Nancy Ridout (USA)
2015 Honor Masters Contributor
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: MEMBER OF THE USMS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: 1985- present; MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THE SWIMMING SAVES LIVES FOUNDATION: 2011 - present; MEMBER FINA MASTERS COMMITTEE: 2006-2013, CHAIR OF MASTERS DEVELOPMENT XI FINA World Masters Championships: 2006; LOCAL OPERATING COMMITTEE SECRETARY; ORIGINATOR AND ADMINISTRATOR OF 8 US OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER HIGH ALTITUDE TRAINING CAMPS FOR MASTERS, inaugurated in 1998; PARTNERED USMS WITH USA WATER POLO and Swimming World Magazine in “Strokes for Stroke” a national campaign to highlight awareness of the symptoms and treatment of strokes (brain damage):, 2000; USMS PRESIDENT: 97-2001; INITIATED USMS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION WHILE PRESIDENT: 1998; USMS VICE-PRESIDENT: 1989-93; USMS SECRETARY: 1985-89; USMS CO-EDITOR OF SWIM MAGAZINE: 1991-93; CO-EDITOR WATERMARKS (USMS Newsletter): 1989-91; ORIGINATOR AND EDITOR Places to Swim; first publication detailing contacts for Masters clubs that welcome visitors, originally for US and then expanded to international listings: 1986-2000; USMS FEDERATION CONVENTION DELEGATE: annually 1982-present; USMS COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION (International, Championship, Registration, Long Range Planning, Executive Committee, Chairman Marketing Committee.
She grew up in Toledo, Ohio where she says the water had a “magnetic effect” on her from her earliest memory. And it didn’t have to be a pool. It could be a river, a lake or even a puddle; Nancy Ridout would find a way to fall or jump in, and nearly drowned once. As a teenager, she swam for the local YMCA and then on the Club Team at the University of Michigan for Rosemary Mann Dawson, wife of the late Hall of Fame’s Buck Dawson. At Michigan, she swam in what is remembered as the first sanctioned National Women’s Intercollegiate championship meet. She also played on the Club’s water polo team, which won three National Championships.
In 1972, three weeks after her second child was born, she joined a Masters swimming program at the Marin Aquatic Club. Initially she didn’t plan to compete, but reluctantly agreed to swim on a relay because her team “needed her.” But she found it fun and caught the bug.
One of her goals as a kid had been to break a minute in the 100 yard freestyle. Even in college she didn’t do it, and she figured that was down the drain. Then at the age of 34, she did it! It was like a dream come true! She found swimming liberating, something that restored her soul and kept her life in balance – it was an opportunity to develop her own identity, outside of her roles as wife, mother, and teacher.
The identity she created is not just as a swimmer who has won over 170 National Masters Championships, ten World Championships and who set dozens of National and World Records, but as someone who has appreciated what Masters Swimming gave her - which is why she has given so much of her talents and energy back to Masters Swimming.
Her involvement as a volunteer and administrator began in the mid-1970s, when there was no one else to sort out the Top Ten records for Pacific Masters. In 1982, she was elected to represent the zone at the USMS National Convention – and she has attended every convention since. At her first convention she was elected Secretary of USMS. A few years later she was Vice President and in 1998 she was elected President and served for two terms. She has received every award USMS has to offer, including the Ransom J. Arthur Award in 1994, but that’s not why she has served USMS.
Nancy says the reason she enjoys Masters Swimming so much is because it has brought her many wonderful friends, opportunities to be the best she can be in the pool and in life, a healthy lifestyle and excellent fitness. Masters swimming is a program that seems to attract the best people and it brings out the best in them. But most of all – IT”S FUN – and that makes it easy to give back.”