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by Author Unknown

April 21, 2002

Including ISHOF's gold medallion

Rogers B. "Tiger" Holmes received the International Swimming Hall of Fame Gold Medallion Award as a former swimmer who went on to great accomplishment in the field of business, entertainment, or politics. Holmes, of Jacksonville, after graduating from the University of Florida in 1948 as president of his class and captain of the swim team, began with one truck and himself as driver in 1954. The company's name today is the Holmes Lumber Company and is one of the most successful lumber and hardware companies in Southeastern United States. It has grown to include five locations employing 450 people.

In 1982, Holmes returned to competitive swimming as therapy after open heart surgery. He became involved in the Masters program, sponsoring a local team that devoted itself to teaching Jacksonville's underprivileged children to learn to swim. In three years, 12,000 kids became swimmers. He is the epitome of a southern gentlemen who will not stop contributing to his community and swimming until every child in the nation participates in "Every Child a Swimmer."

from ISHOF Headlines, Summer, 1998

More about "Tiger":

Tiger is the proud father of five children and eight grandchildren and he still lives in the town he was born in, Jacksonville, Fla. He founded "Holmes Lumber Company" in 1954 when he was barely out of school—it began as one truck with himself as driver.

He graduated from the University of Florida in 1948. He was president of his graduating class, a member of the Florida Blue Key, the University Hall of Fame, and the University Athletic Hall of Fame. He was captain of the swim team and was the Southeast Conference 50-yard freestyle champion in 1942.

Tiger served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II and in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1954. He retired as a Lt. Col. in the Florida Air National Guard.

He returned to swimming in 1982 for therapy after open heart surgery. He has won 14 USMS titles and three FINA World Championships. He's also been a great patron of swimming. He sponsored the Holmes Lumber Gators team (U. of Florida) in 1984-1988 while it won USS national titles. He sponsored Holmes Lumber Jax Masters team in 1988. One hundred and seventy swimmers made the trip to Australia that year for the Worlds Championship in Brisbane. The purpose of this venture was to spotlight the city of Jacksonville and its woeful need for a 50-meter swim facility. Many of his swimmers say they had a wonderful trip that they otherwise would not have been able to make. After returning from Australia, the team devoted itself to the task of teaching underprivileged Jacksonville children how to swim. In three years, over 12,000 kids were given the opportunity to swim under this team-sponsored program.

Tiger served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1996 and 1997.

He says his inspiration to continue swimming is his daughter, Mary Roebuck. "She makes swimming so enjoyable that Dad just has to participate. No father has been more blessed."

Tiger Holmes received the  Frank H. Tillotson Award in 2006.

Rogers B. Holmes lives in Orange Park, Fla., and swims for Holmes Lumber Jax.