How ISHOF Started and the History Behind it!
The timeline begins in 1928 with the City of Fort Lauderdale’s construction of the Casino pool (1928-1966) that once operated only 100 yards from today’s International Swimming Hall of Fame. The pool cost $150,000 to build and was filled twice a week with saltwater directly from the Atlantic Ocean.
Soon thereafter, the CSCAA had its first Coaches Forum in Fort Lauderdale. In 1937, the Forum expanded to include the Women’s National Aquatic Forum and attracted 44 colleges and universities, 28 prep schools, 28 clubs, and over 600 swimmers for holiday training. Fort Lauderdale soon became a hotbed for swimmers.
The College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) and its founding leaders for having the idea to approach the City of Fort Lauderdale back in the early 60’s to establish the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
CSCAA’s idea of creating a Swimming Hall of Fame became so strong, that in 1962 Mayor Burry of Fort Lauderdale, the entire city commission, 30 civic leaders, and even Florida’s Governor Farris all threw their support behind the idea. The Mayor went so far as to create a “Mayor’s Swimming Hall of Fame Citizen’s Committee”. Support was so overwhelming that the Amateur Athletic Union voted unanimously to select Fort Lauderdale as the first home for a Swimming Hall of Fame Fort over bids from Louisville and Houston at its annual convention on November 27, 1962 in Detroit.
The adjoining aquatic facility was completed in August of 1965 for $986,000. Three years later in 1968, the Swimming Hall of Fame Museum was dedicated for $295,000.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédérationi nternationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”. In 2018, Sports Publications Inc. publisher of Swimming World Magazine Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact. Today, ISHOF is the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.
Today, we find ourselves in the exact same partnership with equal optimism as the City of Fort Lauderdale and the International Swimming Hall of Fame have torn down the old museum in the back to make way for a new and exciting aquatic center.