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John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award

Honoring An Individual Serving Persons With Disabilities

Established in 1994 by the Adaptive Aquatics Committee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame this award honors an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adaptive aquatics (aquatics for persons with disabilities) as a participant, athlete, teacher, instructor, coach, organizer, administrator or media representative.

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2015 Dr. Sam Britten - Cal Northridge

2014 Marnie Young

2013 Josť Luis Vaquero Benito

2012  Peter Aufsesser, Ph.D.

2011  Bruce E. Becker, M.D., M.S.

2010  Ruth Ann Hood Wieser, Ph.D.

2009 Sue Grosse

2008 Dr. Christine Stopka

2007 Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D

2006 Phillip Conatser

2005 John Spannuth

2004 Dori Maxon

2003 Elizabeth "Libby" Andersen

2002 Anne Green

2001 Dr. Monica Lepore

2000 Uri Bergman

1999 Dr. Julian Stein


1998Mary Essert (El Cerrito, CA)Mary Essert is the founder of Mary Essert and Associates, maker of many videos and tapes on water fitness, founder of "Move It or Lose It" and active with Grace Reynolds at the YMCA. 1997Ruth Sova (Port Washington, WI)Ruth Sova is founder of the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) and the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab. Institution.  She is a well-known entrepreneur and speaker around the world. 1996Louise Priest (Indianapolis, IN)Louise Priest is the mother of adaptive aquatics.  She wrote the Red Cross aquatic materials and is now Director of Communications with the Jeff Ellis Organization. 1995Grace Reynolds (Longview, WA)Grace Reynolds was head of "Swimming for Special Populations" for the national YMCA for years and head of "Project Aquatics" and "Project Aquatics Mainstreaming".  She is founder/president of Disability International Foundation (DIF). 1994John K. Williams, Jr. (San Diego, CA)John K. Williams, Jr. graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. degree in Therapeutic Recreation and is now an aquatic consultant.  Speaker at numerous workshops on Adaptive Aquatics, he spends his summers working at Camp Able.

Nominations can be submitted for John K. Williams Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award to honor an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adapted aquatics/aquatics for individuals with disabilities as participant, athlete, teacher/instructor, coach, organizer, administrator, or media representative.  This award is established by the  International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) will be presented when announced for sometime during mid-to-late fall.

Male and female nominees from throughout the world must be at least 18 years of age, be outstanding and excel in meeting criteria for this international award, shall have made significant contributions in adapted aquatics, be of good moral character and high integrity, and must exemplify the ideals of highest quality adapted aquatic activities and programs.

Submit (a) a letter of nomination of no more than two pages, (b) a second letter of support of no more than two pages from another individual, and (c) a statement of nomination of no more than three double-spaced pages that does not duplicate content of the two letters.  Include a good quality color head-and-shoulders photograph (5"x7" preferred) as part of the nomination packet.  Nominees should personally sign the nomination packet attesting all facts contained in the nomination packet are true and giving permission for publication of these facts.

Send nomination packets via regular mail or airmail,  not by Fax or e-mail.

Additional information can be obtained from:  Dr. Peter Aufsesser, Department of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-7251; Phone: 619-594-1917; Fax: 619-594-6553; or email:


Contact Information

Phillip Conatser, PhD, CAPE

Associate Professor

University of Texas RIo Grande Valley                                           

College of Health Affairs

Department of Health and Human Performance

80 Fort Brown

Brownsville, TX 78520

Office: (956) 882-5701

Cell: (956) 561-1825