Continuing Her Collegiate Competition
Wayne State Hall of Fame
Jennifer Parks, a native of Detroit and graduate of Detroit Immaculata HS, is another in a long line of Wayne State Athletes who have distinguished themselves and the University in swimming. She was a member of WSU's women's swim teams in 1963, 1964, and 1965. During her matriculation at Wayne State, she won two national intercollegiate titles, setting new team records in both events, and finished second in another event.
At the 1965 National Intercollegiate Women's Swimming Championships, Parks won the 50-yard and 100-yard national backstroke titles with team-record times of: 31.2 and 1:11.3, respectively. She also finished second in the 200-yard individual medley. Wayne State finished fourth at the nationals, as Park scored all 19 of the team's points.
Though she won two national collegiate titles in 1965, it wasn't her first national collegiate swimming competition. After graduation from high school, Parks attended the University of Detroit in 1962, and finished second in both backstroke events in the NIAWSC that year.
Parks was introduced to competitive swimming at 12, swimming for former Wayne State coach John Hussey at the Women's City Club in Detroit, Oakland Hills Country Club and Royal Oak Red Run Golf Club. At 13, she won her first Michigan State AAU titles, in the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 200 backstroke. She captured the state championship in the backstroke events the next four years. She was the Junior National Champ in the 200 backstroke in 1958, and during her teen years, Parks won a total of 17 state AAU championships.
In 1959, while a sophomore in high school, Parks competed in the Pan-American Trials, and as a junior, competed in the 1960 Olympic Trials, finishing with a time of 1:16.8 in the 100 backstroke. Parks started her coaching career very early, starting with her former high school team while a freshman at U-D. Immaculata won the 1962 and 1963 Detroit Catholic League titles under her direction, continuing a streak that began in Parks' senior year there.
After graduating from Wayne State in 1968 with a Bachelor's of Recreation Leadership, Parks attended the State University of New York-Cortland, coaching swimming and working on her Master's of Physical Education, which she received in 1970.
Parks then headed Wellesley College's women's swim team from 1970 to 1973, then joined Michigan State as head women's swim coach in 1973.
She has remained very active in women's swimming and sports, as she has won several Masters state titles in both backstroke events and three National Masters titles in 1975, 1976, and 1979. Like WSU Hall of Fame swimmer Bill Prew, Parks has continued her competitive swimming career. Also a supporter of women's athletics in general, Parks is a long-time member of the AAU and was the Michigan Chapter president during 1980-81.
from Wayne State General Releases, 1986 Wayne State University Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Bio