Tom Boak Joins ISHOF’s One in a Thousand Campaign, “The Hall of Fame is Incredibly Valuable to Our Sport”

Tom Boak getting inducted into the Masters Swimming Hall of Fame. Photo Courtesy: ISHOF

Long-time Masters swimming contributor Tom Boak, who has served as Master of Ceremonies at the last 11 Masters Hall of Fame inductions, has recently joined the growing list of members of the “One in a Thousand Campaign,” designed to help the International Swimming Hall of Fame grow and prosper during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It seems to me like the Hall of Fame is incredibly valuable to our sport in that it is the only repository of our history,” Tom Boak said. “Not just masters swimming but all aquatics. It’s the only place that exists and my interest in the Hall and my reason for supporting is because I see this incredible value to aquatics and it obviously needs all the support it can get.”

Boak has been Master of Ceremonies at the MISHOF Induction since 2008, and was also inducted as a Masters Contributor in 2016.

“My initial involvement was as the Master of Ceremonies. It’s really easy to get pumped up about the Hall when you do that. Not only did I induct a number of my friends from swimming but also my wife and then I was inducted as well. Those events were all very meaningful. I got to induct a number of guys I swam against directly.

“That was a great experience and then ultimately I was called by Brent Rutemiller to serve on the Board of Directors and I’ve served on the Board for three years. That’s opened up another experience with the Hall of Fame and of course now one of the things going on is the renovation of the swimming pools and hopefully the renovation of the existing buildings so I’ve been involved in all of that and I’ve been serving as Treasurer so I’ve gotten exposed to the financial side of things with the Hall which has been on rocky ground for quite some time.”

Join the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.


For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at

Tom Boak – 2016 Honor Masters Swimmer

Tom Boak won a conference breaststroke championship for Bucknell University and then stepped away from swimming for almost fifteen years. Living in Texas and struggling to control his weight, Tom Boak jumped back into the pool in 1977 to swim some laps at the Woodlands Athletic Center. At the Woodlands, his friend Dick Smith, the legendary Hall of Fame diving coach, suggested he join the masters team. A few months later, he swam in his first Masters meet in San Antonio. The meet turned out to be the 1978 USMS Short Course Nationals. So began Tom’s life in masters.

Tom continued swimming in meets for the next several years, going to nationals at Mission Viejo, Ft. Lauderdale and Irvine. In 1981, The Woodlands bid for short course nationals, and he agreed to be the meet director. He also made the decision to attend the 1981 United States Aquatic Sports (USAS) Convention so he could fully understand the process of organizing and running a USMS national championship event. By the end of the convention, he had been appointed as Chairman of the Championship Committee.

During his term, from 1981 to 1985, he travelled to the World Championships in Tokyo and Brisbane as the representative of USMS and became active in Masters Swimming International.

At the 1985 convention, Tom Boak was elected President of United States Masters Swimming, a position he held through 1989. As Past-President, he served an additional four years on the USMS Board of Directors. He also served four years as Chairman of the Rules Committee, four years as Chairman of the Finance Committee and two years as USMS Treasurer. He is currently serving as Treasurer of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and has received many local and national awards for his service to Masters Swimming. Among them is USMS’s highest honor, the Ransom J. Arthur, M.D. Award.

Looking back on his years in Masters swimming, he says that Masters has given him much more than he could ever give back. It was through masters that he met his wife Carolyn, many friends and a healthy lifestyle.

Tom Boak is also an accomplished swimmer, earning three world championship titles and over a hundred top ten swims, but when Masters Swimming was in its infancy, he will always be remembered for helping Masters Swimming grow and become a discipline recognized by FINA.


The International Swimming Hall of Fame wants to know if you are one in a thousand?  We think you are! Show how special you are and become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One In A Thousand” Club.  Help keep the International Swimming Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum by joining now!

During these unprecedented times, the ISHOF Board is calling on every member in the aquatic community to make a small monthly commitment of support to show how special you are and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill Kent – Chairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Since 1965, ISHOF has been the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports. ISHOF’s vision for the future is to build a new museum and expand its reach by offering its museum artifacts digitally through a redesigned website.

The ISHOF Board of Directors is calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment to show their dedication to aquatics and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

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