Lyle Draves (USA)
Honor Coach (1989)
FOR THE RECORD: Lyle Draves was the first pure diving coach developing 3 Olympic Champions: Vicki Manalo Draves (his wife), Pat McCormick, Sue Gossick. Vicki was the 1st woman to win the Platform and Springboard at the same Olympics (1948). McCormick followed by becoming the first double, double Olympic gold winner (1952, 1956). Gossick won the Springboard in 1968. Draves coached female divers to 12 Olympic medals and 35 National Championships. His Olympic silver medalists include Paula Jean Myers and Zoe Ann Olsen, each of whom took a bronze. His divers Olympic medal count reads 7 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.
Lyle Draves was America’s first great diving coach beginning an era when diving coaches could specialize in divers and not coach swimmers too, or vice versa. He was a Hollywood film editor and his show biz background has helped his coaching or again, vice versa since Draves was diving in and then producing, top rated diving water shows before he became a film editor.
An Iowa farm boy, Draves met Fred Cady at a swimming meet in Iowa. Fred invited him to California where Lyle began coaching divers at the Lido Club at the famed Ambassador Hotel and at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. One of his first pupils was a 12 year old girl named Zoe Ann Olsen. Next, they both moved to the Athens Athletic Club in Oakland where he met Vicki Manalo. He later married Vicki, who was given away by 1948 and 1952 platform winner, Sammy Lee. Vicki and Zoe Ann took first and second off the springboard in the 1948 London Olympics. Vicki became the first woman diver ever to win gold medals in both tower and springboard at the same Olympics, narrowly beating Zoe Ann on her last springboard dive. After the Olympics, Vicki and Lyle toured the United States and Europe with Buster Crabbe and Dick Smith.
They quit barnstorming to raise 4 boys, all divers. Lyle returned to his coaching, first at tennis champion Jack Kramer’s Athletic Club and then at UCLA. His Olympic medal winning divers, in addition to Vicki and Zoe Ann, include Hall of Famers Pat McCormick, Sue Gossick, and Paula Jean Myers. The Draves boys are Acapulco and World Champion high divers who have followed the show biz side of their father’s heritage doing high and trick dives in such places a Magic Mountain, Sea World and Marineland.