Carol “Penny” Pence Taylor has done it all in competitive swimming, as an athlete, competitor, coach, official and administrator. In 1948, she was a member of the US Olympic Team competing in the 200 meter breaststroke in London. She was a member of the Lafayette Swim Club in Indiana, swimming for Hall of Fame Coach Dick Papenguth while attending Purdue University. She was a member of the U.S. Team for the first Pan American Games in 1951, winning a gold medal in the 3x100 meter medley relay and a bronze medal in the 200 meter breaststroke. Penny was a six-time U.S. National Champion and American record holder in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 250 meter breaststroke events for a span of five years. In 1951, she was also one of the ten finalists of the coveted “A.A.U. Sullivan Award” for the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Penny competed in Masters swimming for over forty years, and has been a National Champion and record holder in breaststroke events in her age group.
For 35 years as a professional swim coach in the St. Louis area, she organized and developed three swim teams. Ferguson – Ritenour YMCA Team won three National Women’s Team Championships. The Parkway Swim Club, a team of 400 swimmers, won numerous state and district team titles. For 12 years, she was club coach with Tom Jager, three-time gold medal Olympian in the sprint freestyle. Penny is a charter member of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), and the first woman to be elected to ASCA’s Board of Directors.
As a volunteer and administrator, Penny has served in many positions for USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport. At the 1984 and 1992 Olympic Games, Penny was the team leader for USA men’s and women’s teams in Los Angles and Barcelona. She was Head Manager at the 1986 FINA World Championships in Madrid and the 1991 FINA World Championships in Perth. She was Manager for the United States Swimming National Teams in numerous international competitions. She was a volunteer deck marshal for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
She was Chef de Mission (head of delegation) for all aquatic sports for the 1994 FINA World Championships in Rome, the 1998 FINA World Championships in Perth and the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka. She continued in this capacity at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona 2003, Montreal 2005, Melbourne 2007, Rome 2009, Shanghai 2011 and in Barcelona again in 2013.
She was a member and secretary of the Olympic International Operations Committee of USA Swimming for 24 years; this body determines policy and procedures for all swimming competition of the National Team in international events. She will begin her eighth term in September, 2012. She has served as Central Zone Director of USA Swimming and was a member of the Board of Directors of USA Swimming for five years. She is a member of the Convention Committee for the United States Aquatic Sports Annual Convention. In 1999, she was the recipient of the prestigious United States Swimming Award presented annually to one person for their contribution to USA Swimming. In 2005, she was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame.
Penny is organized, productive and admired for her efficiency above and beyond the pool. Her friendly and efficient manner has placed her in high esteem.