As 2020 comes to a close, we take a look back at all of those the swimming community has lost over the last 12 months.
The record-breaking Masters swimmer died at the age of 105 in January. Harrison was the first British man to set a world best time in the 100-104 years age group and achieved five records in that category during his centenary year.
Davis died on February 4th at the age of 85. She was an award-winning swimming official in New England and a fixture in the area’s swimming scene for decades.
Suriano died in February after serving as the diving coach and a physical education instructor at the United States Naval Academy for 35 years. During his tenure Suriano saw 12 of his divers qualify for 22 NCAA Division I Championship meets and earn 15 All-America accolades.
The Canadian coach died unexpectedly on February 17th at the age of 61. Most recently coaching the North York Aquatic Club (NYAC) and at the High Performance Center – Ontario, Drudge held head coaching positions in Regina, Ottawa and North York over his 30-year career.
A longtime swimming official in Indiana, Duncan died at the age of 73 on February 15. He officiated at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and had been selected as a starter for the 2020 Trials.
The 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke, Szekely died at the age of 92 on February 29. The Hungarian was a 1976 inductee into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and, as a Jewish woman, incredibly used swimming to survive the holocaust.
Carlson died at 85 on February 29 after serving as a high school swim coach in Minnesota for 46 years. He was inducted into the Minnesota Swimming and Diving Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005 before retiring in 2007.
Hastings was the longtime coach of four-time Olympic medalist Summer Sanders and founded California Capital Aquatics in 1983 before building into a national powerhouse. A 1991 USA Swimming Award-winner, Hastings was inducted into American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Russian para swimmer died at the age of 23 in early March. Makarov won three gold medals at last fall’s World Para Swimming World Championships.
The Italian architect who redesigned Barcelona’s Olympic stadium for the 1992 Olympic and Paralympic Games died on March 15 at the age of 92 due to COVID-19.
The Australian Masters swimmer died on March 28th at the age of 101. Corones currently holds the short course world records in the 50 and 100 free for 94-99 and 100-104 year olds, and became the first person aged 100+ to break 1:00 in the SCM 50 freestyle.
The 1952 Olympic champion died on March 25th at the age of 90. An Australian native, Davies was one of the early pioneers in butterfly-breaststroke (modern-day butterfly), and won gold at the 1952 Games in Helsinki in the men’s 200 breast.
The 32-year old retired Russian swimmer died on April 6 at 32 after an undisclosed lengthy illness. Vereshchagina represented Russia multiple times on the international stage and was the 2006 national champion in the women’s 200 breaststroke.
Evans, a dedicated volunteer with the Rhondda Polar Bears disabled swimming club, died on April 9 due to COVID-19 at just 28 years of age. The Wales native had “lost everything” as a result of floods caused by Storm Dennis in February.
The 1984 Indonesian Olympian died on April 17 at 56. Niode was also a nine-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.
The Canadian club coach and three-time Olympic staff member died on April 21 at the age of 63. Thorborn coached 18 swimmers to Canadian national titles and was the Head Coach at the Etobicoke Swim Club for the last 21 years.
The CEO of UK-based swim lesson group Water Babies, Franks died as a result of COVID-19 on April 30.
Cepelak, a Fairmont State University swimming alumnus and Born To Swim co-founder died at the age of 40 after a battle with colon cancer.
The Indiana University alumnus died on May 8 at the age of 70 after a bout with lymphoma. Tanner was recruited by legendary coach Doc Counsilman to attend Indiana University in 1968, and he would go on to be ingrained in the Bloomington community throughout his life.
The 1972 Olympic gold medalist died on April 9 after a 10-month battle with cancer at 67. Bruce won a gold medal as part of the winning American 400 medley relay at the 1972 Olympic Games and added an individual silver in the 100 breaststroke.
The former coach of the University of Maine and Plymouth State University swimming teams, Switzer died at 90 in early May.
Owens, who coached swimmers at all levels for 60 years in the Harrisburg area in Central Pennsylvania, died at the age of 84 in May.
The former president of the Brazilian Confederation of Aquatic Sports (CBDA), Nunes died on May 14 at the age of 82. Nunes presided over the CBDA for 29 years, from 1988 to 2017. He was removed after being found guilty of committing financial fraud.
Keating Sr., a Cincinnati swimming alumnus who went on to be a congressman, died May 20 at the age of 93.
A long-time swim coach in Michigan, Kimble died on May 25 at the age of 60 due to cancer. He coached in the West Michigan community dating back to 1980, winning six high school state championship titles before being inducted into the MHSAA Hall of Fame in 2014.
The longtime YMCA Swimming official died on May 22 at the age of 91. Varner served the YMCA community for more than 40 years.
The Oregon high school coach died on May 22 at the age of 93 from sudden Cardiac arrest. Harman coached three Olympians and over 60 All-American high school swimmers during his career, and was induced into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
The 49-time FINA masters world record holder died at the age of 95 in late May. Piemme was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a masters honoree in 2004.
Kennedy, a Canadian coach who helped establish a prominent team in the Bahamas Swimming Federation, died in late May at the age of 78. Kennedy helped to establish the Barracuda Swim Club in the Bahamas, and coached them from 1984-87 and again from 1989-2000.
The former vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at Purdue from 1993 to 2016, died June 15 at 68 after a year-long battle with amyloidosis.
Klumb, who coached Illinois’ Naperville North High School From 1976-1995, died on June 12. Naperville North won eleven sectional titles under Klumb’s guidance.
Nixon was killed in a car crash at just 18 years of age on June 21. He was a member of the Southern Connecticut State University men’s swimming and diving team.
Gupta, a national-level swimmer and swim coach in India, died due to COVID-19 in June at just 26 years of age.
The former Soviet water polo player and coach died on June 30 at the age of 72. Kabanov represented the Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, being one of only four water polo players to ever win two Olympic gold medals for the country.
A renowned Indiana high school coach, Dunlap died on July 11 at the age of 78. Dunlap won three state titles with Riley High School, and spent the first eight of his 28 years coaching with South Bend Jackson High School, which ultimately merged with Riley in 1975.
The Iowa high school swimming head coach died on July 21 after suffering a brain injury. Flannery had been coach of the Ames High School boys’ team since 1998 and the girls’ team since 2002.
An Arizona high school swimming coach, Croswhite died on July 21 after succumbing to COVID-19. He was 61.
The longtime New England Swimming official died on July 21 at the age of 59 due to a heart condition.
The Speedo Sports Marketing Manager died from cancer on July 17. Cermak worked at Speedo for over 10 years, beginning as a Sports Marketing Representative, eventually being promoted to the Sports Marketing Manager for the west coast.
Touretski, the longtime of Russian legend Alexander Popov, died in early August at 71 after suffering a stroke. In addition to Popov, a nine-time Olympic medalist, Touretski coached Australian Michael Klim to six Olympic medals.
Tossone, a Spanish native, died at just 19 on August 8. A local news outlet reported that his death came due to a breath holding exercise during a practice.
The Open water swimmer died at the age of 81 in August. Watson formerly held the fastest time to swim the English Channel, doing so in nine hours, 35 minutes back in 1964 at the age of 26. The record stood until 1981. He also coached two of the world’s best triathletes, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, to a combined four Olympic medals.
The former USA Water Polo administrator died at the age of 91 on August 21. Burke was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2018. Over his 50-year tenure at USA Water Polo, Burke also was the team manager for the US Men’s Olympic Water Polo team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
The longtime Hawaii Swim Club coach died on August 3 at the age of 48. Sherwood worked at HSC in Oahu while working full-time at Waipahu Intermediate School, coaching several standout athletes including Olympian Christel Simms who represented the Philippines in Beijing.
The 1956 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 200 butterfly died on August 30 at the age of 87. At those 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Yorzyk made history as the first swimmer to ever win Olympic gold medal in a butterfly event.
A member of the swim teams at the Indiana Swim Club and Bloomington North High School, Mumper was killed on September 6 in a homicide-suicide, along with his mother, Greta, and sister, Emma. He was a high school senior who had won consecutive sectional titles in the men’s 100 freestyle.
The University of Michigan swimmer died on September 7 just two weeks shy of his 20th birthday. Miskelley was set to enter his junior season with the Wolverines. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection for the Wolverines and twice won the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award.
The 1968 US Olympian died at the age of 71 in September due to lung cancer. Ferris, who competed for Stanford collegiately, held the world record in the men’s 200 butterfly for just over a month in 1967, clocking 2:06.00 to win gold at the World University Games in Tokyo.
Willerson was a former swimmer at the University of Texas who went on to become the President Emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute (THI). He died in September.
Caras Snyder died at just 33 due to cardiac arrest on September 17. She was inducted into the Maine Swimming Hall of Fame in 2018 as a five-time state record-breaker, and would go on to have a successful collegiate career at Cornell. At the time of her passing, Caras Snyder held 37 Maine LSC records.
The Soka University of America swimmer died on October 13 at just 20 years of age. The cause of death was reportedly drowning. Balman had completed two years competing for the Lions after graduating from Manhattan High School in 2018.
Lawrence, a member of the Navy Men’s Swimming coaching staff for 36 years, died at the age of 82 in mid-October.
The Michigan swimming legend died at the age of 81 due to complications with metastatic prostate cancer in October. Legacki was on Michigan’s NCAA winning teams in 1959 and 1961, and also set an American Record in the SCY 100 butterfly.
Thrash, a Masters swim coach and triathlon coach at the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta, Georgia, died on October 8 at 59. In over 30 years of coaching experience, she earned a reputation as one of the top Masters swim coaches in the country.
The all-time great Australian coach died on November 3 at the age of 87. Talbot was the driving force behind Australia becoming a swimmer powerhouse in the 1960s and 1970s, and also spent time coaching in Canada and the United States during his career. A 1979 inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Talbot closed out his career with a pair of incredibly successful showings from Australia at the 2000 Olympic Games and 2001 World Championships.
Juba, a longtime contributor for LEN who also the project manager for the organization’s “Learn to Swim, Prevent Drowning” program, died in early November. He also wrote numerous books geared toward swimming fitness.
Loy, who coached the Bloomington High School swim team for nearly 40 years, died in late October at 65. He swam at Illinois State University where he earned All-American status.
Burek died due to COVID-19 on December 12 at the age of 62. He had served as the head swim coach and aquatics director of Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois since 2013.
Van Buskirk swam for four years at the University of Denver before returning to West Lyon East High School, where she was a standout swimmer, to be the assistant swim coach. She held that position for five years before dying in mid-December at the age of 27.
A three-time Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder, McLane died at the age of 90 in mid-December. McLane won gold at the 1948 Games in London in the 1500 free and 4×200 free relay, setting a WR in the latter, and went on to help the U.S. repeat in the relay four years later in Helsinki.
Pickering was killed at the age of 15, along with her father, Robert (59), in a car crash on December 15 while on a trip to visit colleges. Pickering was a sophomore at Hinsdale Central High School, having set pool records in October in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM at a high school Sectional meet.
The 14-year-old Brazilian died from a lung infection on December 19. Franklin Ferreira Silva had tested positive for COVID-19 in November, showing mild symptoms, and had competed at a meet December 9-10.
The Albanian record holder died at the age of 24 in late December. Meca competed for Albania at the 2017 World Championships.
To all those others in the swimming community who lost a loved one this year, may you find peace and comfort in the community of the pool.