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Betsy Jordan, in Her Own Words

Received David Yorzyk Memorial Award in 1997

Betsy Jordan | July 19, 2000

In 1946, when I was nine and little and scrawny, I wanted desperately to be like my big sister and join the Riviera Club swim team in Indianapolis, my home town. The coach, however, said no, and suggested I go home and grow a while. Incensed, I joined the rival and then fledgling Indianapolis Athletic Club team, where I trained and competed regularly in local, state, and national meets till I left for college in 1955. It was a golden era for swimming; no butterfly invention, no pace clocks, no time standards for entries to nationals, and great team spirit.

Women didn't compete much past high school in those days, and I went on to college and graduate school on the East Coast, eventually getting an M.A. in art history. Raising 4 children became my major focus in the 1960s, but by 1971 I was back in the pool and the ocean, living in California. Masters swimming balanced my further academic pursuits as I completed a Ph.D. in English literature in 1985. I try to stave off atrophy in both brain and body. Since then, I've been teaching full time in a Humanities Program at U.C. San Diego—fulfilling and rewarding work, both intellectually and psychologically.

With a wonderful new marriage in 1994 to fellow pool-mate Pete Riddle I've acquired two additional daughters. We have, jointly, seven delightful grandchildren (soon to be nine with two more due in July 1998.) Our six offspring—sprinkled widely across the U.S.—are all sports oriented, and some of them occasionally join us in Masters swimming competition. An aquatic focus has been a major shaping force in my life, my family, and my personal philosophy. I am especially honored to receive the David Yorzyk Memorial Award because it represents forays into alien territory, especially the dreaded breastroke. I thank Adrienne Pipes for picking it up for me, since she, her late friend Lloyd Skramstad, and her daughter Karlyn (the 400 IM-er par excellence, and a previous winner of this award) have been not only longtime San Diego swimming mainstays but also longtime good friends. Thank you!

Betsy (Turner) Jordan; written for receipt of the David Yorzyk Memorial Award in 1997

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