ISHOF Class of 2014: Honor Contributors

ISHOF-Postponement

Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the postponement of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2020, ISHOF will be reliving some of their previous induction classes.  Today we revisit our Honor Contributors from the ISHOF Class of 2014.  That year a total of twenty honorees were inducted; seven of which were open water swimmers.  In addition to the seven open water swimmers, there were three pool swimmers, Grant Hackett (AUS), Agnes Kovacs (HUN), Tom Malchow (USA), one diver, Peng Bo (CHN), two synchronized swimmers, Penny and Vicky Vilagos, (CAN), two water polo players, one male and one female, Carlo Silipo (ITA), and Karen Kuipers (NED), two coaches, one male and one female, Joseph Nagy (HUN, USA, CAN, ESP)(Swimming) and Charlotte Davis (USA) (Synchronized Swimming), and two Honor Contributors, Dale Petranech (USA) and Norman Sarsfield (GBR)


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2014 Honor Contributors:

Petranech, Dale

Photo Courtesy: ISHOF

Dale Petranech (USA) Open Water 

FOR THE RECORD: 35 YEARS ADMINISTRATOR FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING: 1977 to Present; CHAIRMAN AAU NATIONAL LONG DISTANCE COMMITTEE: 1977-1979; CHAIRMAN UNITED STATE SWIMMING LONG DISTANCE COMMITTEE (1979-1991); CHAIRMAN OF FIRST FINA COMMISSION TO STUDY ADDING OPEN WATER SWIMMING TO OLYMPIC AND FINA PROGRAM: 1984-1992; APPOINTED TO FINA’S FIRST TECHNICAL OPEN WATER SWIMMING COMMITTEE: Honorary Secretary (1992-1996); GUIDED FORMATION OF WRITING RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL OPEN WATER SWIMMING; SERVED OVER 30 YEARS AS OPEN WATER EVENT OFFICIAL AND OFFICIAL FINA OBSERVER; CHAIRMAN NATIONAL AQUATIC COALITION: 1996-1998; HONORARY SECRETARY INTERNATIONAL MARATHON SWIMMING HALL OF FAME: 1998 to Present;

Dale Petranech has been a leading figure, promoter, historian and organizer of Open Water Swimming competitions in the United States and around the world for the past 35 years. He has accepted every challenge head on and is well respected internationally for his work.

He began his administrative career in 1977, when he was selected to be chairman of the first USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee and developed successful domestic and international programs. After organizing an “unofficial” marathon exhibition during the Los Angeles Olympic Games, in 1984, Dale urged FINA President Bob Helmick to establish a FINA Open Water Swimming Commission, to study adding Open Water Swimming to the FINA and Olympic programs. Under Dale’s leadership as chairman, the commission developed FINA’s first set of rules and procedures, which led to the formation of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. As that committee’s Honorary Secretary, Dale helped set the agenda, which included adding the 25K marathon swim to the program of the 1991 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Perth, Australia. He helped to write the accepted and standard international rules and served in many capacities internationally as an event official, from clerk of course to assistant referee, to FINA special observer. He also presided over many FINA Open Water Clinics, served on the organizing committees for the FINA Manhattan Island and Absecon Island Swims and mentored younger members of the committee to attain future leadership roles.

After the death of Commander Gerry Forsberg in 1998, Dale assumed the role and duties of Secretary General for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and since then has been responsible for formulating the nomination ballots and for organizing the annual MISHOF induction.

An accomplished open water swimmer in his own right, Dale became the oldest person to swim the 21 mile Catalina Channel, at the age of 50, in 1985. In order to preserve Marathon Swimming history,

 

 

Sarsfield, Norman

Photo Courtesy: ISHOF

Norman Sarsfield (GBR)

FOR THE RECORD: FINA TECHNICAL SWIMMING COMMITTEE: CHAIRMAN (1968-1972); LEN: BUREAU MEMBER, HONORARY SECRETARY, HONORARY LIFE PRESIDENT; FIRST PROFESSIONAL SECRETARY OF THE ASA (1970-1980); COMMONWEALTH GAMES: COUNCIL CHAIRMAN AND HONORARY TREASURER; 1959 EUROPEAN SWIMMING COACH OF THE YEAR; BRITISH TEAM MEMBER AND COACH OF SWIMMING AND DIVING NATIONAL TEAMS (1955 – 1969); AUTHOR OF FOUR BOOKS.

When he wanted to join the local Rowing Club in Durham City as a ten-year old, his mother insisted he should swim first. He liked it so much he took up swimming rather than rowing. Six years later Norman Woods Sarsfield was the city champion.

He was qualified as a teacher before enlisting in the British Army in 1940 and achieved the rank of Captain, serving in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Austria. In 1943, he was awarded the Military Cross for “gallantry under fire.” At the war’s end, he won gold medals at the Army Swimming championships before returning to Dunham where he reclaimed his championship titles and played on the water polo team until 1956.

This is the brief background for a man who would give a lifetime of service to promote swimming on local, national and international levels and whose induction into the Hall of Fame is long overdue.

From 1947 through 1970, Sarsfield was a school swimming teacher. That was his day job. In his “off time” he was a tireless volunteer with the local and regional chapters of the Amateur Swimming Association. He officiated at the 1948 Olympic Games, wrote instructional books and made training films for divers. He also coached both swimmers and divers and moved rapidly up the ranks of the ASA. In 1955, he started traveling as manager or coach of various England and British Swimming and Diving Teams and in 1958 was awarded the “European Swimming Coach of the Year” at the European Championships in Budapest.

In 1961, he developed the Personal Survival Awards. The awards were designed to promote confidence, learn to swim, fun, personal achievement and survival. He gave the commercial rights to the ASA and provided it, as a result, with much needed funding. He also devised the flipper-float method of teaching swimming for anyone to learn how to swim in ten minutes.

In 1966, he was elected President of the ASA, the youngest person to hold the office in the 20th century and in 1970 retired from teaching to become the first full-time, professional secretary general of the ASA. That same year he was appointed Chairman of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee and became a member of LEN’s Executive Committee and would serve as LEN’s Honorary Secretary for almost twenty years. He served as a member of the sports councils of the Central UK, Europe and the Commonwealth Games and was an outspoken proponent for the inclusion of synchronized swimming in the 1973 FINA World Championships and later for developing Masters Swimming and teaching the disabled to swim.

Sarsfield was a renowned orator and formidable debater who was also active in politics, first elected to the Durham Council in 1955 and then Mayor in 1964. During the time of the 1980 Moscow Olympic boycott, he was an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Thatcher’s desire to stop the British team from competing at the Games, saying that sport was non-political. He refused to accept the Prime Minister’s view, personally giving her his opinion, which won the day leading to the team’s successful competition at the Games.

He is author of four instructional books with a combined 11 editions titled: “Swimming for Everyone”, “Better Swimming”, “Competitive Swimming” and “Diving Instruction”.

In 1981 he was awarded the O.B.E., The Order of the British Empire, by Queen Elizabeth. He received the FINA Silver Pin in 1990 and was presented with the FINA Trophy by President Mustapha Larfaoui, for all his services to swimming. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 93.

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