For over 50 years,
the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) has recognized a category of
honorees known as “contributors.” They are the unsung heroes who have used their
talents and work behind the scenes to positively impact the swimming sports
and help create platforms for others to achieve fame and glory.
Andy Burke grew up in San Francisco and in 1945, while still
in high school, he started playing water polo for the Olympic Club of San
Francisco. After nearly a decade as the team’s center back, he traded in his
suit and cap for a referee flag and whistle and took on administrative duties
that quickly earned him the respect and admiration of his peers. In 1960, he
was elected Chairman of the National AAU Water polo Committee. And from 1961
through 1964 he also served as Chairman of water polo for the US Olympic
Committee. He oversaw the Olympic team selection process and served as
manager for US Water Polo team at the Tokyo Games. From 1966 through 1976, he
served as Chairman of the AAU Water Polo Rules Committee and internationally
he served on the Technical Water Polo Committee UANA – the Swimming Union of
the Americas -from 1963-1975, and on the UANA Executive Board from 1975 to
While Andy served in many leadership positions during his
career, he always put the athletes and swimming sports first, even if it
meant stepping aside and helping others who he thought he could be more
effective as leaders. Among those Andy assisted to rise above him was a tall,
debonair young midwest lawyer and water polo player by the name of Bob Helmick. From
their first meeting in the early 1960s, Andy recognized his talents as a
future leader. “The smartest man I ever met,” Burke says. And for the next
two decades, Andy served as Helmick’s advisor, promoter and unofficial
“campaign manager” as he rose to positions of power from within the AAU and
Olympic water polo committees to the presidency of FINA in 1984 and finally
as President of the US Olympic Committee in 1988. Among the many ways Bob
Helmick repaid Andy for his support was by designating him Chef d’Mission to
lead the US Delegation at the 1991 FINA World Championships in Havana, Cuba.
Andy played a similar role in the early career of Dr. Julio Maglione.
Andy had been involved with the UANA organization since 1963 and on the
Executive Board for four years when Maglione was elected President of UANA in
1979. The organization didn’t do much between Pan American Games, but the new
president wanted that to change. Andy helped the new president turn his ideas
into actions and their efforts caught the attention of FINA, especially Bob
Helmick. In 1984, Dr. Maglione moved from UANA president to the FINA Bureau
and serves as President of FINA today.
Andy continues today to serve as an example of the spirit of
volunteerism. At the age of 88 years young, when most folks his age are
content to sit at home and watch sports on tv, Andy Burke continues to
referee high school water polo games, oversee the Masters waster polo program
of the Olympic Club and provide sage advise to the many leaders of today who
seek him out.
The 54th Annual
International Swimming Hall of Fame Awards Weekend!
Reserve Your Hotel
Rooms and Purchase Your Tickets Today
Ian Crocker (USA)
Honor Swimmer was part of the Class of 2017, but was unable to attend the
induction due to Hurricane Harvey. We will be officially celebrating his
induction as part of the class of 2018.