Paragon Awards                           Presented By

Terry Sayring (USA)


2017 Paragon Award / Water Polo


Rarely does your roommate change or mold the course of your life, but in the early 1960’s, that’s exactly what happened to Terry Sayring. The Terre Haute, Indiana native started officiating water polo in 1963 and has officiated over 6,000 games and 105 international matches.


Sayring first became involved in water polo when, upon being discharged from the Marine Corp in California, he moved in with two Olympic water polo players from El Segundo. They eventually introduced him to water polo innovator and Olympic Coach, Uhro Saari, who got Terry involved in officiating in 1963. The rest, as they say is water polo history.


Terry Sayring has been involved in water polo on almost every level. He has officiated events including the FINA World Championships, the FINA World Cup, FINA Jr. World Championships, Pan American Games, NCAA Championships and the AAU Championships. In 1969, Sayring founded the Southern California Aquatics Federation which is the water polo referee association. He was the manager of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams, as well as two Pan American teams, and the competition manager for the 1996 Olympic Games. Sayring was the tournament director for the Women’s FINA Cup, Junior Worlds and was a member of the ASUA Technical Committee for 12 years. In 1995, he was presented the FINA Silver Pin.


In addition to water polo, Sayring’s other passion has been genealogy. Over the past 30 years, he has been able to trace his ancestors back to 2700 BC, including the Mayflower, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. This helped with his next project: The American Water Polo Foundation, a non-profit 401C, that collects memorabilia and researches the history of USA Water Polo back to 1875. The foundation has collected information on the Men’s Olympic Teams from 1904 to the present and the Women’s Olympic Team from the 2000 Olympics to the present. Sayring has been a Life Member of United States Water Polo since 1978, and secretary of the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame for 25 years. He was elected into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1986 and received the USA Water Polo Award in 1988, the organization’s highest honor.


In 2015, he founded American Water Polo Collections, Inc., a California non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of water polo in America. Terry is currently supervisor of water polo officials for the Big West Conference and a member of the National Evaluators Committee. He has been married for 56 years with three daughters, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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