View Full Version : Ron Johnson

August 8th, 2009, 04:25 PM
I took a look and didn't see anything about this, please delete/merge if this is a duplicate thread.

Just checked my email and saw this from our coach:

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Ron Johnson. Ron Johnson passed away suddenly on Friday evening. We will share funeral service and other details as we get them. Please keep Ron and his family in your thoughts.

I saw Ron not long ago, swimming at the ASU Mona Plummer pool, just before a noon workout. He looked as good as ever.

I'll certainly never forget my first workout with Sun Devil Masters. Ron was in the pool, doing 1-1 coaching, while the other coach was up on deck giving the workout. He will certainly be missed.

August 8th, 2009, 04:36 PM
I'm fairly new to the swim world so wasn't familiar with him, but I saw this article about Ron Johnson on the masters Website, from a while ago:


It's funny (as in odd but somehow reassuring) that the article mentions heaven and what swimmers do up there.

Allen Stark
August 8th, 2009, 04:41 PM
That is so sad.He was a great man and a good man.He will be missed.

August 8th, 2009, 04:41 PM
Very sad. Ron was a great guy.

August 8th, 2009, 05:52 PM
swim info story (http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/22012.asp?q=Passages:%20International%20Masters%20 Swimming%20Hall%20of%20Famer%20Ron%20Johnson)

here's a YouTube - Rascal Flatts - Why

August 8th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Ron will forever remain an icon of swimming in so many ways. My prayerful thoughts go out to his family and the AZ swimming community who knows him best.

August 11th, 2009, 12:48 PM
Very sad to hear. A great guy for sure.

Frank Thompson
August 14th, 2009, 07:27 PM
I was thinking about Ron Johnson today with the memorial service tomorrow. I met Ron in December of 1985 when I was out visiting relatives in the Phoenix/Tempe area around the holidays. I went over to the ASU Plummer pool and was hoping to swim because I could not make the masters practice later that day. Tim Hill, who was one of the coaches at the time told me to come to the pool and he would let me in for a swim. When I got there, nobody was there except Ron Johnson and he had swimmers coming in for workout. I was going to leave but he let me swim with his swimmers in workout. I told him I was in USMS and he said it was a great program and someday he was going to get in that program. He was very nice to let me swim that day.

Many years later when he started swimming masters and doing quite well I might add, I became acquainted with him on the USMS Coaches Committee. We were on a couple of sub committees together and he brought such a great attitude and enthusiasm to everything that was worked on. He was very knowledgeable and helpful to our committee. He also was very supportive of USMS back when a lot of NCAA and Club Coaches were not.

I had known about Ron years before I worked with him and knew of his reputation as one of the great college coaches. I knew he won two NAIA College Championships for Women before the NCAA got started for Women and knew he coached the Mexican Olympic team in 1968 as the host country Olympics. He also coached and trained Felipe Munoz to a gold medal in the 200 Breast and to this day its the only gold medal Mexico has ever won in swimming.

Many people including myself consider his race as the greatest upset ever in Olympic swimming competition in an individual event. It ranks up there with Hyman, Sieben, and Armstrong but these swimmers were World ranked at the time and Munoz was not. I remember he was 17 at the time and was born in the same year as me. I remember seeing the race on TV and Munoz was 4th on the last turn and swam past 3 guys as the home crowd went crazy. Ron Johnson must have been very proud of that moment.

I know a lot of masters swimmers will be at the service tomorrow and I want them to know that swimmers back east will be thinking about him.

Michael Heather
August 14th, 2009, 09:40 PM
I first met Ron in the fall of 1975 as a swimmer at ASU. He had been hired as an interim coach after the sudden retirement of Walt Schleuter. Ron was then, and continued to be as long as I knew him, a gentleman and scholar of swimming. He always had a quick smile and interesting stories. I cannot remember him ever cursing aloud, although in those days I gave him every reason to do so. He got into the pool and played water polo with us and ran on the same course we did for our cross training workouts.

I was stunned and saddened to hear of his passing and am sorry not to be able to attend the memorial, as is my co-captain and roommate in college, Scott Townsend.

Ron is no longer with us, but the impact of his life will be felt for a very long time by those of us who knew him and those yet to start swimming.