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ISHOF Service Award

2011 John Spannuth


For the past twelve months, John Spannuth has been organizing and formalizing advisory committees for the International Swimming Hall of Fame whose purposes are to serve and offer suggestions and improvements to ISHOF operations. With the help of his associate Marion Frega, John has formed 13 committees which include: Adapted Aquatics, Aquatic Programs for Wounded Warriors, Every Child a Swimmer, Education, Fund Raising (includes Special Events), Future Visions, Honoree Alumni Committee, Library, Museum (includes Memorabilia, Public Relations, Security, International, and Constitution and By-Laws.


He has played an active role on each committee by choosing each committee’s chairperson and helping to organize an agenda.


John has been associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame from its first year in 1965. He has been involved in aquatics for over 50 years in many capacities, currently as CEO of United States Water Fitness Association.


From his first, full-time job in aquatics in 1956 as Aquatics Director of Reading, PA, YMCA, he has developed outstanding programs. He has been the Aquatics Director and Head Swimming coach for Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma where in seven years he developed one of the best age group swim teams in the country. He was the National Aquatics Administrator for the AAU where, on a national level, he guided all four disciplines plus long distance and Masters swimming. He was the International Director of the Special Olympics in Washington D.C. where he guided the growth of Special Olympics for Eunice Shriver and helped to build it into an internationally recognized program for persons with mental disabilities. He served four years in the Middle East as Aquatics, Sports and Recreation Administrator in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while teaching swimming on all levels, including competitive swimming, to native children of the region.


John, is the creator and founder of many innovative programs and conferences including: The World Swimming Coaches Clinic 1969, which has grown into the largest international coaches conferences in the world and is run by the American Swimming Coaches Association; Masters Swimming (1970) where he implemented Ransom Arthur’s ideas and decrees to begin a competitive fitness program for adults; Masters Synchronized Swimming (1975); National YMCA Masters Aquatics Championship (1976); Water Walking as a program (1986), which began a water fitness program for individuals who were not great swimmers or who needed water therapy work; National Aquatics Director Certification (1996); National Programs Awards (recognizing the top programs in the country), Top Water Fitness Programs (1990), Top Aquatic Programs (1997); Who’s Who in the Country Aquatics(1997) and Water Exercise (1998); and National and State leadership Awards (1990)


Other national leadership positions have included: Chairperson of the 1998 National Aquatics Summit; President of the American Swimming Coaches Association; Member of the Board of Directors, International Swimming Hall of Fame; NRPA Aquatics Council; Charter member of the AAHPERD Aquatics Council (1968); Chairperson of the National Forum for the Advancement Of Aquatics; Advisory Board, Disability International Foundation.


He has lectured extensively in Egypt, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, Germany and throughout the United States at conferences for over 20 organizations. As the CEO of U. S. Water Fitness, Inc. he has set the guidelines which have developed this organization to be the authority in developing and maintaining standards from which to teach water aerobics and fitness on a recreational level. Our thanks go out to John for his dedication to ISHOF and his commitment toward keeping it strong.

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