Honor Masters Diver
FOR THE RECORD: 32 MASTERS WORLD DIVING
TITLES: 12 (1m springboard), 11 (3m springboard), 9 (10m platform); 7 SENIOR
OLYMPICS TITLES: 4 (1m springboard), 3 (3m springboard); 5 MASTERS WORLD
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING TITLES; 3 solo, 2 figures; 119 MASTERS U. S. NATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIPS: 31 (1m springboard), 30 (3m springboard), 25 (grand masters), 26
(10m platform); 20 ALL-AMERICAN TITLES: (1980- 1999); 15 times Masters Diver of
the Year Award.
Since 1976, Patty Robinson Fulton has
been diving Masters and winning National Championships every year since.
Beginning in the 55 - 59 age group, she has won 32 Masters World Diving titles:
12 on I in springboard, 11 on 3m springboard and 9 on the 10m platform.
Born in 1920 in San Francisco, Patty
began swimming and diving at age seven. Among
other swims, she swam the Golden Gate Bridge Swim but preferred diving, and by
the time she was a teenager, in the 1930s, she had been runner-up three times in
national diving competitions. She was asked to join the Billy Rose Aquacades in
1938 but declined so as not to lose her amateur status in order to try for the
Olympic Games two years later. She had qualified for the Olympic Trials, but
World War II put an end to her Olympic dream when the Games were canceled in
1940. On Patty's suggestion, the Billy Rose Aquacade picked an unknown Esther
Williams instead of Patty.
But she loved being in the water and
soon after, under her newly married name of McPherson, Patty joined the
Minnesota Aquatennial and Aqua Follies, performing in water shows throughout the
U.S. and entertaining U.S. troops abroad during the War. In 1947, she joined the
Buster Crabbe Aqua Parade and Follies with Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller,
Vicki Draves and many more swimming and diving greats. For the next 21 years,
she became one of the premier divers and synchronized swimmers at the shows.
When not performing, Patty taught swimming lessons to Minnesota youngsters and
all children who needed to know how to swim. Twenty years later, and now as Mrs.
Leonard Webber, she retired from performing and became athletic director of
various California athletic clubs including the Athens Athletic Club, the
Women's Athletic Club, Fairmont Pool and Leisure World.
She obtained a degree in astronomy from
the University of California Berkeley, building her own reflective telescope. In
1976, surviving her husband, she married David Fulton who encouraged her to
participate in Masters diving. She
said that getting back into Masters diving was like learning to dive all over
again. After a 30-year absence, the pools were deeper and the diving boards were
much springier "causing you to go sailing through the air."
But as a Masters diver, she was the only female to tour Russia on an
historic Masters diving team in 1990. She won 119 Masters U.S. National
Championships on springboard and platform and over a 20-year period she won 20
All-American titles. She was 15 times Masters Diver of the Year.
She was the epitome of good skills and successes, she embellished those
around her with her warm and friendly personality, always promoting Masters
diving and those who participated in it. She
was active in the program until her untimely death in February, 2001.
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