ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller Diagnosed with Plasma Cell Leukemia; Aggressive Treatment

Brent Rutemiller Welcoming ISHOF Honorees.

Throughout his time in the sport, Brent Rutemiller has worn numerous hats. He has been an athlete, coach, parent, journalist, host, publisher and CEO – to name just some of the roles he has handled. At one point, he coined the phrase: “If you want to win, first help someone else win!” It is a tagline that stresses selflessness and one Rutemiller has frequently used, often at the end of an interview he conducted.

Now, more than ever, the swimming community needs to get behind Rutemiller, and help him win the biggest battle of his life. In a letter sent Thursday night to the ISHOF Board of Directors and staff of Swimming World, Rutemiller, the CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Publisher of Swimming World Magazine, announced that he has been diagnosed with Plasma Cell Leukemia, a rare form of the disease, and will immediately begin aggressive treatment.

With the United States Olympic Trials set to begin on Friday with Wave I competition in Omaha, Rutemiller possessed a determination that was akin to an athlete preparing to compete on the biggest stage.

“This is my Olympics,” he said.

The tight-knit nature of the swimming community is a defining trademark of the sport, and this is a time in which the swimming world can demonstrate its supportive ways by backing Rutemiller in his upcoming fight. A thought. A prayer. A text. An email. All are ways to show we are behind Brent in his battle. But the best way to show support just might be by following the mantra that Rutemiller has made a trademark. Go out and help someone else win. It’s what Brent Rutemiller has long done for the sport of swimming – on many levels.

Rutemiller Letter to Staff and ISHOF Board – June 3rd, 2021

In March, I celebrated my birthday with a 5.94 Kilometer swim (6,500 Yards). Fast forward to this past Memorial Day weekend which I spent in the hospital getting a week-long battery of blood tests culminating in a bone marrow biopsy.  Not all flip turns are in water.

The blood results indicate that I have Plasma Cell Leukemia and will require very aggressive treatment. I feel well overall but have frequent bouts of fatigue which I have been fighting for the last few months.


We have no idea on the length of my treatment.  It will hopefully not interrupt my work as CEO of ISHOF and Publisher of Swimming World Magazine.  I plan to be on stage come October 9th to welcome our 2021 ISHOF Inductees into our sacred Hall.

I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and supportive family and honored to be working with an incredible board, dedicated and loyal staff, trusted city mayor, passionate commissioners and a visionary city manager.

Please excuse this informal notification, but I feel it is necessary that everyone know today’s challenge and our path forward.  Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.  I truly feel that this will just be a footnote to all of our success on the horizon.


Brent T. Rutemiller


  1. avatar
    Dana Abbott

    Prayers and loving, supportive thoughts to Brent and his family. A true gentleman and strong fighter who always works to better our sport with resolute devotion to it.

    • avatar
      Andy Hils

      I grew up watching Brent. I lived in the same area.
      Whenever we saw Brent on the pool deck, us football players were amazed at his physique. He was/is a beast. My son swims now and knowing first hand how hard this sport is, I know Brent will out touch anything that comes at him.

      Us Northern Kentuckians are praying for you, Brent.

      Andy Hils

      • avatar
        Margaret Leonhard

        My feelings also, Andy. Prayers for you and your family, Brent.
        Margaret Leonhard

  2. Laura Voet

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you Brent. ? You are absolutely right – we truly do win, by first helping someone else win! ??

  3. avatar
    Cal Jungquist

    Pay It Forward and Never Ever Give Up!!

    • avatar

      Praying ongoing♥️

  4. avatar
    Jim Starrett

    My prayers & positive ju-ju are coming your way daily to fight your diagnosed leukemia. I plan to carry on your mantra & thank you for all that you’ve done, do, & will continue on with our great sports of aquatics. God speed in your recovery. SWIMcerely… Jim Starrett/ NISCA Zone 2 Director

  5. avatar
    Peter Hugo

    Our thoughts and prayers are also with you and your family. My bet is that you will be there on October 9th!

  6. avatar
    Sandra Landtroop

    Oh, dear Brent! Lanny and I are so very sorry to hear this news. We wish you all the best with your treatment and know your wonderful spirit and fine character will serve you well in the days to come. We send you and your sweet family our most hopeful and affectionate thoughts.

  7. avatar
    Steve barber

    Prayers from our family

    • avatar
      Mike Cheek

      Sorry to hear this Brent. Our thoughts are with you and our prayers for healing and strength also.

  8. avatar
    Mary Jo Moser Fishwick

    May sound cliche’, Brent, but know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Hugs from your Ky swimming family. Fondly, Mary Jo and all of the Mosers.

  9. avatar
    Eileen Feagan Kees

    Praying for your complete healing and restoration. Many blessings to you and your precious family.

  10. avatar
    Eileen Feagan Kees

    So sorry to hear this…. I will be praying for your healing and restoration. Blessings to you and your precious family.

  11. avatar
    Barbara Reynales

    All good wishes to you, Brent, from Tad’s mom–and his dad, too, who also is in the hospital following a stroke.


  12. avatar
    Julie Haverkos Strasemeier

    Lots of prayers coming your way Brent! You got this. I’ll say a prayer for each lap we had to do in high school swim practice! Haha….that’s a lot!

  13. avatar

    Sending you more positive prayers and encouragement. I know your family support is very strong and you’re in great hands.

  14. avatar

    Hey Rudy, please consider us all in the room with you arms locked, shoulder to shoulder fighting this fight with you as brothers. I will go out today, help someone win and dedicate victory to you.

    Love You Brother.

  15. avatar

    We love you uncle Brent!
    – Laura, Mark, and Josie

  16. avatar
    Pete Stark


    My prayers are with you my friend and high swim team member.

    You will win this race,


  17. avatar
    Marilyn Marcotte

    To Brent and family, was saddened to hear of Brent’s illness. Will certainly keep him in our prayers and well wishes. I know the Marcotte family up here in Canada ( Judy Rutemiller’s family ) will all be praying for him.
    May God shine his light on you Brent……
    Sincerely Marilyn Marcotte
    London Ontario Canada

  18. avatar
    Dana Lawrence Lohn

    Warmest thoughts & prayers for Brent and the Rutemiller family.

    • avatar
      Marie Tobler

      Ran into a childhood Triple E swimmer and heard your challenging news. So glad I’m able to let you know this Sailfish is praying for you. You got this;
      God bless you.

      Marie Koop Tobler

  19. avatar
    Jack Mueller

    Hi Brent:

    So sorry to hear this news. I wish you all the best and Suzette and I are praying for you. I remember many good days in the pool together. God speed my friend!

    Jack Mueller

  20. avatar
    Jorge Emilio Aguado

    Brent. You will win this battle. I´m totally sure. Blessings to you and your family.
    Jorge Aguado

  21. avatar

    Brent, sorry to hear the news. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Stew and Linda Hall

  22. avatar
    Lezlie Reynales

    Brother Brent,
    In your younger years growing up you were such a good swimmer. Later you chose a career as a swim coach. So the one message I have for you “do not stop in the middle of the pool of life, get to the wall and flip turn and keep going”!
    Love you Big sis Lezlie

  23. avatar
    Vince & Susie Aspromonte

    We’re sorry to hear about this latest challenge.
    You are blessed with a very special loving family and many dear friends. We’re join them in caring, praying and cheering you on as you take on this new battle.
    God Be With You,
    Susie & Vinny

  24. avatar
    Barbara L Voet

    Brent, Doug and I are praying for you. I have faith that you will succeed . Stay positive and know that many prayers are coming your way.

    Barbara Loschiavo Voet

  25. avatar
    Simon Graydon Foy

    So sorry to hear the medical news. From what Lezlie has told me about you and your family , you will beat this. There are thousands of people you have inspired.. you are undoubtably a winner!

    Best wishes from England

    Simon and Jojo


  26. avatar
    Warren Whalen

    Brent, you were always so motivating and inspiring through some of those long workouts at Brookwood an later at St. X . I am sure your great work ethic and just do it attitude will guide you through these rough waters. Just know that my family will be praying and pulling for you. Stay strong my friend

  27. avatar
    Carol Middelburg

    You don’t know me, but I have heard about you ver since living in Port Townsend and being friends of your in-laws. My husband and I hope this is a battle you will win, and wish you strength and resolve as you go forward. Wishing for the very best outcome!