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Remembering Wallace W. Laury

Long-time oldest entrant in Waikiki Roughwater

Judy Laury | July 2, 2006

I just happened to be searching the web for my father, Wallace W Laury, and was thrilled to find him on your site.

For your records, he was born in 1901. He died 22 May, 1991. He gave his life to swimming and diving as a coach, timer and judge for some 25 years, founder and president of Michigan Amateur Acquatics, creator of slide calculator for diving awards used until computers took over. He was coaching in the swimming and diving world (Detroit-Northwestern HS & Wayne State U) from about 1925 to 1960 when he moved to Honolulu. His friends and colleagues ranged from folks like Matt Mann (UM) to Coach (Soichi) Sakamoto (UH).

He only began his competitive swimming at age of 60 in Hawaii which he continued for some 23 years. He was awarded the trophy for oldest entrant to finish every year in the Waikiki Rough Water Swim since its inception.

I have not been involved in the swim world since early 1980s when we went to the mainland and my father exited the Hawaii swim scene. He and I took my two children to Detroit Waldorf School where I did Teacher Training and he actually taught swimming to the students there…his last teaching job—full circle back to Detroit.

He officiated and judged at all the Olympic trials at Brennan (Rouge) Pools in the 1940s and 1950s. So I grew up with swimming world as a way of life. I remember from age four on, getting very upset when the Northwestern HS team would always throw their "Coach" in the pool as they won meet after meet—13 (or 14) City Championships in a row. I was the team mascot.

Many swimmers, divers, and coaches were close to our family, including Tom Gompf, Dick Kimball, Ford Konno, Bill Smith, Alvaro Gaxiola, Mike Peppe, Buck & Rosemary Dawson, Bruce Harlan, Hobie Billingsly, most from Big Ten schools in that era.

Aloha from Judy Laury.

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