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by Dirk Hamel

October 20, 2015

Groselle, Radcliff, and Ridout inducted into International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame

The IMSHOF class of 2015 includes three USMS members

Every year, the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame inducts a select few Masters aquatic athletes. Out of this year’s class of seven inductees, three USMS members have been chosen to receive this prestigious honor. Jack Groselle, David Radcliff, and Nancy Ridout have all been selected for their accomplishments in the world of Masters Swimming, both in and out of the water. Rounding out the Class of 2015 are swimmers Mieko Nagaoka and Shoko Yonezawa of Japan, diver Anielle Claverstyne Plowman of Australia, and synchronized swimmer Penny Demueles of the United States.

To be eligible for IMSHOF, athletes must have been competing for 16 years, spanning four, five-year age groups. Up to nine inductees are chosen each year and IMSHOF strives to induct three female swimmers, three male swimmers; and three divers, synchronized swimmers, water polo players, or contributors each year. Using a point system, IMSHOF assesses the accomplishments of notable Masters athletes and a panel of 62 international swimming authorities judges which individuals will be chosen each year.

Jack Groselle

An extremely versatile swimmer, Jack Groselle, 61, of the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters, has set 23 different FINA World Masters records, in both short course meters (8 records) and long course meters (15 records) in events spanning almost every stroke—he holds records in freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, and IM events. In 2014, he set seven new world records. He has competed in three different FINA Masters World Championships (2004, 2006, and 2012), winning seven gold medals, two silver, and four bronze. In the world of USMS, Groselle has earned more than 500 Top 10 achievements, 40 years of All American Honors, and currently holds 39 individual pool records, as well as 13 pool relay records. Additionally, Groselle is also the only male swimmer to hold a national record in a single event (100 freestyle) across five age groups.

Groselle began his swimming career during his sophomore year in high school and then swam four years at Hiram College, where he would later serve as head swimming coach. However, during his youth, he didn’t swim year-round—in the summer he was too busy working on his grandfather’s farm. When asked about how swimming has changed his life, he says, “Masters Swimming is the thread that keeps us all sane and healthy.” He credits swimming with giving him the opportunity to “meet great people all around the world.”

He describes his IMSHOF induction as “…an incredible honor and a huge thrill, because it takes a lot of time and hard work to earn this honor.” He says he had no idea he even had the chance to be inducted until a few years ago, when a fellow swimmer pointed out that his many years of success in the pool might make him eligible for nomination. His advice for competitive swimmers? “Don’t give up and work hard every day,” citing his own rise through the ranks of Masters greats.

David Radcliff

David Radcliff, 80, of Oregon Masters, has also proven himself to be a multifaceted swimmer. Radcliff competed for the United States in the 1956 Olympics, earning 4th place in the 1500 freestyle. As a Masters swimmer, he’s set 29 FINA World Masters records (11 short course meters and 18 long course meters) in events ranging from 50 to the 1500—no mean feat, considering that the 50 and 1500 require more or less opposite skill sets. Radcliff participated in both the 2006 and 2008 FINA Masters World Championships, taking home seven gold medals, two silver, and one bronze. In the past year, since entering the 80-85 age group, Radcliff has set 12 new world records. On the USMS side, he’s earned almost 400 Top 10 achievements, 50-plus years of All American Honors, and currently holds 78 national records (13 long distance, 44 pool individual, and 21 pool relay records).

Radcliff boasts an impressive résumé in the world of Masters Swimming, but he began his career in his junior year at San Diego High School. He went on to earn an All-American in 200 freestyle his senior year, but didn’t swim in college his first two years. After his freshman year at Westminster, he transferred to Cal Berkeley, earning All-Americans his junior and senior years. After his graduation from Cal Berkeley, Radcliff swam for the US Army team, competing in the Melbourne Olympics, as well as a NATO sporting event in France, and a Goodwill tour of southeast Asia.

As accomplished and well-traveled as he is, Radcliff expresses humility about his induction. “When I look at the names of some of the other Masters in the Hall of Fame, I am very humbled to be included with them,” and describes it as “a great honor.”

When asked about what swimming has done for him, he says, “it has given me a life.” He credits Masters Swimming with giving him the fitness needed to survive a heart attack and cancer surgery. “To be truly alive, and living, you must have new goals and challenging goals. If you have goals you will not be old.” He cites the competitive aspect of swimming to be the focus of those goals—although Radcliff considers himself a fitness swimmer, he says that his competitive goals have given him the extra incentive to stay fit.

Nancy Ridout

Nancy Ridout, 72, of Tamalpais Aquatic Masters, currently holds 14 FINA World Masters records (12 short course meters and 2 long course meters). In U.S. Masters Swimming, she has had more than 800 Top 10 swims, 70 All-American honors, and currently holds 107 national records.

As impressive as her swimming achievements are however, Nancy Ridout is being inducted for her contributions to Masters Swimming that happen outside of the pool, as a long-serving volunteer. She’s occupied many high-level volunteer positions in USMS’s largest LMSC, Pacific Masters, and at the national level. She’s served as president, vice president, secretary, and has served on numerous other committees. She was the recipient of the 1994 Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award, as well as the 2005 U.S. Masters Swimming Dorothy Donnelly Service Award. She currently serves on the board as a past president, and remains very active in the administration of the Pacific LMSC, as well as the community of her club, the Tamalpais Aquatic Masters.

Ridout started swimming at age 8, at her local YWCA in Toledo, which led to year-round age-group swimming by 13. This pre-Title IV athlete wanted to swim for a college, but because of limited opportunities for female athletes, she attended the University of Michigan and swam for Ann Arbor Swim Club. She also played AAU water polo and was an All-American in that sport in 1963.

In 1972, she joined USMS, and says “It was as perfect fit.” When asked if she had any idea that she’d end up dedicating so much of her life to the growing sport and become one of its most ardent volunteers, she replies “Heck no! I started because I loved the water, loved to swim, and wanted to get in shape after the birth of my second son.”

But she was thrust into a volunteer role of sorting entry cards when her club hosted a meet, and she quickly become proficient in the admin side of swimming. “That was my first introduction to what it takes to make Masters work. After my teammates and I sorted, typed, (no computers, remember white-out?) and submitted those times, I became part of the Pacific Masters Swim Committee, learned about how many people and how many tasks there were to assure a successful program and best serve our members. From there I became a delegate to the 1982 USAS convention, and became aware of even more needs, resources, and opportunities. I was surprised to be asked to run for USMS secretary in 1986 and have been blessed to be part of the organization's leadership ever since.”

Ridout’s approach is simple: everyone should have the ability and opportunity to swim. “My vision has always been to provide the opportunity to swim for anyone, anywhere, who wants to participate. The joy and physical wellbeing from swimming has changed many lives.”

Her excitement at being including into IMSHOF is palpable. “It's awesome! It's an honor to have been considered and I feel a sense of satisfaction that my contributions have been recognized as worthy of such a tribute. I'm also humbled by the magnitude of such an honor to someone who just wanted to make the sport she loved the best it could be and accessible to all.

Ridout offers a bit of advice for anyone wanting to give back to USMS by becoming a USMS volunteer: “Start with something you are interested in and feel you could make a positive contribution; a project with a beginning and an end. If you derive satisfaction from completing a task, try something else.” She adds that you can give back at the local or national level, or both if you find you enjoy it. “Your contributions don't have to last a lifetime; you can make your impact within definite parameters on a small scale. There’s always something you can contribute to helping your team be successful, to help your LMSC provide services, maybe even become a convention delegate and a leader back home. Who knows. What I do know is that there are opportunities at every level for those of us who want to give back to an organization who has given us so much.”

And USMS is fortunate to have these much-appreciated and much-respected swimmers as longtime members. Thanks to the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame for honoring them, and congratulations to Jack Groselle, David Radcliff, and Nancy Ridout!