Janet Evans, who is probably the greatest American distance swimmer in history, was one of 12 inductees into the the National Federation of State High School Association’s National High School Hall-of-Fame. In a ceremony held in San Diego, California, Evans and 11 of her peers were honored for their achievements in athletics and fine arts competitions.
Evans, who swam with a windmill stroke that these days is reserved for the purest of sprinters, was a long-distance phenom in high school, where in 1988 she set the 500 free National Record, which stood for 20 years, until being broken by Dagny Knutson in 2008.
Incredibly, during her high school career at El Dorado High in placentia California, Evans broke 2 WORLD records: the 400 and 1500m freestyle events. A few short months after finishing her high school career, in August of 1989, Evans broke the 800 meter freestyle world record, which stood for 20 years, making it the second longest running world record ever. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, between her junior and senior years, Evans showed incredible maturity and poise in pulling off an incredible triple in the three distance events.
Four years later, well after she graduated high school, Evans went on to win 2 more medals at the 1992 games: gold in the 800m free and silver in the 400m free.
She was 3-times named the Female World Swimmer of the Year (including in 1987, while still in high school), and in 1989 won the James E. Sullivan Award as the US’s top amateur athlete.
In other words, Evans had possibly a more impressive and decorated high school career than any athlete, in any sport, ever. If you’re wondering why it took until now for Evans to be inducted, the honor carries a minimum age of 35.
In case you were curious, the other inductees are:
Michael Carter, a Texas football and track and field athlete-Broke the National High School record in the 12 pound shot put by over 9 feet (81′ 3.5″) in 1979, a mark that nobody has come within 5 feet of since. Carter is the only athlete to ever win a Superbowl ring and an Olympic medal in the same year. He won 3 Superbowls and went to 3 Pro bowls as a member of the San Francisco 49’ers.
Suzy Favor-Hamilton, a Wisconsin cross-country and track athlete-While at Stevens Point Area Senior High School in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Favor-Hamilton won 11 State titles, 3 U.S. Juniot titles in the 1500m, and the 1500m U.S. junior record. While at the University of Wisconsin, Favor-Hamilton won 9 NCAA individual titles, which still stands as a record.
John Godina, a Wyoming football and track and field athlete-While attending Cheyenne High School, Godina was an All-American in both football and track and field, where he was a star shot puter. After high school, Godina won 3 World Championships, 1 Indoor World Championship, and 2 Olympic Medals (Silver 1996, Bronze 2000)
Katrina McClain, a South Carolina basketball player-While attending St. Andrew’s high in South Carolina, McClain broke the state record for career points scored. While at the University of Georgia, McClain won the National Player of the Year honor in 1987. She also represented the USA at several international competitions. Since retiring, McClain has been a huge factor in the Charleston community, and has started a huge charity called the Youth Milionaires, that has helped to curb violence in her home town.
Alton “Red” Franklin, a Louisiana high school football coach-Franklin won 11 State football titles at Haynesville High in Louisiana. In fact, Franklin created such a tradition of excellence, that his son has recently taken over the program and won a State Championship, as well as a State Coach of the Year honor. It’s one thing to build a team, and a whole other to build a program so impressive that it continues to succeed long after it’s leader leaves.
Other 2010 inductees:Richard Magarian, a Rhode Island wrestling coach; Ed Pepper, a Washington state basketball coach; Willie Bradshaw, a North Carolina athletic director; George Welch, a Utah music teach and fine arts coordinator; and Dr. Vito Perriello, a Virginia pediatrician who specialized in sports medicine.