Olympian Whitney Hedgepeth Tops List of Coaches and Volunteers Honored by US Masters Swimming

SARASOTA, Florida, September 16. THE U.S. Masters Swimming community is returning to business as usual after the United States Aquatic Sports convention in Anaheim, Calif., where two-time Olympian Whitney Hedgepeth was named the Speedo/USMS Masters Coach of the Year for her work with Longhorn Aquatics.

Hedgepeth is no stranger to the swimming community. She was a 1988 Olympian for the United States, placing eighth in the 200 individual medley. After that, she started her collegiate career at the University of Florida before transferring to the University of Texas. At both schools she won individual NCAA titles, as well as numerous NCAA accolades.

Following the end of her swimming career in 1994, Hedgepeth retired from swimming. The pool called her back shortly thereafter, and she made the 1996 Olympic team in both backstroke events. She won silver medals in the 100 and 200 backstrokes in Atlanta, as well as gold in the medley relay.

She has been a part of Longhorn Aquatics since 1996, starting as age group coach before segueing into Masters coaching. Her swimmers have routinely set national and world Masters records in relay and individual events, and membership in the Longhorn Aquatics Masters team continues to grow under her leadership.

With U.S. Masters Swimming’s operations largely run by volunteers, the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award is often considered the highest honor in the organization. According to USMS, it is given to “to the volunteer who epitomizes the spirit of the founding father of U.S. Masters Swimming.” This year, Patty Miller from Virginia was the volunteer who most reflected the heart of USMS.

Fourteen members of USMS were named as recipients of the Dorothy Donnelly Service Award, named after a woman USMS calls “the first super-volunteer.” Below is the list of this year’s honorees:

Bill Bearden (New Mexico), Stephen Darnell (Oregon), Wes Edwards (Oregon), Kildine Harms (Pacific), Thomas Moore, Jr. (Minnesota), John Morales (Pacific), Jennifer Parks (Michigan), Dick Pitman (Wisconsin), Phyllis Quinn (Pacific), Garrick Snider (New Mexico), Anthony Thompson (Missouri Valley), Stephanie Walsh Beilman (Delaware Valley), Tim Waud (Oregon), and Dan Wegner (Southern Pacific).

In the coaching ranks, the Kerry O’Brien Coaches Award ranks even with the Speedo/USMS Award, in that it honors the hard work coaches do on a daily basis on deck. This year, 11 coaches were named: Marcia Benjamin (Pacific), Marcia’s Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland; Sue Berger-Mann (Michigan), Stray Cats of the Southeast YMCA; Mary Gibson (Maryland), Talbot Manta Rays; Doug Green (Southern Pacific), South Coast Masters; Donald Jackson (Wisconsin), Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center; Mike Kazek (Pacific), Cal Maritime Academy Masters; Greg Orphanides (Gulf), Houston Cougar Masters; Jay Peluso (Virginia), Peluso Open Water Masters; Tom Reudy (Pacific) San Mateo Marlins; Don Swalwell (Michigan), Ann Arbor Masters; and Kendra Wheeler (Oregon), KROC Masters.

Each year, the winner of the Club of the Year award gets to hang a banner on their deck to proudly proclaim the prestigious honor. This year, Blue Wave Aquatics in the Seattle area will get that distinction.

Other awards given out at the convention this past weekend include:

June Krauser Communications Award: Sally Guthrie, Michigan

Nationals Championship Meets Award: Ed Saltzman, Georgia

Open Water Service Award: Bob Bruce, Oregon

Ted Haartz U.S. Masters Swimming Staff Appreciation Award: Jeffrey Roddin, Potomac Valley

In other news, Nadine Day was elected to serve another two-year term as USMS President, while Chris Stevenson will serve as vice president of local operations. Ed Tsuzuki will be vice president of administration, Chris McGiffin will be vice president of programs and Jody Smith will be vice president of community service. Chris Colburn will serve as USMS secretary, while Phil Dodson will be treasurer.