Paragon Awards                           Presented By

The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems,  are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.

Joy Cushman

2005 Paragon Award / Synchronized Swimming

oy has participated in synchronized swimming ever since the days it was called water ballet, more than 65 years ago.  She was her high school swim team captain, but performed water shows each year of 1939, '40 and '41.  After the AAU officially recognized synchronized swimming in 1946, she became the Texas solo, duet and team champion (1948-1962).  Joy coached the Shamrock Corkettes for more than 30 years.


But her most recognized international contribution to the sport is as an administrator, promoter and official.  She was the first Synchronized Swimming official to serve in any USOC position - chief woman administrator for the 1972 Summer and Winter Olympics, the 1971 Pan American Games and the 1968-1972 quadrennial.

Achieving International Technical Official status in 1990, she has served as the chief official at 13 international championships (1991-1994) when only one team official was allotted for Synchro.  She was the coach and manager of the U.S. team at the 1959 and 1963 Pan American Games and manager of the 1975 Pan American Games team when Kay Villen was coach.  Her Pan Am experience led her to a charter position and member of ASUA for many years, four of them as chairperson of the Synchro Technical Committee.


She worked closely with FINA Presidents Ostos and Henning to get Synchro in the Pan AM Games and eventually the Olympic Games.  Exhibitions were held at every Olympics from 1952 to 1984, when it became an official Olympic sport.


AS U.S. National Chairperson, Jr. Olympic competition was initiated, Age Group competition in 4 regions was begun, Sr. National qualifying scores were introduced, National Scoring Charts were printed, the All-American Awards point system was developed and ABC television coverage of the three national Championships was negotiated.  As a promoter of synchro world wide, she hosted Red Cross workshops in the 1950's, played a major role in the promotion of the sport in Mexico and south America hosting meets and clinics and developed the first Japanese-American dual meet and international tour in 1966.  She has conducted clinics in Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Austria, Canada and Mexico.  She has served as Chief Official at over 13 International Championships, including six Olympic Games, nine Pan Am Games and four World Championships.  She was 12 years on the FINA Technical Synchro Swimming Committee- eight as Vice Chairman (1960-68) and four as Honorary Secretary (1968-1972).  Among her many awards include the FINA Silver Pin and USSS Lillian MacKellar Distinguished Service Award.

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