View Full Version : Idols and Icons......

Bert Petersen
August 1st, 2002, 01:56 AM
When you were a kid, who was the person(s) you looked up to as the swimmer you wished you were. Or, who do you see as an older person you respect, swimmingly, right now?
I have a couple: Bill Yorzyck, Bob Proebsting, Wally Dobler.

Before I was a flyer, I can remember poring over swim magazines and loving to read about Lance Larson, Murray Rose, George Breen........

You got any ????

laura wright
August 1st, 2002, 07:35 AM
Shane Gould and Debbie Meyer were my idols!

Phil M.
August 1st, 2002, 09:43 AM
For me I have a couple of backstrokers. Roland Matthes: Arguably the greatest backstroker of all time and had an undefeated streak for seven years in the event. Set 16 world records from 1967 to 1973. Won both the 100m and 200m backstroke at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Won the 100m backstroke at both 1973 and 1975 world championships and won the 200m backstroke at the 1973 world championships.
The second being Mike Stamm the backstroker from IU. There was a swimmer from my High School, Duncan Scott, who went to IU and apparently occasionally wore my HS swimming T-shirt.(Westwood, Mesa, AZ) One summer I was at the San Diego Zoo wearing the same T-shirt and up came Mike Stamm inquiring how I happened upon Duncan's T-shirt. He made quite an impression on this HS freshman as he was more interested in me than himself. He was very encouraging and provided some great motivation.

August 1st, 2002, 08:14 PM
Shane Gould was one of the greatest. I think Shirley Babashoff was as good but the East Germans cheated with steriods. As for Debbie Meyer she was great for her day. Also, Lance Larson who lived in Orange County California was involved with the early days of masters swimming. He work out in 1972 with the senior group of Huntington Beach. There were no or few master clubs then. I admired Gary Hall Sr since he was not only a good swimmer but was nice.

August 2nd, 2002, 10:58 PM
As an age group swimmer, I admired Gail Amundrud. (WHO? all you Americans will say...) She was one of the first, if not the first, Canadian women who went under a minute for 100 LCM free. She competed in the 76 Olympics in Montreal, unfortunately doing better in the heats than in the semis or finals.

She swam for Ottawa Kingfish, now defunct I think, which was my age group team. I looked up to her figuratively and literally - she is over 6 feet tall. and As a larger than average kid, she helped me realize that size and female isn't a bad thing.

August 2nd, 2002, 11:47 PM
That's nice that she help you with being taller than normal. I was one of those swimmers near normal height and was more stocky than average. Now I'm real stocky but don't look my weight which I will not tell. Like I stated before swimmers near normal height have trouble competiting against taller ones. Diana Munz is the only swimmer around 5'4". Misty Hyman is only 5'6" which is slightly above average. Most swimmers are near the Lindsey Benko height over 6'0 feet tall. So us short and normal size height, women and men have few top swimmers near our size to look up to.

Peter Cruise
August 3rd, 2002, 03:12 PM
The swimmer I most looked up to was female. Really! Yes there was a bit of adolescent crush involved, but Elaine Tanner was an amazing swimmer & why she caught my attention (besides being Canadian & breaking world records) was that at swim meets when I was an age-grouper most of the guys in her age-group (one up from mine) were afraid to swim in the same event as her for fear of getting creamed.

Another was Ralph Hutton, 'Canada's Iron Man' who was one of many amazing swimmers from Ocean Falls B.C.- I met him years later as both as a masters swimmer & as a police officer on the same force as I was (now I sell books). I learned from personal observation & from his old cronies that Ralph posted most of best performances while 'slightly under the weather' & had been quite notorious during his college years in the States. While at Stanford Short Course Nats in the late 80's I spotted George Haines, went over to him and told him that Ralph Hutton had asked to pass on his regards if I should see him. George's face creased in a genuine smile of fond remembrance & asked what Ralph was doing for a living. Oh, he's a Vancouver City Police Officer replied I.
Well, I thought I was going to get oxygen for George- he laughed so hard & so long that tears were trickling down his face.
Despite or probably partly because of all this, Ralph remains one of my idols & icons, both because of his amazing swimming both open & masters, but also for showing his human face to the rest of us less remarkable swimmers.

August 3rd, 2002, 11:08 PM
Also, I admired Lynn Colella Bell because she did both the breastroke and butterfly like me when I was a kid. It seems she did some master meets last year during both breast and fly and some distance freestyle and IM. Didn't do too bad for the 50 to 54 age group.

August 18th, 2002, 01:01 AM
Just seeing if my friend will appear on this message. Sorry, no unicorn picture.

Mark in MD
August 19th, 2002, 01:57 PM

Here's a uncorn if you are looking for one to use as your Avitar (icon) next to your name. Just download it to a folder on your computer. Then go to your USMS Forums Account Info settings, then "Edit Options" and you can upload the Unicorn as a custom Avatar. Since this is a small file in GIF format, so it should work OK.

August 20th, 2002, 12:10 AM
Well, see what will happen. I will try to bring up Icon. Got lazy and picked Popeye. Its different usually the guys pick him.

Bert Petersen
August 20th, 2002, 12:44 AM
Great coaches !
1. George Gate - Ocean Falls, BC - so far ahead of his time; I could never hope to have been this good as a coach !
2. Monte Nitzkowsky (sp?) - Long Beach C.C. in the 50's - better known for water polo, but he knew his stuff about swimming too.
These guys were not only great stroke mechanics, they were mentors and leaders, too.......................... Bert

August 22nd, 2002, 06:30 PM
Does anyone remember the great Dutch butterflier, Ada Kok? I think they called her "the gentle giant"--she won gold in '68. She was so powerful. I also admired Pokey Watson, a great backstroker in '68 Olympics, Kaye Hall, Ellie Daniel and John Naber and Mark Spitz.

If I were a kid today, I think I would admire Misty Hyman, she has a lot of personality. And Lenny Krayzelburg--he's just awesome.

August 22nd, 2002, 06:59 PM
I read about her time at the Olympics in 1968 in the 200 meter butterfly at 2:24.7. This is a very good time ,especially in the late 1960's. Lenny is ok. At the last olympics, the media talk about his immirgrant background and the fact that he became an american citizen. This is a course a theme of a lot of younger swimmers. Gaby Rose, half-American and half-Brizalizan and Mike Cavic, who swims for Yugoslavia. So Lenny isn't the only swimmer now with different nationality backgrounds and a decision to be made about which country do you swim for.

jim thornton
August 22nd, 2002, 09:35 PM
A quick note on Lenny K. A couple years ago, I was working on an article for Men's Journal magazine. The topic: Olympic training secrets of top athletes. I called up a bunch of top names, usually reachable only through a long line of agents, gait keepers, publicists, etc. Though most of the people I interviewed were polite and reasonably personable on the phone, Lenny proved to be something much more.

Usually, journalists like me try to keep the source on the phone as long as possible so as to glean as much info as possible. Lenny not only joked around, gave me extremely specific tip advice (not that it was exactly easy to apply--"Try sets of 10 x 200 meters backstroke short course, kicking 20 meters underwater off each turn"), but evinced no obvious desire at all to get off the phone.

With the other Olympians I interviewed, I was lucky to get 10 minutes of their time. With Lenny, I had to actually tell him I needed to sign off--after about 45 minutes! What a great guy! If he treated me this nicely, a complete stranger calling him from 3000 miles away, I must conclude that he's likely a first rate gentleman with most everyone he meets.

Bottom line: great times may endure for a while in record books, but athletes who are great people too deserve an extra measure of credit in my book.