UNC Pembroke Dedicates Pool in Honor of Olympian Sue Walsh

Photo Courtesy: UNC Pembroke Athletics

UNC Pembroke Dedicates Pool in Honor of Olympian Sue Walsh

Officials at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke on Friday dedicated its pool in honor of American Olympian Sue Walsh.

Walsh swam at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, a 10-time national champion, three-time Most Outstanding Swimmer of the ACC Championships and member of the CSCAA’s 100 Greatest Swimmers and Divers of the 20th century. The native of Hamburg, New York, remained in North Carolina after he graduation and understood fundraising projects for UNC. She grew close with Dick and Lenore Taylor, philanthropists Robeson County, who funded the Sue Walsh Swimming Pool.

“We are honored that your name, in perpetuity, be associated with our university and our aquatics center,” UNC Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings said during a dedication ceremony last week. “To you, Sue, your family and your friends, please know that UNC Pembroke is excited, we’re honored and we are inspired to honor such a great legend.”

Walsh was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, which didn’t get to compete at the Games in Moscow due to the Olympic boycott. She missed out on qualifying for the 1984 Olympics by .01 seconds.

“When I was a very young girl, I remember watching the swimming at the summer Olympics and saying to myself, ‘why not me’? Because of the support of my family as well as their sacrifices that they made, I was able to change the ‘why not I’, ‘I can’ and ‘I did’,” Walsh said.

She went on to win bronze in the 100 backstroke at the World Championships in 1982 in addition to medley relay silver. She won the 100 back and took silver in the 200 back to go with medley relay gold at the 1983 Pan American Games, and she added five medals, including four individual backstroke bronzes, at the World University in 1981 and 1983. A member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, Walsh got into coaching and continued to swim in Masters competition, setting world records into her 50s.

“Sue’s achievements are aspirational for our young women that will get to swim in this facility daily,” UNC Pembroke Director of Athletics Dick Christy said. “We are very appreciative to Lenore and the Taylor family for not just their support, but finding such a meaningful way to tie this legacy to our program.”

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