The International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has announced their 2013 class, and the highlights of the list are retired swimmers Gary Hall, Jr. and Pieter van den Hoogenband: two of the most decorated in history.
American Gary Hall, Jr. is one of only 5 male swimmers in history with double-digit Olympic medals. as he earned 10 (including 5 gold) between 1996 and 2004.
Hall is remembered as much for his success in the pool as the performance that he brought to swim meets. He never shyed away from his rivalry with Russian legend, and now fellow Hall of Famer, Alexander Popov of Russia. His typical pre-race routine included showing up in a boxer’s robe and shadow-boxing, and his celebrity brought a whole new fanbase to the sport.
Since retiring from swimming, Hall has become involved in a number of charitable organizations, especially related to his diabetes. Hall discovered he had Type 1 diabetes in 1999 and still went on to win 6 more Olympic medals.
Van den Hoogenband’s record of success and level of fame is almost unparalleled in European swimming. He won the 100-200 freestyle double at the 2000 Olympics, and altogether has 7 medals (4 gold). Though he never won a long course World Championship, he did earn a stunning 18 European titles in his career. Until James Magnussen recently broke the mark, Hoogenband’s 2000 swim in the 100 freestyle of 47.84 was the fastest ever done in the tech-suit era. It stood as a World Record for 8 years, and a textile-best for 11.
These two legends of the sport squared off head-to-head in the 100 free finals of both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics; in Atlanta, Hall got the edge (2nd to 4th), but Hoogenband got his revenge in 2000 (gold to Hall’s bronze).
Other big names on this list include the Ukraine’s Yana Klochkova, who swept the 200 and 400 IM’s in both 2000 and 2004. She is still the only woman in history to win more than one Olympic gold medal in either IM distance. She is also a former World Record holder in the short course and long course 400 IM’s, and in 2008 received the rare honor of serving as the Ukraine’s flag bearer in Beijing. She is the only woman in history to carry the flag of her country at the Summer Olympics.
Dagmar Hase of Germany is the 1992 Olympic champion in the 400 freestyle. That was her only gold medal, though she won 7 overall in the distance freestyles and backstroke events. She had the unfortunate task of matching up against some of the best in history, though in 1992 she knocked off the legendary Janet Evans, then the defending champion, to take the 400m crown.
The class, which is not limited to pool swimmers, included synchronized swimmer Nathalie Schneyder of the United States (a member of the 1996 Olympic Team that had a perfect score in Atlanta for gold), Yugoslavian/Croatian water polo player Milivoj Bebic, who was a four-time FINA Water Polo Player of the Year in the early 80′s, and holds the distinction of being the first water polo player to sign a contract worth $1 million. Chinese diver Hu Jia was also inducted; he was the 2004 Olympic Champion on the 10 meter platform.
Open water swimmerCliff Lumsden of Canada will also join the ranks of the greats. From 1949 through 1954, he won 5 consecutive World Professional Marathon Champion awards. Back when open water was still the wild-west of swimming, Lumsden performed incredible feats including a 32-mile, 18-hour swim in 48 degree water. He has an award named after him for outstanding achievement in marathon swimming in Ontario.
In the non-athlete ranks, Alberto Castagnetti of Italy was inducted into the hall. She is not his only charge, but his most famous is Federica Pellegrini, whom he coached to great success including a gold medal in 2008 and four World Records. Other accomplished swimmers to train under his care include Giorgio Lamberti (the 1991 World Champion in the 200 free) and Domenico Fiorvanti (two-time Olympic gold medalist). Though inducted as a coach, Castagnetti was a superb swimmer in his own right: he raced at the 1972 Olympics. He also was the Italian National Team coach for 23 years until his death in 2009.
Australian Peter Montgomery was inducted as a “contributor”. The water polo master participated in four Olympic games as an athlete (1972-1984) and four as an official (1996-2008). He also served in several FINA Technical Committee roles.
The full list of inductees in the class of 2013 is below:
GARY HALL, JR. (USA) – swimming
PIETER VAN DEN HOOGENBAND (NED) - swimming
YANA KLOCHKOVA (UKR) – swimming
DAGMAR HASE (GER) – swimming
HU JIA (CHN) – diving
NATHALIE SCHNEYDER (USA) – synchronized swimming
MILIVOJ BEBIC (YUG, CRO) – water polo
CLIFF LUMSDEN (CAN) – open water swimming
ALBERTO CASTAGNETTI (ITA) – coach (swimming)
PETER MONTGOMERY (AUS) – contributor (water polo)