Article image

by Author Unknown

September 2, 2002

Living by a "no limits" philosophy

Gail Dummer has been active in competitive swimming, training, and competing in the Masters swimming program, as well as coaching, officiating, and administrating for several decades. Over the years she has been a member of Rinconada Masters, D.C. Masters, Greater Indiana Masters, and now Michigan Masters. Gail says, "Swimming for me is both a vocation and an avocation."

She received her B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1972, her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973 and 1978 respectively. She is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Her job involves teaching, service, and research in adapted physical activity and related fields of study. Gail was awarded grants from the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1993 to 1997 to conduct disability swimming camps for both training and research at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for elite swimmers with disabilities. She has published many papers in her field. Gail, along with Don Watkinds was a DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America) swimming coach at the 1994 IPC World Swimming Championships at the Tal Qroqq National Pool in Malta. She received an award for contributions to the USA Paralympic Movement from the athletes participating at the 1996 USA Paralympic Swimming Trials. She was also an assistant coach at the 1998 IPC World Swimming Championships at the Queen Elizabeth II Pool in Christchurch, New Zealand.

She is a past-president of the North American Federation on Adapted Physical Activity. In 1998, she received the Distinguished Faculty Award after 14 years at MSU. She directs the MSU Sports Skills Program, which offers coaching and instruction to children and adults with disabilities. "I have gained a true belief in human ability and resiliency through my work in disability swimming. I try to convey this 'no limits' philosophy to the students I teach at Michigan State University."

Gail has been volunteering for USMS since 1983 as zone chair, 1983-84, vice president, 1986-1989, a member of the Ad Hoc Officials Committee 1990, 1992, and currently as a member of the Recognitions and Awards Committee, 1995 - present. In 1993 Gail was the recipient of the Ransom J. Arthur award along with Katherine Casey, largely in recognition of their work as co-editors of the first four editions of the USMS rule book (1989-1992). "I benefit tremendously from my involvement in the 'dry side' of Masters swimming. I now have friends across the country and I have had the opportunity to develop leadership skills through my involvement in Masters swimming committees, projects, and events."

And commenting about the wet side of Masters swimming, "I swim for health and fitness, as well as to spend time with my friends. Swimming practices helped me to survive the trials of treatment for breast cancer which was diagnosed in 1998." Every year Michigan Masters Swimming gives two special awards presented at the State Championship Meet. In 1988, Gail received the Chetrick Award which has been awarded since 1977 and is given annually to those who have given outstanding service and/or best exemplify the spirit and commitment to Michigan Masters Swimming. In 1999, she, along with Charlie Moss and Tom Moyer, received the Lynne award which is named after former Michigan Masters President Lynne Weir, for "courage and tenacity," continuing to swim after a major illness or injury.

Gail is presently serving (1994-2002) on the USA Swimming Adapted Committee. "As a long-time committee member and past committee chairperson, I count the USA Swimming Disability Championships and increasing participation by swimmers with a disability as our greatest achievements."



  • Overcoming Adversity