Paragon Awards Presented By
Stephen A. “Sid” Cassidy
Aquatics Director and Head Coach, St. Andrews School
2014 Paragon Award / Competitive Swimming
Stephen A. “Sid” Cassidy is known worldwide as one of Open Water Swimming’s most respected leaders. Perhaps his greatest contribution to open water swimming was his role in placing a marathon 10K swim permanently in the Olympic Games program. He is a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Cassidy has served in nearly every role in the sport; a former professional marathon swimmer, a record breaking channel swimmer; a National Team Coach; USA Swimming and FINA Administrator; Olympic official, race announcer, race director, and strong advocate of the sport.
Cassidy’s dedication to the sport has been recognized by his peers as well as the international swimming community. He was awarded USA Swimming’s highest honor, the prestigious “USA Swimming Award”, which is given annually to the individual or organization with the most outstanding contributions to the sport of swimming. Sid was a technical expert for the “USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Safety Task Force”. His recommendations were ultimately accepted by the FINA Bureau as a concrete means to improve safety in its open water swimming competitions.
Sid has worked tirelessly on nearly every continent for over four decades as an athlete, coach, race director, promoter, administrator, referee, lecturer and FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Chairman. He has balanced a long term vision with pragmatism in organizing and running the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim; the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup; and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix during his role with FINA.
Sid Cassidy’s early passion for open water swimming was developed under his coach and mentor, Bob Mattson, in the early 1970’s in Avondale, Pennsylvania. Cassidy was ranked as high as fourth in the world as a professional marathon swimmer in 1979, a feat which is amazing if you consider Sid was lifeguarding at the time and open water swimming was just something fun to do. He wasn’t even focused on training, just something he did in his spare time. He swam several “Around the Island Swim” 36k (22.5 mile) marathon swims in Atlantic City and has competed in professional marathon races in Chicago, Canada, England, France and Egypt. Sid has competed in the famous, La Toque 24 hour swim, the Bay of Chaleurs and the Nile River 27 mile Marathon Swim. He coached and swam on a record-setting, double crossing of the English Channel by the USA National Team in 1991, where he still remains one of the English Channel relay record holders. Cassidy was inducted as an Honor Administrator in to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005.
In addition to all his accolades and accomplishments in the open water swimming world, Sid has had just as much success in the pool as both a swimmer and a coach. As a collegiate swimmer, he attended NC State University and UCLA. He was a three-time Division 1 NCAA All American and was a gold medalist eleven times in twelve races at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships for North Carolina State University. As a coach, Sid has consistently led teams and individuals to success at every level. He has coached on the collegiate level at the University of Tampa and Florida State University in an assistant coach role, and was named head coach at James Madison University and the University of Miami. He was Aquatics Director for Atlantic City, where he and ISHOF Gold Medallion winner, Mayor Jim Whelan began one of the first of its kind in the Northeast, Mannar minority swimming program. In 2005, he became the Aquatics Director and Head Coach at the Saint Andrews Prep School in Boca Raton. He has been named “Florida High School Coach of the Year” four times while at Saint Andrews: Boys in 2008, and Girls, 2009, 2012 and 2013.
Sid is married to Kara Keenan Cassidy, Swim School Director at Saint Andrews School. They have two children, Quinn and Kate, both extraordinary swimmers and water polo players. Quinn attends the University of Florida as a member of the UF swim team, while Kate focuses mostly on water polo and attends Saint Andrews.
Unselfish dedication, unflagging perseverance, creative vision, enthusiastic leadership, entertaining speaking style and a larger than life personality are all examples that best capture the essence and character of Sid Cassidy.
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