold and a silver and a three-time world record holder.  He is a five-time World Champion, all in the 200-meter breaststroke, and an eight-time European Champion, seven in the 200 and one title in the 100-meter breast, both long and short course.  Gyurta has over 30 National Championships, with too many national records to count.

He was awarded the Order of Merit by the Republic of Hungary in 2004 (Knight’s Cross), in 2010 (Officer’s Cross), and in 2012, ( Commander’s Cross); Voted Hungarian Swimmer of the Year five times (2004, 2009, 2011, 2012,  2013), and was the Hungarian Sportsman of the Year, three times, as voted by journalists (2009, 2012, 2013). He was voted Best Youth Hungarian Athlete of the Year by the National Hungarian Sports Association (2011);  He was Swimming World Magazine’s European Swimmer of the Year in 2013; Daniel was given the UNESCO Fair Play Award in 2014. In 2015, he was chosen Hungarian University Athlete of the Year and a year later, in 2016, he was elected to the International Olympic Committee by his fellow athletes.


American Dana Vollmer is a three-time Olympian, competing in 2004, 2012, and 2016, who specialized in the freestyle and the butterfly events.  She is a five-time Olympic gold medalist and broke six world records.

At the age of 12, Vollmer was the youngest swimmer to compete at the 2000 Olympic Trials,  however, she did not make the team. Four years later, Vollmer did make the 2004 Centennial Olympic Games in Athens, where she won her first Olympic gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the 800m freestyle relay, setting a new world record, breaking one which had stood for the previous 17 years. She just missed making the 2008 Olympic team, but that did not discourage her.  At the London Games in 2012, Vollmer had qualified for the 100-meter butterfly, and she walked away with her first individual Olympic gold medal of the Olympics, while also setting a new world record.  In addition, she swam as a member of the 800m freestyle relay, where she and her teammates won gold, and then again in the 4 x 100 medley relay, where the USA women’s team again won the gold, breaking the world record, previously set by China in 2009.

Seventeen months after giving birth to her first son, in March 2015, Vollmer was in top shape again and ready for the Rio Olympic Games.  She  walked away from her third Games not only with a medal of each color: a gold in the 400m medley relay, a silver in the 400m freestyle relay and a bronze in the 100m butterfly, but as the only mother in the sport of swimming to win a gold medal.

Vollmer won a total of 32 medals in major international competitions, including 19 gold, eight silver and five bronze medals.  The events included the Olympic Games, the FINA World Championships, the Pan American Games, the Pan-Pac Championships, and the Goodwill Games, making her one of the most decorated Olympic female swimmers.

The 1976 USA Women’s Gold Medal 400 Freestyle Relay Team (USA)

The 1976 Olympic Games for women’s swimming will always be tainted by the East German doping scandal.  Everyone suspected it at the time, but it was not confirmed until decades later.

The East German women were systematically doped by their country and coaches and thus won every event. Except one. The last one. The 4 x 100 freestyle relay, where the world witnessed Americans, Shirley Babashoff, Wendy Boglioli, Jill Sterkel and Kim Peyton*, swim out of their minds beating the East Germans out of sheer determination and frustration, in a world record time of 3:44.82. The win was one of the most shocking and exciting finishes of the Games because the East German women had won every event in the swimming program.

The 4 x 100m free relay was the last event of the Games.  Everyone could see the German girls were on steroids due to their low voices, excessive body hair and manly shapes. The American girls had even said when they first heard the East German girls talking and even saw a couple of them, they thought they had entered the men’s locker room by mistake.  All through the 1976 Games, it was sad and frustrating for the other girls, particularly the Americans, as they could not capture gold, yet many went into the Games  as the favorites.

However, in the last event, things finally turned around.  Kim Peyton went first and started the girls off.  On the second leg of the relay, Wendy Boglioli produced the fastest split of her career by two seconds, swimming 55.81.  Jill Sterkel then split 55.78, the fastest of any woman in the field, on the third leg giving U.S. anchor, Shirley Babashoff the lead.  Shirley held on as the U.S. pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of swimming and set a world record in the process by four seconds.  Whether it was out of sheer willpower, determination or karma, the East German women were beaten.  The performance sparked the inspiration for the 2016  film, The Last Gold.

ISHOF Honor Divers:

Alexander DESPATIE (CAN)

Canadian Diver, Alexander Despatie, is the only diver to have won a World Championship in all three individual events, the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard and the 10-meter platform.  He was also World Champion on the 1 and 3-meter springboards from 2005-2007.  He is a 37-time Canadian senior diving champion and nine-time junior champion, as well as the most decorated male diver in Canadian history, winning two silver medals in Olympic competition and being crowned world champion three times, while reaching the medal stand a total of eight times.

He has also had a successful synchronized diving career with partner, Arturo Miranda, winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 in the 1- and 3-meter springboards, following it up with silver in the 3-meter synchro event at the World Championships in 2007, and in 2008, he and Miranda finished a respectable 5th in the 3-meter synchro event at the Olympic Games.

He is a three-time Olympian, winning a total of sixty medals in international competition, 19 gold, 23 silver and 18 bronze.  In 2018, Despatie was inducted into Canada’s Sport’s Hall of Fame.


Like 1990 ISHOF Honor Diver, Irina Kalinina, one of this year’s Honor Diver’s, Yuliya Pakhalima, was also born in Penza, a city in western Russia, just a little less than 400 miles west of Moscow.  Yuliya is a three-time Olympian, specializing in the 3-meter springboard, winning one gold, three silver and one bronze medal in Olympic competition.

In her first Olympic Games, Pakhalima competed in the 3-meter synchro competition in Sydney 2000, with partner, Vera Ilyina. They won the gold medal in the inaugural event.   Pakhalina and partner Ilyina won silver at the next Games in Athens in 2004, with Yuliya also capturing bronze in the individual 3-meter event.  Everything would be different at the 2008 Games in Beijing though, at her third and final Olympiad. Yuliya had a new partner in Anastasia Pozdnyakova. Yet, somehow,  she and Anastasia were able to come away with the silver medal in the synchronized 3-meter event, the same medal, she and Vera had won four years earlier.  In addition, Yuliya was able to improve her medal from 2004, and she captured her second silver of the games in the individual 3-meter, bringing her Olympic medal total to five.

In between the Olympic Games, Yuliya was a three-time World Champion on the 1- and 3-meter springboard,  reaching the podium a total of eight times as well as being an eight-time European Champion between 1995 and 2008.

Yuliya moved to the United States to attend college at the University of Houston, diving under Jane Figueiredo, where she became a three-time All-American, wining five NCAA Championships and five conference titles.  She was also a two-time NCAA and Conference USA Diver of the Year.  Pakhalina won 64 of the 66 collegiate diving events she entered while at UH, with her only losses coming during the finals of the NCAA Championships.

Today, Yuliya is married and has made Houston her home, with her husband and two children.

ISHOF Honor Water Polo Players:

Vladimir AKIMOV* (USSR)

Vladimir Akimov played for the team of Moscow Navy CSK, winning multiple USSR National Championships.  He was USSR Champion in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983 and USSR Cup winner in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981 & 1982. He won the European Cup in 1976, the Super Cup in 1976, 1980 & 1982 and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980 & 1982.

Vladimir was a member of the USSR National team winning the gold medal in the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games. With his team, he also won the 1982 World Championships in Guayaquil (Ecuador) and the silver medal in the 1981 European Championships in Split, Croatia. Akimov is considered one of the best defenders in the world from the mid 1970’s to the early 1980’s.  He tragically passed away at age 34 on October 5, 1987.

Carmela “Lilli” ALLUCCI (ITA)  

Carmela “Lilli” Allucci was an Italian female water polo player.  She competed at the 2004 Olympic Games as the captain of the Italian team that won the gold medal, at only the second Olympic Games where women competed.  As a member of the Italian team,  Alluci has two World Championship titles and one silver medal.  She has four European Championship titles, along with two silver medals and a bronze.  She is the second most titled player at the European Championships, only behind Netherlands player, Hedda Verndon.  In FINA World Cup competition, Carmela and team took silver in 1993, and bronze in 1999 and in FINA World League competition, she won silver in 2006 and bronze in 2004. She has won seven consecutive titles with Team “Volturno” (1985-1991).

She was given the honor of carrying the Italian flag at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games.

Allucci was awarded the Knights of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2003, at the initiative of the President of the Republic; Commander of the Order of the Merit of the Italian Republic, again at the initiative of the President. Carmela was also presented with the Gold Collar with Sporting Merit in 1998.

ISHOF Honor Synchronized Swimmer (Artistic Swimming):

Virginie DEDIEU (FRA)

Virginie Dedieu is the most successful artistic swimmer from the country of France and one of the most impressive to ever come from the continent of Europe. Her combination of stunning artistry and technical excellence earned her three consecutive FINA World Championship solo titles (2003, 2005 and 2007).  In 2005, while watching her free solo performance, the television commentator called Virginie the “perfect swimmer.”

She is a three-time Olympian, winning a bronze medal in 2000 in the duet competition. In the solo event, she is a five-time medalist, three-time World Champion with two silvers and a bronze in the duet;  Virginie is also a two-time European Champion, in the solo event, with three silvers to go along with her golds; In the duet competition at the European Championships, she has three silvers and two bronze.

Up until today, Virginie is the only solo synchro champion not to come from one of the powerhouse countries in artistic swimming. Until Virginie, all of the other solo champions have had teams behind them that have scored medals in other events at the same World Championships. Virginie is unique because of her solo talent, and even more so, because of her influence as a choreographer.

ISHOF Honor Coach:

Dennis “Denny” PURSLEY

Dennis “Denny” Pursley is a five-time Olympic Coach, from the USA, but his coaching career and coaching success spans the globe.

He was first selected as a 1980 Olympic Assistant Coach under George Haines, as he produced six Olympians from his successful program, the Cincinnati Pepsi Marlins; Mary T. Meagher, Glenn Mills, Stephanie Elkins, Kim Carlisle, Bill Barrett, and Lisa Buese.

Pursley was named the first Head Coach of the Australian Institute of Sport in 1981, and he led a resurgence in Australia swimming with a second-place finish in the 1984 Olympic medal count to the USA.

In 1984 USA Swimming created a new paid staff position called National Team Director.  Dennis Pursley was the first person hired by USA Swimming to fill this position. The USA Team finished first in the medal count in both the men’s and women’s competitions in all three Olympiads (1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney), culminating with 33 medals (14 golds) in the 2000 Olympics, which was described by Sports Illustrated magazine as the greatest team performance of all time.  Per Mike Unger, of FINA, “Denny set the National team up for success, from start to finish for 14 key years”.

In 2008, Pursley was hired by Great Britain to be the Head Coach of British Swimming.   In the Fall of 2012, he headed back to the states and became the Head Coach of the University of Alabama, his alma mater. During Pursley’s years at Alabama, the men placed in the top-10 at the NCAA’s four times, finishing seventh in the last year of Denny’s tenure, while the women placed at the last six-straight national championships of his career.

To name just a few of his many awards and accolades, he was inducted into the ASCA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006, voted one of the most influential people in the history of USA Swimming (2013), given the US Olympic Committee Chairman’s Coaching Award (2000), and was named ASCA Coach of the Year in 1980.

Dennis Pursley retired from coaching in 2019.

ISHOF Honor Contributor:


Dale Neuburger has spent a lifetime in service to aquatic sports and Olympic ideals. He was elected as Vice President of FINA on five occasions (2000, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017) representing the 45 National Federations of the Americas. In 2021, he was elected as FINA Treasurer, and, in 2023, he was elected as World Aquatics Treasurer for a term ending in 2027.

Since 2005, he has served as the Bureau Liaison to the FINA/World Aquatics Technical Swimming Committee and Chairman of the FINA Technical Swimming Commission, overseeing all FINA/World Aquatics swimming competitions.

Mr. Neuburger has been appointed by FINA/World Aquatics and the International Olympic Committee to be the Technical Delegate for the swimming competition for five Olympic Games: 2008 Beijing, through 2024 Paris. The technical delegate roles encompass competition director duties, as well as general oversight of all venue-related issues.

Since its creation in 2009, Mr. Neuburger has been the Chairman of the FINA Development Commission, appointed by FINA President Julio C. Maglione. In this role, he has helped to create its extensive Athlete Scholarship Program, implement the Swim for All/Swim for Life Program and Pools for All Program, and created five global training centers for athletes from developing countries.

In 2015, Mr. Neuburger was elected as President of UANA (now known as Pan Am Aquatics), the Continental Association for aquatics serving the 45 National Federations of the Americas.  Simultaneously, he was elected as a member of the Executive Committee of ACODEPA, the council of continental sport organizations that oversees sport competition in the Pan American Games. In 2019, he was elected First Vice President of ACODEPA, and he retained a position on its Executive Committee in the run-up to the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago (CHL) and served as Technical Delegate for Swimming at the Games.

Mr. Neuburger was a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee for eight years, from 1994 to 2002, and a member of its Executive Committee from 1996 to 2000.  In recognition of his prominence within the USOC structure, Mr. Neuburger was designated to serve as Deputy Chef de Mission of the 531-member United States delegation for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games that won 101 medals, topping the medals standings.


Honor Paralympian: TBA

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2 months ago

This is not to diminish the accomplishment of the USA 4 x 100 freestyle relay at the ’76 Olympics, but actually, the East German women won every individual event except for the 200 breaststroke where 16 year old Marina Koshevaya won the gold medal. 

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