John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award
Honoring An Individual Serving Persons With Disabilities

Established in 1994 by the Adaptive Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame this award honors an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adaptive aquatics (aquatics for persons with disabilities) as a participant, athlete, teacher, instructor, coach, organizer, administrator or media representative.  


Susan J.Grosse (USA)

Susan J.Grosse (USA)

Generations of students at F.J. Gaenslen Orthopedic School in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Public School System are glad that Sue Grosse taught at their school. With over 17 years at the K-21 school for children with physical and multiple disabilities, she taught them to enjoy, become more proficient and be safe in the water.

But Grosse’s influence in Adapted Aquatics goes back more than 40 years, when in 1966 she began a resource development which has grown into a database of over 800 annotated publications in Adapted Aquatics. This reference database is now a part of the Sport Information and Resource Center (SIRC) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Sue continued to update this valuable database yearly.

For over 20 years, Sue has been a Red Cross Instructor Trainer in Swimming for the Handicapped (later Adapted Aquatics). When the ARC eliminated that credential, she joined the revised Swimming and Water Safety Program Team in 1992, specifically charged with writing the chapter, Swimming for Individuals with Disabilities. From 1992 to 2000, she served as the Adapted Aquatics Specialty Chair for the Aquatic Council of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). She developed the council’s position paper on Adapted Aquatics as well as the Adapted Aquatics credential, which she administered for eleven years. Additionally, she is a senior faculty member of the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute and teaches workshops on the Halliwick Method, balance and gait training, water learning and a variety of safety and management tools.

Sue has been Editor of the Aquatic Therapy Journal and has written several relevant text publications including Water Learning (Human Kinetics) and The Halliwick Method: Water Freedom for Individuals with Disabilities. For over 30 years, she has written and published numerous articles in the field for over ten periodical publications. She has presented related topics at world-wide conferences as well as at a variety of colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Currently, Sue is the president of Aquatic Consulting & Education Resource Services in Milwaukee and is a sought-after speaker have presented in Ireland, Egypt, Canada and across the United States.

Previous Award Recipients...
Dr. Christine Stopka

Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D

Phillip Conatser

John Spannuth

Dori Maxon

Elizabeth "Libby" Andersen

Anne Green

Dr. Monica Lepore

Uri Bergman


Dr. Julian Stein 

Mary Essert (El Cerrito, CA)
Mary Essert is the founder of Mary Essert and Associates, maker of many videos and tapes on water fitness, founder of "Move It or Lose It" and active with Grace Reynolds at the YMCA.

Ruth Sova (Port Washington, WI)
Ruth Sova is founder of the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) and the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab. Institution.  She is a well-known entrepreneur and speaker around the world.

Louise Priest (Indianapolis, IN)
Louise Priest is the mother of adaptive aquatics.  She wrote the Red Cross aquatic materials and is now Director of Communications with the Jeff Ellis Organization.

Grace Reynolds (Longview, WA)
Grace Reynolds was head of "Swimming for Special Populations" for the national YMCA for years and head of "Project Aquatics" and "Project Aquatics Mainstreaming".  She is founder/president of Disability International Foundation (DIF).

John K. Williams, Jr. (San Diego, CA)
John K. Williams, Jr. graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. degree in Therapeutic Recreation and is now an aquatic consultant.  Speaker at numerous workshops on Adaptive Aquatics, he spends his summers working at Camp Able.


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