Grande Dame Award
The International Swimming Hall of Fame Dames organization was established in 1965 for the purpose of promoting the interests and projects of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. These women have been of inestimable value to the Hall and its functions.
This award is no longer presented.
Over 42 years ago when her son Bruce became an eight and under, age group swimmer at the old Casino Pool on the Fort Lauderdale Beach, Marion Washburn became an active parent involved in competitive swimming, the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Dames. To this day, Marion is one of ISHOF’s most loyal supporters.
Marion began working with Bruce’s age group coach mainly as the parent liaison to Bruce’s coach by providing information to the parents regarding swim meet dates, times and schedules. She collected meet entry fees and timed at all swim meets she attended, whether age group or senior meets. She became the Vice President of the Fort Lauderdale Swim Association, which later became the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team, and the Meet Manager of the prestigious Pine Crest Woodson Invitational Swimming Meet.
In the late 1960’s, she joined the Hall of Fame Dames, the premier women’s volunteer service organization to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. During her years with the Dames, Marion served as Vice President, Secretary and, for most of her years, Treasurer. She became the ticket seller at the first of many International Diving Meets held annually in May. After noticing the efficiency and reliability of Marion’s work ethics, ISHOF Executive Director Buck Dawson hired her to be on the staff of the Hall of Fame, a position she held for 21 years.
Marion “wore many hats” during her years at ISHOF. She was the Librarian, responsible for maintaining the books, publications and information research. She served as the Bookstore and Souvenir Department Manager, responsible for stocking the shelves and selling the items to the public. She also served as the Office Manager, responsible for maintaining the office equipment and supplies. All the while, she served as the ISHOF Bookkeeper, responsible for keeping the financial ledgers in order.
During her twenty-one years on the staff of ISHOF, Marion also contributed countless hours of volunteer service as a Hall of Fame Dame. Upon her retirement in 1994, she was asked and agreed to serve on the Henning Library Advisory Board as an advisor to The Henning at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a position she held for another nine years. Recently, she has returned to The Henning one day per week as the main librarian to keep the library in operating order.
Marion has proved that one person can do many things well. ISHOF and the Hall of Fame Dames are fortunate that she did those “many things” to help the Hall of Fame.
Since 1965 Mary L. Oppenheim has been a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and has served on the Board of Directors and International Congress for many years. As an original member of the Hall of Fame Dames she has helped with many projects over the years. She has been active in the formative years of ISHOF’s Henning Library, as a volunteer director and as a Henning Library Committee member since 1993. She has served on ISHOF’s Adapted Aquatics Committee and has been an ISHOF Trustee for many years.
Mary learned to swim at the family summer home in Lake George, New York. After graduating from college in 1951, majoring and working in merchandising, she trained to be a Water Safety Instructor. As a faculty member at the Red Cross National Aquatic School, she taught life saving techniques from 1956 to 1973. She organized Red Cross Swimming Programs in Albany and Lake George, NY from 1956 to 1974. In 1952 she taught swimming at Miami Beach, Florida, passing the Florida Pool Operators course. From 1952 to 1979 she attended the Women’s National Aquatic Forum in Hollywood, FL and Pompano Beach, FL and served on its Executive Board as Treasurer. She was also a member of the Men’s Aquatic Forum of the CSCAA.
From 1955 to 1984, Mary judged AAU and US Synchronized Swimming championships in the north and southeast United States. As a life member she served on the historical committee of US Synchronized Swimming and in 1986 passed Levels Iand II of coaching in USSS.
She was a member of the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics serving on many committees including the 1965 Pre-School Swimming Survey Committee to determine who approved or disapproved of Pre –Schoolers learning to swim. As a member of the Aquatic Bibliography Committee she helped published Aquatic Bibliography receiving the Recognition of Appreciation Award in 1972 from the CNCA.
In 1960 Mary toured Denmark, Finland and Sweden with Norma Olsen’s Synchronized Swimming Group, putting on watershows and clinics. The tour included a synchro exhibition at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Upon returning home she was a speaker at the Women’s National Aquatic Forum and at Green Mountain Junior College in describing the Synchronized Swimming Tour.
As a member of America Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Mary published an Article “Public Relation and Aquatic Programs” in Aquatic Guide, July 1979-July 1981. Public relations play an important part in planning aquatic programs. In 1982 she published a book, Aquatic Aide – A Guidebook For Water Safety Instruction, which describes qualifications, teaching methods and skills to teach with the American Red Cross and YMCA Swimming and Life Saving Programs, as an Aide.
Mary is a Life Member of the American Swimming Coaches Association (1969), the International Academy of Aquatic Art (1975) and the US Swimming Foundation (1975). She is a past member of United States Water Fitness Association.
In 1994 Mary was inducted into the Endicott College Athletic Hall of Fame for demonstrating the qualities that combine athletic success with leadership.
Her life has been filled with the experiences and achievements which represent the character of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Dames.
If there is ever a “real” Hall of Fame Dame, it’s June Krauser. June was at the very first meeting of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Dames in 1965 and established the Dames’ By-Laws that same year. She served as the second president of the organization and was a dues-paying member for many years. Since 1992, she has served as secretary and continues to volunteer her time at various ISHOF events during the year.
But June’s involvement with swimming also extends to many other facets of the Hall of Fame. She attended the 1962 AAU convention in Detroit when the Hall of Fame was awarded to the City of Fort Lauderdale, beating out two other cities. She was at the first International Meet at the Hall of Fame Pool dedication in 1965 when breaststroker Catie Ball set the first world record in the new pool. She attended the 1968 FINA Congress Meeting in Mexico City when FINA President Javier Ostos (MEX) at the urging of Hal Henning (USA) presented the vote to confirm ISHOF’s position in the world. Over the past 42 years, she and her family have contributed to many projects, which have helped sustain the ISHOF.
June Krauser learned to swim in Lake Michigan at age four and has made a splash ever since. First coached by Hall of Famer Dick Papenguth at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, June went on to swim for Bud Sawin at the Riviera Club as a member of the three-time title winning senior national team in 1941, 1942 and 1943. At age 16, June won her only Senior National title, the 200y breaststroke.
She may have left the water, but certainly not the sport. June switched from swim suit (silk and sheer black back then) to business suit. Moving to Florida with her husband Jack in 1955, June got her feet wet as an age group mother when daughter Janice turned five and swam in her first AAU meet. Son Larry followed, and later became a Purdue captain. June became an official, and after helping to formulate the Florida Gold Coast Swimming Committee, she was elected secretary/treasurer, a post she held for nine years. June’s administrative and organization skills were immediately acclaimed, and she moved quickly to the national level. In 1959, June was named delegate for the AAU Convention and has represented South Florida every year since in AAU, USS, USMS or USAS.
In 1964, June was named as a member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Swim Committee and in 1968 took on the unpopular but necessary role of re-organizing and enforcing the rule book as the Swimming Rules Chairman. She also served as manager on six international AAU trips.
Twenty-five years after her “retirement” from active senior competition, June got back into the pool as a Masters swimmer – a concept and program she helped to pioneer in 1971. Krauser was the first and only rules chairman for United States Masters Swimming and helped to write most of them. She was founder and editor of Masters first national newsletter, Swim Master and printed it for the next 20 years. For her untiring devotion to the sport, June was named the second recipient of the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur Award, and the first USMS rule book was dedicated in her name. She became affectionately known as “Mother of Masters Swimming.”
In addition , June served as president of AAU Masters and was five-time national meet director. She has swimming friends around the globe from her many travels as team manager, committee representative and competitor. As her friends have said, “Mother Masters in one of the most dedicated people we know. If you need something done right, you call June Krauser.” June has never missed a USMS national competition since 1972 — 66 in all. She has competed in every FINA Masters World Championship since 1986 – 10 in all. She has 66 FINA Masters World Records, has been a member of the College Coaches Swim Forum since 1955 and is a long-time ISHOF International Congress Member.
Respected around the world, June was elected for induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1994 as Honor Contributor and also into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1993 as Honor Swimmer/Contributor.
In 1988, June was elected to the FINA Masters Committee and continues to serve, as the USA representative thru 2005 – 17 years in all, longer than any other member.
As a business woman, June ran the family Steel Tubing Business warehouse in Hollywood, Florida for 20 years following her husband’s stroke.
June is truly a tribute to the Hall of Fame Dames and to swimming as an administrator, volunteer, competitor, pioneer and friend.
Marjorie "Marge" Counsilman
The International Swimming Hall of Fame Grande Dame is a woman who has been involved in swimming for a long period of time in her life. She is seen as a mom, a helper, an organizer, a promoter, a worker, a teacher, an authority, a friend, an enthusiast, and a counselor. She conducts herself with pride and a sense of humbleness. Marge Counsilman fits every one of these qualities and more.
ISHOF Grand Dames have been city mayors, Olympic champions, water show performers, presidents of organizations, event coordinators, coaches, chaperones, and volunteers. Marge has been a business coordinator, bookkeeper, proofreader, student, restaurateur and a swimming coach’s wife, mother of four kids, and housewife.
When Marge married James E. Counsilman in 1945, she married into swimming at the same time. Jim soon received a doctorate degree (hence the name “Doc”) in exercise physiology at the University of Iowa and became the first person to study, research and apply scientific principles of physiology to swimming mechanics, training and technique. He wrote books on the subject, invented training equipment specific to swimming, developed training and stroke films and coached swimmers from beginners to Olympic champions. In every step of the way, Marge consoled, assisted and supported Doc’s work and became as important to Doc’s success as Doc himself. In so doing, swimming and swimmers benefited from Marge Counsilman’s over 60-year partnership with Doc.
In the 33 years Doc was coach of the Indiana University Swimming Team, Marge was an important part of the overall success of the team. She was the team’s surrogate mother. She was a source of emotional stability during a swimmer’s tumultuous time of competitive swimming. She hosted dinners and gatherings at her home and became famous for her homemade lasagna. She ran the swim meets, including the Indiana State Championships, staffed the scoring table and kept the records. If Doc was away, Marge took over. “Little did an Indiana swimmer know that when he joined the IU swim team, he was also joining a family,” said IU diving coach, Hobie Billingsley.
Marge ran the 16mm stroke film and pace clock business from 1959 when the first pace clock was sold until 1974 when the business became incorporated. At that time, she became secretary-treasurer of Counsilman Company until the corporation dissolved in 1990. The company also sold isokenetic machines – accommodating resistance equipment.
In the five books the Counsilmans published, Doc wrote the technical matter and Marge wrote the text including choice of words, use of commas, semicolons and dangling participles. Books include The Complete Book of Swimming, The Competitive Swimming Manual for Coaches and Swimmers, Beginning Skin & Scuba Diving, and The Science of Swimming. They were published in 28 languages. From 1977 to 1991, Marge also helped to run the Counsilman Stroke Camp.
Between family, team and businesses, Marge’s life was always extremely busy, but always fun. From 1994 to 2001, she owned a restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana and staffed it with her kids. Marge did everything from scrubbing the floors and cleaning the ovens to keeping the books. She didn’t make any money because she gave away too many meals to friends.
When Doc was elected as the first president of the Swimming Hall of Fame beginning in 1964, Marge was right there to assist and provide advice. Marge supported the Hall of Fame Dames with her membership in those early days.
For the past three years, Marge has been taking courses toward an undergraduate degree in English, with a creative writing emphasis. “I should live so long,” says Marge.
Geraldine "Jeri" Athey
Geraldine Farrar Johnston, known affectionately to everyone as Jeri, was born on July 5th , 1923 in Sumner County, Tennessee. In 1934, the family moved to Florida due to her father’s ill health. While attending Titusville Jr. High School, Jeri learned to dive from a wooden platform, the WPA built in the Yacht Basin. But there were no organized swimming and diving competitions at that time in her area of Florida.
Following her father’s death in 1941, the family moved back to Tennessee, and Jeri spent the next 20 years living in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and northern Florida where her new husband Roy was attending school in Gainesville. Three daughters, Laura Lee, April and Robin were born. But it was back in Ohio at the Brentwood Bath and Tennis Club near the University of Cincinnati that Jeri became involved with swimming and diving. Daughter Laura Lee had become a Greater Cincinnati champion diver.
In 1961, Pratt & Whitney transferred Roy to Cape Canaveral and Laura Lee immediately joined the Howard Park Swim Association where she was coached by several diving coaches including Jerry Lang, Ben York, Dick Morris, Wally Colbath, Al Coffey and Neal Allen. The problem was, none of them were around consistently. Jeri began acquiring all films and books on diving and Roy would apply his metallurgical engineering background with the laws of physics to each step of the dive. What became an effort to help her daughter turned into a passion, teaching the basics of springboard diving to any young diver wanting coaching.
For almost three decades, Jeri coached diving throughout Palm Beach County. She coached at the high schools of Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Cardinal Newman, North Shore and Forest Hill, developing state champions and finalists. Also included were the North Palm Beach Diving Team (her chartered team) and other academies and schools including St. Andrews of Boca Raton.
From 1961 to 1987, Jeri served the Florida Gold Coast A.A.U. as Senior Women’s Diving Chairman, Vice President, President, Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman of Registration and Junior Olympic Diving. Nationally, she has served on Rules, Finance (Chairman) and Hospitality Committees. She was a delegate to all A.A.U. and U.S. Diving National Conventions.
She was also Acting Secretary to National Chairmen at early meetings and was elected Co-Chairman of the National Junior Olympics Committee. She ran the scoring and entries table at the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s International Diving Meet for many years and helped with the Ted Keller Annual Age-Group Diving Meet at the Hall of Fame. She was coach/manager of U.S. age-group teams competing in Winnipeg, Canada (1977), Stuttgart, Germany (1979) and the National Sports Festival (1981) in Syracuse, New York.
In 1966, Jeri joined the International Swimming Hall of Fame Dames and was an active member for over 25 years. She served as Secretary and worked on all fundraising events of the group. She was a longtime member of the ISHOF Board of Directors that later became the ISHOF Congress. She never passed up a local television sports appearance without being dressed in the ISHOF Dames uniform to advertise the ISHOF International Diving Meets.
Jeri truly represents volunteerism. She does it with enthusiasm, dedication and with a warm feeling that attracts people to her and makes it comfortable to be around her. Jeri Athey – ISHOF’s Grand Dame is a comfort to us all.
Linda Gill joins an illustrious group of International Swimming Hall of Fame Grande Dames. She has been one of the strongest voices in support of the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1964. She personifies the elegance and grace of a woman who has made the Fort Lauderdale Beach her home.
A Fort Lauderdale native, born at Broward General Hospital, Linda spent time romping on the beach and swimming at the old salt water Casino Pool located on the beach in what is now Alexander Park, east of the Hall of Fame. Her father, Bob Gill, was owner of Gill Construction which built over 3, 000 homes in Fort Lauderdale in the mid-1940’s. In 1948 his attention shifted to the hotel industry where he focused on building several of the beach area’s historical and landmark hotels. Among them were the 100 room, The Escape (now the Tiffany House on Rio Mar) which was the first hotel with a swimming pool. The Jolly Roger Hotel (now the Ramada Inn Sea Club) was the first hotel on the beach to have air conditioning. The Gill hotels were the first to be open year-round. The success of the hotels was bolstered in 1956 when NBC broadcast its noon and evening news from a studio on the seventh floor of the Yankee Clipper. National television continued to promote Fort Lauderdale Beach nine years later at the newly constructed International Swimming Hall of Fame which has had major network and cable television sports program coverage almost every year since that first CBS Sports Spectacular broadcast with Jack Whitaker at the 1965 Hall of Fame Grand Opening.
All the while, Linda never envisioned herself working alongside her father. She chose psychology as her major at the University of Florida, but her summer back in Fort Lauderdale would find her perched at the desk of one of the Gill’s two signature hotels: the Sheraton Yankee Clipper or the Sheraton Yankee Trader on Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront. When she entered Florida International University for post-graduate work, it was hospitality, not psychology, that had become her passion. She worked entry-level positions at the hotels and then worked for four years with an independent CPA, C. Vernon Kane, while attending Florida Atlantic University for postgraduate work in accounting and finance. She returned to Gill Hotels and assumed her current position as Vice President operating 960 rooms in the two hotels.
Linda has been employed in the Hospitality and Tourism industry since 1975, but her friendly demeanor and goodwill have been an icon for Fort Lauderdale tourism much longer than that. She has served on almost every tourism, lodging and hospitality affiliation in the area and has received numerous community awards. In 1991, she was the City of Fort Lauderdale Citizen of the Year.
Linda is determined to make a difference in the area and fights for what will help the community. In her quest to promote the area as a tourist destination, she helps every institution in the area. She has certainly helped and supported the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Betty Philcox Voss
The joy that Betty Philcox Voss brings to those around her is astonishing. As a person she is both inspiring and persistent; as a woman she has accepted challenges and assignments normally taken by men. As an ISHOF Grande Dame she is untouchable.
Born on May 15, 1908, Betty grew up on the shores of Connecticut, swimming three times a day in the bay not far from her grandfather’s ship building yard at Gregory Point. Gertrude Ederle became her childhood hero when Ederle swam the English Channel in 1926 as the first woman to make the crossing. Betty wanted to do it, too. She started by becoming the first woman to swim from shore to Peck’s Ledge Lighthouse and back in 2½ hours, a long swim for the 1920s. Although she never made the trip to the Channel, she did accomplish many firsts for a woman of her time. Fortunately for us, she stayed in swimming.
When Betty’s daughter turned 8 she, like her mom, wanted to swim too. But with no swim team, there was nowhere to go. Betty stepped in and in 1942 started the Norwalk YMCA Girls Swim Team, where she coached for the next 42 years, 35 of them as a volunteer. “I was more interested in working with the girls than the money,” she said. It started competitive swimming for girls in Connecticut. The “Y” team won many local and regional competitions and place high in the National YMCA Championships at the Hall of Fame Pool for many years.
Because Norwalk only had a small, 20-yard pool, Betty’s husband Stan Philcox, a carpenter by trade, built a 50-yard bulkhead pool in the lagoon behind their home. During the summer months, it became the place to swim and train in the area. Betty became the girls’ coach for the Norwalk High School swim team and age group coach for 10 all-star teams traveling to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Virginia and New Mexico. Her 5-year high school record was 37 wins – 7 losses. During that time, she attended and officiated at all AAU and USS national swimming championships from 1947 to 1984, including 10 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
But Betty’s contribution to the sport did not stop on the pool deck. She became the first woman president of an AAU Association – Connecticut Association. She served on many National AAU committees including the Women’s Swimming Committee, Progress Award Committee (Chairman), Swimming Rules Committee (23 years), Olympic Women’s Swimming and Diving Committee (12 years) and the Executive and Foreign Relations Committee consisting of Betty and 44 men. For 5 years, she served as chairman of the prestigious National AAU Sullivan Award Committee which selects the top amateur athlete in the United States. She also served as Chairperson of the U.S. Swimming Region I Committee and was a member of the U.S. Swimming Board of Directors.
She traveled as team manager with U.S. National swimmers to Australia, Peru, Venezuela, Soviet Union, Jamaica, Trinidad, Uruguay and Germany. In 1964, she was the U.S. Olympic team manager and chaperone of the women’s swimming and diving team in Tokyo, Japan. Four years later in Mexico City she was the U.S. representative as official timer for the 1968 Olympic swimming events.
Betty has received almost every award at the local level including Connecticut State High School Coach of the Year; as well as on the national level winning the Ken Pettigrew Award for officiating. The Betty Philcox Award is presented annually in her home state to the top female high school swimmer and to the Norwalk City champion.
Betty has been a Life Member of ISHOF since its inception and her lifetime of support and volunteerism to swimming exemplify the characteristics of a Hall of Fame Grande Dame. Her 93 years of active participation in the sport will remain a mainstay in the swimming community.
Jean Brattain and Connie Sessions
A pair is a pair is a pair. And they are a pair. In synchronized swimming, it’s a duet; in diving, it’s synchronized diving; in water polo, they are the forward and goalie; and, in swimming, they tie for the gold medal.
As the International Swimming Hall of Fame Grand Dames, they are inseparable in service, volunteerism, grace and commitment for which the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Dames stand. Jean Brattain and Connie Sessions both emulate the posture of Grande Dame.
Connie had her beginning in San Francisco. She and sister Vicki started swimming at the famed Fleishhacker Pool. Connie was a self-taught swimmer, but persistent. She was a Girl Scout who later hung around the Crystal Plunge Pool with swimmer Ann Curtis and Coach Charlie Sava. Sava said Connie was a beautiful swimmer but would never have any speed. Over the next few years, she proved him right because she became a beautiful water show acrobatic swimmer. By 1949 she was performing in the Larry Crosby Water Show at Soldier Field in Chicago and then the next year traveled with the Buster Crabbe Aquacades, a tour that began in New Haven, Connecticut and stopped in selected cities west to Los Angeles. Her twin sister Vicki also excelled winning the platform and springboard gold medals at the 1948 London Olympic Games. Connie ended up marrying a swimmer friend and Vicki married her coach, Hall of Famer Lyle Draves. Connie moved to Florida and raised a family. When her young daughter needed swimming lessons for water safety sake, Connie did the teaching and then continued her work in teaching water safety as an instructor for the American Red Cross including teaching survival swimming to infants 15 months to preschool age.
Jean’s years of volunteer service began in her home state of Ohio where she was a leader in the Scouting movement in both the Brownies and Girl Scouts. Her husband was in the retail lumber business and following World War II, the family moved from place to place to meet the lumber demand. First in Lebanon, Ohio, she helped to integrate an all black troop at a time in the 1940’s when that was uncommon. She loved the out-of-doors and after moving to Wellston, Ohio, she took charge of the local 4-H Club, taking the kids on overnight camping trips. After her children had grown, she and her husband of 59 years, Harold, moved to Hollywood, Florida (1981), where she became a member of the Hall of Fame Dames. She also works as Alice Kempthorne’s assistant in keeping of the records for the Florida Gold Coast of USA Swimming.
Jean and Connie can often be found on the pool deck during the College Coaches Swim Forum each winter, on the Fort Lauderdale Beach during the Ocean Mile Swim, serving meals at various ISHOF receptions and events and giving tours to young school children and senior adults in the ISHOF Museum and Exhibit building. They are often spotted in their blue and white Dames uniforms meeting buses of youngsters or senior citizens. As museum guides, they have found creative ways to appeal to each group’s specific interests, whether it be selecting age-appropriate films for the kids or providing medals and trophies for blind children to feel and study. Over the years, both Connie and Jean have served as President of the Dames as well as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Jean has served on the Library Advisory Committee of the Henning Library helping to set policy and performing duties of assistance in library function.
Connie is the mother of four daughters and four grandchildren. Jean is mother to her son and daughter, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Both are family oriented individuals whose values of character, thoughtfulness and helpfulness flow over in to their associations with everyone connected to ISHOF.
They are both Grand Dames of inseparable quality.
Ever since moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1968, The Hall of Fame Dames have been a special part of Sherrill Nelson’s life in and around aquatics. Her volunteer service has been outstanding, culminating as President of the Dames during her busy schedule.
While growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Sherrill learned to swim in Hall of Famer Dave Robertson’s program at New Trier High School in Wilmette, Illinois. She did some synchronized swimming and, for a time, swam at the Town Club in Chicago under the direction of another Hall of Fame coach, the renowned Walt Schlueter. During high school she was a lifeguard and taught swimming at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club.
Sherrill moved to Connecticut where she taught and coached the tadpoles and minnows at the New Canaan YMCA for 6 years. In 1968 she moved to Florida with her first husband, three children and pregnant with her fourth child. The children began swimming at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale and Sherrill started coaching and teaching for Hall of Fame coach, Jack Nelson. Sherrill and Jack were married in 1973.
Her mentor and best friend in swimming became Alice Kempthorne, The Hall of Fame’s Grand Dame of 1998. Under Alice’s and Jack’s wings, Sherrill traveled with and managed many AAU, USS and USA swimming teams. Her first AAU national championship meet was held in Louisville, Kentucky with world record holder Andy Coan. Her first international meet to Japan was with Head Manager Alice Kempthorne. Even though Sherrill was not an official manager, Alice welcomed her as an unofficial part of the staff. Sherrill has been Assistant Manager to two World Championship Meets in Australia, (1991, 1998) and Head Manager for two Pan American Games swimming teams in Caracas and Indianapolis, (1983, 1987). She has taken teams to Brazil, Canada, Barcelona and Mallorca, Spain, Monte Carlo, France, Mexico, Denmark, New Zealand, Italy, Sweden and her favorite place of all, Bermuda. She has been a local, national and international meet director for the past 20 years. She was Secretary of the Florida Gold Coast local swimming association, Chairman of United States Swimming’s Scholastic All American Committee, and has served on the Awards Committee for many years. Women In Swimming honored her in 1998 at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention.
Sherrrill is known throughout the aquatics world as an efficient hard worker from beginning to end. She has filled the many roles of mother, friend, director, manager, administrator and the hardest job of all, Coach’s wife.
Since the inception of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Dames in 1965, Alice Kempthorne has been part of the action. For over 33 years she has served the Dames, ISHOF’s volunteer auxiliary women’s group, as either president, secretary, or treasurer, and member. She has been one of the catalysts to provide the services to ISHOF which the Dames have gratefully contributed over the years.
But her involvement in swimming goes far beyond her commitment to ISHOF. Since 1963, she has been involved in the aquatic sports both nationally and locally with the Amateur Athletic Union and then United States Swimming.
On the national scene, she has been involved in the planning, organizing and managing of the overall swimming program within the United States. She has served on the USS Registration, Legislation and Swim-A-Thon Committees. She served as secretary of the Age Group Rules Committee as well as an alternate member of the Olympic International Division. She was chairman and coordinator of the USS Phillips 66 Reimbursement. She has attended every United States Aquatic Sports Convention since the inception of USAS in 1977. She has served many years as a National Championship official both on and off the pool deck as Clerk of Course, Turn Judge, Ready Room Supervisor and Administrator. In 1993, United States Swimming presented her with the Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award for her untiring service and dedicated volunteerism as a meet official.
In working with the athletes, she has been the team manager of National, International, World and Student Games Teams including trips to Germany, Romania, Russia, Columbia, Argentina, Great Britain, Mexico and Japan. She served three times as the Olympic Festival head manager, her teams winning twice. In 1995, she was the assistant team leader of the Pan American Swimming Team that competed in Argentina.
On the local level, Alice has been the mainstream of Florida Gold Coast Swimming, LSC, for over 30 years. She has served as the Age Group Chairman, Registration and Membership Chairman, Records Chairman and the Official Verification Certification Chairman. She has been on the Finance, Planning and Officials Club Committees, treasurer of Florida Gold Coast Swimming and the Rule book editor. She has been a member of the Florida Gold Coast Executive Committee and the present Board of Directors. Alice Kempthorne is the first name that comes to mind when information or help is needed from an athlete or coach within the Florida Gold Coast. She is the “river of information” that flows through the organization.
But Alice’s volunteer work does not stop there. She serves other organizations such as the American Heart Association (fundraiser), the Republican Party, the Orange Bowl Committee and University of Miami Hurricane Club.
Alice’s commitment to ISHOF continues to grow. Besides having served as Chairman of the International Relations Committee, she continues to serve as Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Among her many other contributions, she helped to organize the first of the YMCA Nationals to be held at the Hall of Fame pool in the early 1970s.
Alice’s sense of humor, her distinct laugh and her ability to see the job through, have distinguished her as a revered member of the aquatics community and a friend to all. She and her late husband, Dick, were always on hand, to lend a hand. Alice stands tall as the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s and the International Swimming Hall of Fame Dames’, Grande Dame.