Aldo da Rosa
2004 Honor Swimmer
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: World Points – 1235, Pre-1986 Points – 75, Total
Points – 1310; Since the 1970's he has competed in six age groups (60-64 into 85-89); 44
FINA MASTERS WORLD RECORDS;
Aldo Weber Viera da Rosa was born in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, November
15, 1917, into his father's PortugueseAzorean family established in Brazil in 1745 and his
mother's German-born family. Santa Catarina was mostly bilingual but at home German
was mainly spoken. He attended an excellent military school in Rio de Janeiro and
then entered the Brazilian Military Academy and later the Aeronautical School.
In 1941, theAmerican government invited two Brazilian officers for a prolonged stay in the USA and Aldo spent the next
four years basedmostly at theAlameda Naval Air Station, CAas a guest of the U.S. Navy. While there, he enrolled at Stanford
and got an advanced degree in electrical engineering (involving a full year of research at Harvard). After the war he
returned to Brazil with the rank of captain in the Brazilian Air Force and stayed in the service until retirement as a brigadier
general in 1965. Remarkably, in 27 years in theAir Force, he served less than on full year in a strictly military capacity. But
he did accumulate many hours of flight duty – including a few thousand hours piloting C47s.
In 1963, he came back to Stanford and two years later received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Since then, he has been
teaching at the University. Before his return to Stanford and while in Brazil,Aldo possessed many achievements: founder
and director of the Research and Development Institute (Br.) 1954-1961; director of the Aeronautical Technical Center (Br.)
1954; chairman of the National Research Council (Br.) 1956/57; founder and first president of the National Institute for
Space Research (the Brazilian NASA) 1961/63; founder and CEO of the Company for the Development of Technology
(Br.) 1976/1982; vice chairman and later chairman of NOVADATA (computer manufacture, Br.) 1979/83; Advisory Council
of Siemens (Br.) 1979/81; CEO Aldi Research Corp. (Palo Alto) 1972/93.
As a young swimmer in Brazil, Aldo was selected to be part of the 1936 Brazilian Olympic Team, but school responsibilities
kept him from going. Actually, he was a much better 800-meter runner than swimmer, and stuck more to the track
than to the pool. In 1956, while competing in a world glider championship in France, he suffered a serious accident trying
to cross the Alps toward Switzerland and suffered a compound fracture of the leg. In 1971, he re-broke the leg twice
on the track at Stanford and regretfully began showing up at the Stanford pool for exercise.
Although he had never heard of Masters Swimming in 1976, he was asked to be the 4th member of a Rinconada relay team
which ended up breaking the national record. He was getting the Masters fever and by 1983, having turned 65, he was
taking swimming seriously and working out at a gym. The results were unexpected. He broke the national records in all
three IM events (yards) and later, in the Fort Lauderdale Short Course National Championships, he broke two additional
national records – 100 and 200 breast.
But national records began to evolve to FINA World Records and since 1986, when in the 65-69 age group, da Rosa has
set 42 FINAWorld Records- 10 LCM and 32 SCM. (For many of the long course seasons he was in Brazil). His events included
everything from the 400m to 1500m freestyle; 100m, 200m and 400m I.M.; and the 200m breaststroke, a stroke
newly acquired since beginning Masters Swimming. He has competed in the FINA Masters World Championships of
Tokyo, Brisbane, Rio de Janeiro, Indianapolis and Montreal, winning 8 gold, 12 silver and 1 bronze medal. Currently he
is in the 85-89 age group.
Aldo swims six or seven days a week, averaging 2200 yards. He places great importance on stretching to prevent injury
and to keep going and likes to do a couple of days per week strength training.
Da Rosa enjoys the camaraderie and vigor upon which Masters Swimming thrives. He has a great sense of humor and appreciates
the basic complexities of life. Among the awards he has received, one dearest to his heart is the Joy of Swimming,
sponsored by George Cunningham in horror to his sister, Peggy Luchesi, who died during a meet at Rinconada, just after
having done her personal best time in the 100 yard freestyle.
With a grin, he says, "The great merit of Masters Swimming is that your competition ages at the same rate you do. Thus,
every five years you are young again, at least relatively. The bad thing about Masters Swimming is its addictive nature.
For years, I have been trying to drop the activity but have been unable to overcome the withdrawal symptoms."