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Arthur C. Smith III's Life in Masters

For fun, fitness and competition

Meegan Wilson | June 17, 2008

Arthur C. Smith III was born in 1939 in Philadelphia and grew up in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia. He learned to swim at the age of three at a country club pool. Looking back on his early years in swimming, Arthur remembers that he loved swimming backstroke even as a six or seven year old. He enjoyed the camaraderie with the other country club swimmers where he made life-long friends. His parents were totally supportive of his swimming and drove him to five practices a week as well as to many swim meets. Arthur recalls Norm Kelley, Coach at the Manufacturer's Golf and Country Club in Oreland, Pa., as helping him the most in his early swimming endeavors. Besides competing in an age-group program he also swam in High School at the Germantown Academy in Philadelphia. He went on to compete in college at Princeton University. Arthur was recruited to Masters swimming by Diana Todd and Ellen Morris in 1975. He continues to participate in Masters for three reasons: fun, fitness and competition. He used to compete in about six local meets per year and also attended national championships between 1977 and 1992. Arthur has held many national titles.

"I have Super-8 films of many nationals from the early 1980s," Arthur said. "Emphasizing the DC Masters, of course." 

One of his most memorable Masters swims was in 1983 when he finished the 28.5 mile Manhattan Swim in 8 hours, 34 minutes. He also remembers breaking 1:00 minute in the 100-yard backstroke. Arthur said that coach John Flanagan helped him the most in Masters swimming. He currently swims two times per week and walks three times per week. Arthur's wife competes in triathlons, which keeps him motivated. He also walks to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Arthur has been active on the national level and attended the USMS Convention.  He was chair of the Legislation Committee for three or four years in the early 1980s.
For fun, Arthur referees for high school football from August to November. He worked the state championships in 2002. Arthur retired in 2006 as Compensation Manager, Drug Enforcement Administrator. One highlight of his professional accomplishments was running a major payroll conversion where "everyone got paid accurately and on time!" Besides swimming, walking, and refereeing football, he is in the process of renovating his 1875 Victorian house.

About his retirement, Arthur states, "being paid not to work is highly UNDER-rated."

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