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by Freddi Woodford

July 19, 2000

Swam in 1972 Olympics for Mexico

Robert Strauss is a top competitor who provides inspiration to many of us at local meets. He has won several national championships this year and set a new record in the 500 free at the Y Nationals last week with a time of 5:02.97 (SCY, 40-45 age group). He's generous with attention and good advice for other swimmers, and brings a special, artful perspective to swimming.

Robert was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and discovered his talent for swimming early. He won a scholarship to the University of Miami and swam in the 1972 Olympics for Mexico and in the 1971 Pan Am games. He finished in the top 25 in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle in the Munich Olympics and also swam in the 400-meter and 800-meter free relays and the prelims of the 400-meter medley relay.

He has continued to contribute to swimming as a coach and teacher as well as a Masters competitor. As swimming coach at Ransom-Everglades High School from 1978 to 1981, he improved the team from 38th to fifth ranked in the state. The water polo team also won the state championship three years in a row with his coaching. He has also played an important role in the development of the Hurricane Swim Club from 1975 to 1977 and again in 1983 to 1988.

What's most remarkable about Robert is love for and commitment to swimming as an integral part of life. In the last ten years he has developed a program in Miami called Swim Gym where he teaches children and adults to "swim for life, not for their lives." He does not believe that being overly competitive is an attitude that will necessarily lead to a lifetime of swimming. His priority is to integrate swimming into one's lifestyle in a way that enhances all aspects of life.

Robert is currently expanding Swim Gym to include a facility off Virginia Key, across the Bay from the Miami Seaquarium. This program will include a USS team and classes for children and adults.

Robert has been married to Jennie for 18 years, and they have two sons. Alan is 13 years old and Jonathan is 10 years old and they both swim for the Hurricane Swim Club. You'll probably see Coach Strauss at our next local meet. You can identify him as the fellow with the smoothest stroke in the pool.

Originally published in the April, 1993 issue of the "Florida Gold Coast LMSC News"