USMS Award Recipient

Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award


Recipient: Zada Taft
Year: 1979
LMSC: Pacific

Zada Weed Taft made the headlines in the September 25, 1939, San Francisco Chronical, “Gear Wins Swim, Uninvited Girl Star is Sixth – Sneaks by Judges to Enter South End Gate Event for the Second Year.” Jack Gear may have won the South End Golden Gate Swim that year but Zada Weed – a blonde swimmer from the Crystal Plunge in San Francisco – ignored rules which prevented female stars from competing and sneaked into the water while the judges were looking the other way. Zada proceeded to finish in front of eighteen male contenders! 

Zada went on to complete in 16 Golden Gate Bridge Swims over 50 years. But her contributions to U.S. Masters Swimming came from her partnership with husband Ray, in conducting the outstanding San Mateo Masters program. She and Ray met on the Crystal Plunge swim team; both were 16 years old. Zada was far more successful in the open water than the pool but she became an outstanding teacher – contributing greatly to the Taft Swim School and the San Mateo Masters program. Her contributions to Masters Swimming’s “early years” earned Zada Taft the 1979 Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award along with husband and co-recipient Ray.