The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.
2005 Paragon Award / Aquatic Safety
For most of his 88 years, Bob Johnson has been involved in swimming. In high school, as a swimmer, he won the Connecticut Inter-Scholastic Championships (50y and 100y freestyle). At Mercersburg Prep he set a national prep school record. finally at Ohio State University he became Team Captain and won the National Team Championship in 1938, 1939, 1940.
But it's his 70 years as a swimming teacher, coach, official, water safety instructor and safety official for which Bob is being recognized. Since 1948, he has organized and conducted the Red Cross Water Safety
Program for Hamden, CT, teaching some 927 classes with 28,000 students and issuing 20,000 certifications with an additional 2,000 water safety instructor badges.
Bob served for 24 years on the Yale University Physical Education and Aquatics Faculty. He has a combined 158 years with the American Red Cross Water Safety program, the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER), the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), United States Swimming (USS), Masters, Special Olympics and Senior Olympics. He started the "Every Sailor a Swimmer" program in the 11th Naval District, California which involved 65 bases and 783 specialist A's to carry out the War Swimming Programs.
In addition to his active teaching and officiating roles, Bob has served as chair of almost every swim committee in Connecticut. He has been director of three National Long Distance Swim Championships and Vice Chair of the National Committee. He is a historian by nature and has placed many of his books and pamphlets in ISHOF's Henning Library.