USMS Award Recipient

Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award


Recipient: Ray Taft
Year: 1979
LMSC: Pacific

Ray Taft’s aquatic involvement began during his school years in the early 1930’s when he chose swimming over all the other sports. He became an accomplished swimmer after joining the AAU swimming program at the Crystal Plunge in San Francisco under the leadership of Hall of Fame Coach Charlie Sava. Ray went on to coach swimming and water polo and, along with his wife, Zada, in 1955 founded the Taft Swim School in San Mateo, CA. Eventually, parents of Ray’s young swimmers wanted to train and prodded him to develop a senior program for adults. The subsequent non-competitive program became a forerunner of the Masters programs of today. 

In 1972, Ray  hosted the “National AAU Masters Short Course Men’s and Women’s Swimming Championships,” which was held in San Mateo, CA. This was the first Masters championship event to be sanctioned by the AAU. Ray’s “non-competitive” program in San Mateo took a big leap and quickly became a very successful Masters program in the San Francisco Bay Area. An accomplished swimmer in his own right, Ray contributed to the successful growth of Masters swimming in California. In 1979 Ray was awarded, along with his wife, Zada, the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award.