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Diver Tarantino, Swimmers Knutson and Walters Receive Garatti-Saville Grants from the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Fort Lauderdale, FL – The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) today announced the names of three aquatic athletes who have been awarded inaugural grants from the Eleanor Garatti-Saville Fund: swimmers Dagny Knutson and David Walters and diver Jevon Tarantino. The Fund was created as a remembrance of Eleanor Garatti-Saville, a 1928 and 1932 Olympic Gold medalist, through a bequest from Dora Hartford, Eleanor’s sister, who recently passed away. The purpose of the fund is to help young Olympic hopefuls achieve their dreams and provides each recipient with a $5,000 stipend.

Dagney Knutson, coached by Kathy Aspaas, is 18 years old and hails from Minot, North Dakota. In 2009, Dagney broke a 30 year-old national age group record in the 200m free and qualified for the FINA World Championships where she earned a silver medal swimming on the USA’s 800m free relay. She also placed third in the 400m IM at the 2009 National Championships. Her mother Rhonda, a nurse, and her father Jim, a Youth Director, currently help support her expenses. The Eleanor Garatti-Saville Grant money will “help me out tremendously with travel and training” she says. She hopes this year’s training pays off by qualifying for the USA National Team. This fall she will begin training in Fullerton, California swimming for the Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team (FAST). 

Dave Walters, coached by Eddie Reese, is 22 years old, originally from Yorktown, Virginia and swam at the University of Texas, where he was an individual NCAA Champion and helped lead the Longhorns to the 2010 NCAA Team Championship. He continues to train and compete for Longhorn Aquatics. He will graduate in the spring of 2011 with a degree in Economics. Dave won gold medals in the 800 Free Relays at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 Rome World Championships. The Eleanor Garratti-Saville grant money will enable Dave to continue swimming as he says “the cost of living and training in Austin, Texas is extremely expensive and I have not been able to secure any additional sponsorship.”

Jevon Tarantio, a 26 year old diver and graduate of the University of Tennessee, is from Boca Raton, Florida. He is coached by Dave Burgering and trains at the Hall of Fame pool in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Jevon is a five-time USA National Champion and he placed 4th in the 3 Meter Synchronized event at the Beijing Olympic Games. “I really haven’t had much financial help during my career. The Eleanor Garatti-Saville grant is greatly appreciated and will allow me to dedicate myself to pursue my Olympic dreams.” Eleanor Garatti-Saville was one of the premier sprint swimmers of her era. Eleanor was the first woman 100-meter sprinter to medal in two successive Olympic Games, a feat next accomplished by Australia’s great Dawn Fraser at the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. Like the USA’s Jenny Thompson, Eleanor was especially noted as a great relay swimmer and was the only repeat swimmer on the 1928 and 1932 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal 400 meter Freestyle Relay Teams. Eleanor also won four U.S. National Sprint Championships between 1925 and 1929.

In 1928, at Amsterdam, Eleanor finished second to Albina Osipowitch in the 100 and recorded the fastest split on the USA’s winning relay. Eleanor married in 1929, but at a time when a wife's role was in the home, she continued swimming. In 1932, she won the bronze medal in the 100 meters, narrowly beaten by her Helene Madison and Holland's silver medalist, the great Willy den Ouden, who later established a 100 meter record that lasted for over 20 years. Once again Eleanor had the fastest split of the meet, helping the USA to another gold medal in the relay. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1992.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. (ISHOF), established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children. It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic museum and shrine dedicated to the history, memory, and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information visit http://www.ishof.org

Greg LouganisEraldo

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