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Presidential Honor Award

2016 John Spannuth (USA)


For over fifty-years, John Spannuth has been one of the most influential, impactful and innovative

leaders in the field of aquatics. John Spannuth’s professional life in aquatics began in 1956, when

he was hired as Aquatics Director at the Reading YMCA, in Reading, Pennsylvania. This led to his

being hired as the Aquatics Director and Head Swimming coach for Phillips Petroleum Co. in

Bartlesville, Oklahoma where, in seven years, he developed one of the best age group swim teams in

the country. He was the National Aquatics Administrator for the AAU where, on a national level, he guided all four disciplines plus long-distance swimming. He was one of the founding fathers of Adult Age-Group swimming, today known as Masters Swimming and served as president of the American Swimming Coaches Association.  Sergeant Shriver tapped him to be the International Director  of the Special Olympics in Washington D.C. where he guided the growth of Special Olympics for Eunice Shriver and helped to build it into an internationally recognized program for persons with mental disabilities. He served four years in the Middle East as Aquatics, Sports and Recreation Administrator in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while teaching swimming on all levels, including competitive swimming, to native children of the region.


Today, in addition to being the President and CEO of the United States Water Fitness Association (USWFA) he is a well-known national and international conference speaker and promoter of all aspects of aquatics.


The Presidential Honor award is not given out every year and it is totally up to the discretion of the President of ISHOF of who receives it. This year, Bruce Wigo is taking the opportunity to use this award to thank and recognize John, not only for all that he has done for aquatics, but for what he has done personally to help him in so many ways during the past ten years - with his encouragement and positive, uplifting thoughts. He has also been an invaluable historical resource, mento and friend. This Award is Wigo’s way of publicly acknowledging John for all he has done for him and for the Hall of Fame.

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