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by Kylie Magar

August 2, 2018

Maurine Kornfeld, Walt Reid, and Jurgen Schmidt to receive highest honor for Masters swimmers

Three U.S. Masters Swimming members will be recognized for their numerous accomplishments with the highest honor possible for a Masters swimmer.

Maurine Kornfeld, Walt Reid, and Jurgen Schmidt will be inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame at the United States Aquatic Sports convention on Sept. 28 in Jacksonville, Fla. Six other athletes from across the world will also be inducted.

Kornfeld and Schmidt are two of the four swimmers who’ll be inducted, and Reid is going in as a contributor after more than 40 years of working to grow the sport.

Since 1965 IMSHOF has recognized individuals for their achievements—in and out of the pool—with the goal of inspiring adults to live active and healthy lives.

Relay Reunion for Kornfeld

Maurine Kornfeld has been breaking USMS and FINA Masters world records for years, and the 96-year-old doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

What’s the Rose Bowl Masters member’s recipe for success?

“Just dumb luck,” she says with a laugh. “As they say, ‘If you can’t outswim them, outlive them.’ I think that sort of sums it up.”

It might be more than that for Kornfeld, who's completed nearly 1,000 swims. She’s broken 51 USMS individual records (26 of which she still holds) and has won 14 gold and four silver medals across four FINA World Masters Championships.

Kornfeld will be joining Jurgen Schmidt in the 2018 class. The two have swum relays with Frank Piemme and Rita Simonton, who were inducted in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

“That is special,” Kornfeld says.

More Than Just Swimming for Reid

Masters Swimming means the world to Walt Reid.

“It has meant the opportunity to stay fit and do some competition, but, most importantly, to meet people with similar objectives and give back by volunteering,” he says.

Reid, who has swum 105 individual USMS Top 10s largely in backstroke and breaststroke events, has certainly given back in his 41 years in Masters Swimming.

In 1984, the Puget Sound Masters swimmer attended his first annual meeting as a volunteer to help tabulate USMS records. He became chair of the Records and Tabulation Committee in 1987 and still contributes. Reid, 77, also served on the Recognition and Awards Committee from 2012 to 2015.

Reid’s initial recording of Top 10 times for short course meters and USMS records inspired him to build a computer program for LMSCs. He's also the first and only FINA Masters recorder, a task he’s done since 1992.

Reid’s tireless work also garnered him the Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award in 1992 and the USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award in 2006.

“When I look at those USMS members that have been inducted into the IMSHOF as an honor contributor, I am thrilled and humbled to be inducted for this honor,” says Reid, who joins such members as Capt. Ransom J. Arthur, Tom Boak, Mel Goldstein, Ted Haartz, and Nancy Ridout. “Those before me are the leaders of USMS.”

Dream Come True for Schmidt

Jurgen Schmidt started in Masters Swimming as a way to get his Red Cross water safety instructor card, but it’s turned into something much more.

“Masters Swimming has made me a complete person,” says Schmidt, an unattached swimmer in the Southern Pacific LMSC. “I used to be an introvert and when I got into Masters Swimming, I became friends with so many people.”

Schmidt, who joined USMS in 1973, has set two FINA Masters world records, holds 937 individual and 71 relay Top 10 times, and has received 33 individual USMS All-American honors. Being inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame is one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of.

“It’s one of the highest honors you can achieve in Masters Swimming,” the 95-year-old says. “To me, it’s a very prestigious honor, almost like being elected president.”

Schmidt is elated to join a group of inductees he's swum with over the years, swimmers who weren’t only his competitors but people he describes as idols. He’ll join his lifelong best friend, Frank Piemme, who was inducted in 2004.

Schmidt, who hasn’t been in the water much recently because of a medical condition, feels a great deal of gratitude to the sport of Masters Swimming.

“I've [been] in the organization for 45 years and have gotten to know people [from] way back when it all started,” says Schmidt, who's counting down the days until the ceremony, which his son and daughter will also attend. “[Swimming] has kept me alive and enthusiastic for life itself.”


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