The Induction Ceremony was held on Friday, September 13th, in St. Louis, Missouri; in conjunction with the United States Aquatic Sports convention. The event was held on the 18th floor of the Hyatt Regency, overlooking the St. Louis Arch on the banks of the Mississippi River.
USMS delegates and MISHOF Honorees got to mingle and relax for an evening of celebration to honor the aquatic greats in Masters sports. The turnout was one of the best ever and with nine honorees from five different countries, it was a very eclectic group, and one of the largest to date.
The class of 2019 included five swimmers, Caroline Krattli (USA), Willard Lamb (USA), Rick Colella (USA), Rowdy Gaines (USA) and Satoko Takeuji (JPN); one Diver, Asta Girdauskiene (LIT); one Water Polo Player, Pepito Meirelles (BRA); one Synchronized Swimmer, Marjorie Anderson (CAN) and one Contributor, Dr. Jim Miller (USA). Eight of the nine Honorees were present for their induction.
Ninety-seven-year-old Wink Lamb was the hit of the evening with his humor and stories. He is the reason we all swim, and we can only hope that we make it to his age and are as smart, sharp and witty as Wink at the age of 97. A big thank you to Matt Miller, Wink’s Coach, and Wink’s son, for bringing this gem of a USMS Swimmer to our event!
Matt Miller writes: For me, the highlight of the night was Rowdy Gaines’ speech where he gave thanks to his wife, family, US Masters swimming and then, finally, to Willard Lamb!! Rowdy specifically mentioned how inspired by Wink he is and that he wants to be Wink when he grows up. The crowd went wild; Willard cried with humility, pride, and joy; it was truly an amazing moment!!!
After the ceremony, Willard requested that Tim Waud and I try to get autographs of all of the Hall of Famers who were at the event. Tim came up with the idea of printing out the front page of the AquaMaster announcing Wink’s induction and getting people to autograph that. It worked great! Best of all, Rowdy signed it ‘YOU ARE MY HERO! – Rowdy Gaines’.
*See Willard’s induction video made by MISHOF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-yqUyf-2UE&t=38s