Announcing the 2024 ISHOF Aquatic Awards by AquaCal  

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s annual ISHOF Aquatic Awards presented byAquaCal  (formerly the Paragon Awards 1996-2022).  The ISHOF Aquatic Awards presented by AquaCal are presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics.  This year’s recipients include Jay Thomas (USA) for Competitive Swimming; Pedro and Cristiana Pinciroli (BRA) for Water Polo;  Sheilagh Boudia (USA) for Diving;  Sandra Roberts (CAN) for Artistic/Synchronized Swimming; Chrisand Jenny McCuiston (USA) for Water Safety and Beth Root (USA) for Recreational Swimming. This year’s awards will be held Friday evening on October 4, 2024, as the kickoff to the ISHOF Honoree Induction weekend, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

Make your plans now to attend the weekend, October 4-5, 2024! 

The annual awards are a spectacular event that celebrates the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational aquatics possible.  These are the people who save lives, promote water safety and further aquatic education around the world.  We are proud to recognize these important individuals at the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

About this year’s award recipients:

Jay Thomas (USA) – Competitive Swimming

A long time official currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jay Thomas began his career as a swim parent in Fort Lauderdale, and has continued his career officiating for USA Swimming, the NCAA, and FINA, now World Aquatics.  Thomas grew through the ranks of USA Swimming, serving FINA, and World Aquatics in a variety of positions and is currently serving as Secretary of the Technical Swimming Committee (July 2022-present).  In addition, he just finished his term as Chairman of the Swimming Committee, for Pan-Am Aquatics (January 2020- Dec 31, 2023). He is a former LSC Officials Chair, National Times Chair and Records Chair. Thomas has been a Head Referee for NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving National Championships.  He was a two-term USA Swimming Board of Director and has been the Chairman of the “Our Kids” Initiative, for the last 13 years, a program founded by Pat Lunsford. 

Thomas served as a deck official at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and will do so again this summer at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.  He has served at eight FINA World Championships and three Pan American Games.

He is a retired Commander in the United States Naval Reserve and a retired pilot for American Airlines.  He has two daughters, Barbara, and Morgan, who both swam for the Florida Gold Coast, where Jay began his officiating days, right at our very own Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center.  

Sheilagh Boudia (USA) – Competitive Diving 

In every sport, there is usually one parent or volunteer that is the glue that holds everything together.  And for many years, for USA Diving, beginning in the early 2000’s that glue was named Sheilagh Boudia, Mother of four-time Olympic medalist (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze), David Boudia.

Sheilagh started out as a parent volunteer, but it turned out she could do anything.  “She could fix any problem during any event”, said former 2017 Paragon Award Winner, Linda Paul.  Everyone came to rely on her. During the National Championships, the NCAA was using the computer program, “Diving Meets” as the scoring system.  She learned it, ran it, could troubleshoot it and when the creator and founder, suddenly passed away, she took over the running of it. She became so good as a volunteer, the company, Diving Meets, eventually hired Boudia to work for them as an employee, where she remains today.

2016 Paragon Award Winner and Head Diving Coach at the University of Michigan, Cokey Smith Huffman, who has worked with Mrs. Boudia for years says, “Sheilagh worked tirelessly and dedicated herself to making diving and Diving Meets successful. It was always about diving and what was best for the divers”.  “Wherever someone was needed, we always called Sheilagh, because we knew we could rely on her to troubleshoot any problem and once it was in her hands, we no longer needed to worry about it,” says Steve McFarland, former President of USA Diving.  Her husband, Jim Boudia was always in the background to lend a helping hand to her as well.

“Not only could you be confident in Sheilagh, she was always selfless; she never put herself, or her son first.  She has an incredible integrity about her. She would even get up from the table when her son David was diving so as not to appear to show any conflict of interest,” said another former USA Diving staffer.

Sandra Roberts (CAN) – Artistic Swimming

Sandra Roberts’ contributions to artistic swimming is immeasurable. She began as an athlete, continued in her role as a coach, judge, and finally, administrator.

Roberts has judged at the Canadian National Synchronized Swimming Championships for 37 years from 1968 to 2005. She became an international judge in 1978 and received her initial FINA accreditation in 1985. In 1988, she received the FINA ‘A’ rating, and later became a ‘judge’s judge’ when she began evaluating judges in addition to offering judging clinics all over the world. Sandra’s international resume is quite extensive: four Swiss Opens, five Pan American Games, one Commonwealth Games, nine World Cups, nine World Championships, four Olympic Qualifiers, four Olympic Games, as well as more than 30 other international competitions.  

After approximately 50 years of involvement with artistic swimming, Sandra retired at the end of the 2004/05 season.

Pedro and Cris Pinciroli (BRA) – Water Polo

Pedro Pinciroli is a businessman, former Olympic water polo athlete and worked as an executive in media. Currently he is president of the group iFob – Innovative Family Office- and develops business opportunities in the financial and real estate sectors.  In the media, he was CEO and Board Member of the Superior Council of Grupo Folha, a conglomerate which publishes the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. 

Pedro participated in two editions of the Olympic Games as a water polo player (1964, Tokyo and 1968, Mexico City) that left profound marks on his mind and body, creating a frame of reference that dominates the way in which he thinks and acts. 

In the Olympic Games of Mexico (1968) he was ranked among the top scorers, and he was chosen by the coaches as a highlight of water polo in the Olympics. He was Captain of the Brazilian national team from 1968 to 1976. 

He was considered in 1965 by FINA as Featured Player of the Americas and was mentioned by the International Association of Coach, as a player who could join any team in the world. 

Pedro conceived and led the process of adoption of the Piva Law- sanctioned by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso on July 16, 2001, which states that 2% of the gross revenues of all federal lotteries in the country are transferred to the Brazilian Olympic Committee and to the Brazilian Paralympics Committee – along with the Minister Saul Ramos, Senator Pedro Piva and President of the COB, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.

Cristiana was captain of the Brazilian National Water Polo team. She played professionally in Italy and at the end of her sports career, was considered among the top players in the world. Her first moment of transition was from sport to the business world.

She enjoyed 25 years as an executive at a leading Brazilian bank. There, she leveraged her experiences and strengths in sport and successfully led teams in realizing their full potential. Her second moment of transition was in 2019, when she left the bank and became an author. She wrote the award-winning book – “Sport: A Stage for Life” – launched both in English and Portuguese.

Cris is an expert in high performance and happiness. She works with organizations and athletes to nurture human potential in a journey of success and well-being.  

Beth Root (USA)– Recreational Swimming

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL) is a global drowning prevention event launched by the World Waterpark Association in 2010.  The program is supported by leading aquatics and safety organizations around the world and takes place at all types of aquatic facilities from huge waterparks to public pools and swim schools. WLSL serves as a platform to help communities build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim. As we at ISHOF know, swimming is a life-saving skill for children, and a vital tool to prevent drowning, and is the number one cause of death for U.S. children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for ages 5-14.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL)  was the brainchild of Mrs. Beth Root. The World Waterpark Association wanted an idea to drive media attention to support National Water Safety Month. Root came up with the World’s Largest Swim Lesson (WLSL), and the World Waterpark Association (WWA) championed it. Root managed all program elements, from logos and marketing materials to a social media program, and “how-to guides” for all participating facilities and more.  And it was all done on a pro-bono basis. 14 years later, the WLSL is still going strong and larger than ever!

Beth Root is a former competitive swimmer and lifeguard, who began her career in waterparks. She is now the principal at Buzzonic, a Kansas City, Mo. based marketing strategy and integration agency that she founded. Since 1986, she’s attended every WWA convention with husband, WWA President and 2005 Paragon Award winner, in Recreational Swimming, Rick Root.

Chris and Jenny McCuiston (USA) –Aquatic Safety

Chris and Jenny McCuiston founded Goldfish Swim School in their hometown of Birmingham, Michigan in 2006. Recognizing the demand for swim lessons in the area, Jenny, an Olympic Trials qualifier, with a degree in early childhood development, and Chris, a finance major from Michigan State University, set out to create a child-focused facility to help children become safer and more confident in and around the water.

Prior to opening Goldfish, the high school sweethearts traveled the country for swim school research, inspiration, and direction. Utilizing the knowledge gained through their travels, along with Jenny’s extensive knowledge of swimming and teaching, and Chris’ strong financial and business background, every aspect and detail of the swim school was carefully thought out. Upon opening, Goldfish Swim School quickly grew popular for its innovative approach to teaching, along with the child-friendly décor, 90-degree pool, and dedication to providing a golden experience.  The couple, along with Chris’ brother Andrew, built on this success by expanding their business as a franchise.

Today there are more than 165 Goldfish Swim Schools open or in development throughout North America, teaching water safety to more than 200,000 children each week. In addition to being hands-on with the Goldfish Franchise, the couple are also dedicated parents to four young boys.  

AquaCal® has been the leading swimming pool heat pump manufacturer since 1981, offering a full range of units to meet any heating need. AquaCal® can maintain anything from small above ground pools up to very large commercial facilities. (Currently heating and chilling the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Aquatic Center pools) The chillers, as well as the heat and cool units, can be used to create cold plunge pools for therapy too. Whatever your pool heating/cooling needs, AquaCal® can help!

The ISHOF Aquatic Awards, presented by AquaCal, will be held Friday, October 4, 2024 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and Spa, 321 Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL (954) 467-1111.  The ISHOF Aquatic Awards are typically held on the evening before the ISHOF Honoree Induction, and are the kickoff to the weekend celebration.  In addition to the ISHOF Aquatic Awards, presented by AquaCal, we will also be honoring the recipients of the ISHOF Specialty Awards which include the Buck Dawson Author’s Award, the Every Child A Swimmer Award and many others.  They will be announced next week.

Ticket information for all events, including the 2024 ISHOF and MISHOF Honoree Induction Ceremonies will be forthcoming very soon. 

For more information call Meg Keller-Marvin at 570.594.4367

#ISHOF #Aquaticawards #AquaCal #USASwimming #Fortlauderdale #Diving #Waterpolo #Artisticswimming #EverychildAswimmer #swimlessons #Honoreeinduction #WorldAquatics #USA #Canada #Brazil #Westinfortlauderdalebeachresort

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