On this day in 1914, Honor Contributor, R. Jackson Smith was born…


R. JACKSON SMITH (USA) 1983 Honor Contributor

FOR THE RECORD:  USA representative to FINA, International Diving Committee, 1952-1972 and 1976-1984, Committee Chairman 1968-1972; Chairman Men’s National AAU diving committee 1948-1963; member U.S. Olympic Diving Committee 1960-1984; Founder and meet director ISHOF/USA International Diving Meet, Fort lauderdale, 1970-1980; Referee or judge of diving at Rome, Tokyo, Mexico, Munich Olympics and at 1978 and 1982 FINA World Aquatic Games; As diver, 3rd in AAU Nationals 1943; Consulting architect on ISHOF, Montreal Olympic diving pools, Columbia, Ohio State, Florida university pools, U.S. Naval Academy and Dartmouth pools.

R. Jackson Smith, known as either Jack or Jackson to his contemporaries, and “R.J.” to the younger generation, is literally the architectural prototype of everything a Hall of Fame diving Contributor should be.  

Born in Columbus, Ohio, he grew up as a diver under the ultimate diving coach, Mike Peppe.  He went to Dartmouth, and was captain of the 1936 swimming team.  In WWII, he served on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, where duty would have made it impractical for him to try out for the war-cancelled  ’44 Olympics.  

As a Yale architectural graduate, he specialized in the planning school, college and sports facilities.  Jackson served on U.S.A. and International Diving Committees doing everything from re-writing rules to modernizing facilities and simplifying judging and entry forms  His roles at Olympic, World and International Games ranged from referee to judge, announcer, meet organizer and director.  He designed the logo for U.S. Diving and U.S. National Championship diving medal, ironically one of the few awards he has not won.  

R. Jackson Smith has been USA’s leading diplomat in all matters pertaining to International Diving, and is the first and only diver to receive the prestigious U.S. Aquatics (AAU) Award.  He is also the recipient of the Mike Malone Diving Award and CNCA Award for outstanding contributions to aquatics.

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