Melanie Beck (GBR)
The ISHOF Presidential Award is conferred in recognition of an extraordinary or exceptional achievement to promote the mission of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. This year’s recipient, Melanie Beck, went above and beyond the call of duty when she arranged for ISHOF to present an exhibition of swimming history at “thecentre:mk”, in Milton Keynes, UK, in 2012. Not only did this exhibit provide fantastic exposure for ISHOF, but it helped develop a model for future traveling exhibitions and also added to the bottom line. But Melanie is not just a marketing genius, she is an extraordinary person, from an exceptional family who is passionate about aquatics.
Melanie started her volunteer service at 18 when she began coaching, gained her national judging certification and took up the voluntary post of Hertfordshire County Diving Secretary. Over the next few years, she brought up her own young family and was a willing bystander as her father, Jeff Cook, worked countless hours organizing diving events throughout the UK and enjoyed many lively family lunch debates on the development of diving worldwide. Fast forward to the year of the Athens Olympics when Melanie suffered the unexpected loss of her father. At the time, he had just enjoyed a year as President of the ASA, had been an active member of the LEN and FINA Technical Diving Committees. The loss of her father affected her profoundly and a chance meeting with David Sparkes, Chief Executive of British Swimming, reignited her enthusiasm and motivated her to continue his work. With ISHOF Board Member and family friend Eldon Godfrey serving as confidante and unwavering supporter, Melanie accepted the position of Chair of British Swimming’s Technical Diving Committee. In 2008, she was appointed to the post of Director of the prestigious FINA Diving World Series and currently sits on the FINA Technical Diving Committee. She also was one of 14 women in British Sport selected for a key “Women in Sport” development program run by the British Olympic Federation from which she graduated in 2011. That, of course, was preparation for the London Olympics.
At home, in addition to full-time employment, Melanie raises funds for a national charity, SportsAid, to support aspiring young athletes in the Eastern Region of England, to date the region has raised almost £1 million and helps 160 pre-podium young people each year.
Melanie, who has worked with countless interesting people and cultures around the globe, says she could never give back as much as diving has given her. We beg to differ, the debt is with the world of aquatics. Thank you, Melanie.
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