Established in 1994 by the Adaptive Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame this award honors an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adaptive aquatics (aquatics for persons with disabilities) as a participant, athlete, teacher, instructor, coach, organizer, administrator or media representative.

Julia Meno


Julia Meno has a profound love and respect for the power of water as a healing instrument.

Ruth Meyer (USA)


Meyer continued her education at University of Toledo where adapted aquatics and aquatic therapy were part of the Kinesiotherapy curriculum.

Kathy Bateman (USA)


Kathy Bateman has been an advocate for adapted aquatics for many years.

Igor Burdenko (USA)


After being wounded five times in the leg, arm, back, stomach, and shoulder, his father was unable to work. There were no wheelchairs available, few pharmacies with medications, and limited access to doctors.

Henry Powell - USA


Henry Powell began his lifelong career in adapted aquatics in the city of San Diego, where he worked for 43 years.

Dr. Sam Britten - Cal Northridge


Dr. Sam Britten is internationally respected in his field and is one of the most beloved individuals on the Cal State Northridge campus, where he taught for 44 years (1959-2003).

Marnie Young


Marnie Young has been a leader in the adapted aquatics arena, as well as in other types of aquatic programs, including diving, for most of her life.

José Luis Vaquero Benito


José Luis Vaquero has been teaching swimming for over thirty years, twenty-five of which have been dedicated to training and working with people with disabilities, particularly those who are blind or visually impaired.

Peter Aufsesser, Ph.D.


Peter Aufsesser grew up and obtained his education on the east coast of the United States, but did most of his adapted aquatics work at San Diego State University on the West Coast of the US. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education at Springfield College (1969)

Bruce Becker, M.D., M.S.


For the past 30 years, Dr. Bruce E. Becker has been studying the effects of the water and aquatic activities on people with disabilities, athletes and people recovering from injuries and aliments.

Ruth Ann Hood Wieser, Ph.D.


Dr. Ann Wieser is recognized for her contributions to aquatic therapy and rehabilitation and to adapted aquatics.

Susan J. Grosse


Generations of students at F.J. Gaenslen Orthopedic School in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Public School System are glad that Sue Grosse taught at their school.

Dr. Christine Stopka


When it comes to educating and preparing individuals to teach and work in the field of adapted aquatics, Dr. Christine Stopka is the teacher of teachers.

Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D.


Dr. Mary Wykle knows the benefits of using water for rehabilitative and therapy purposes.

Phillip Conatser


For almost 20 years, Phillip Conatser has worked to advance the field of Adapted Aquatics through his teachings, publications, presentations and research.

John Spannuth


For almost 50 years John Spannuth has been a leader and innovator in almost every field of aquatics, including Adapted Aquatics, working with and developing programs for persons with disabilities.

Dori Maxon


Dori Maxon PT, PCS, MEd is a physical therapist recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association as a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy (1996).

Elizabeth “Libby” Andersen


Elizabeth “Libby” Andersen is the consummate professional whose interests vary from swimming programs for a variety of different types of individuals to fitness programs for all types of individuals.

Anne Green


Anne Green has done much to nurture disability swimming programs throughout the world.

Monica Lepore


Monica Lepore is a professor who teaches Kinesiology and Special Education majors at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Uri Bergman


Over a distinguished career spanning more than thirty years in adaptive aquatics, Uri Bergman has contributed in virtually all areas basic to the award.

Dr. Julian U. Stein


Dr. Julian U. Stein is considered by many to be the father of adapted physical education in the United States, Dr. Stein is a retired university professor from George Mason University in Virginia.

Mary Essert (El Cerrito, CA)


Mary Essert is the founder of Mary Essert and Associates, maker of many videos and tapes on water fitness, founder of "Move It or Lose It" and active with Grace Reynolds at the YMCA.

Ruth Sova (Port Washington, WI)


Ruth Sova is founder of the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) and the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab. Institution. She is a well-known entrepreneur and speaker around the world.

Louise Priest (Indianapolis, IN)


Louise Priest is the mother of adaptive aquatics. She wrote the Red Cross aquatic materials and is now Director of Communications with the Jeff Ellis Organization.

Grace Reynolds (Longview, WA)


Grace Reynolds was head of "Swimming for Special Populations" for the national YMCA for years and head of "Project Aquatics" and "Project Aquatics Mainstreaming". She is founder/president of Disability International Foundation (DIF).

John K. Williams, Jr. (San Diego, CA)


John K. Williams, Jr. graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. degree in Therapeutic Recreation and is now an aquatic consultant. Speaker at numerous workshops on Adaptive Aquatics, he spends his summers working at Camp Able.