Elizabeth “Libby” Andersen is the consummate professional whose interests
vary from swimming programs for a variety of different types of individuals to
fitness programs for all types of individuals. Her professional development
shows a long-standing commitment to swimming programs for individuals with
disabilities. This commitment to swimming for the disabled is natural, as she is
indeed herself a swimmer.
Her involvement with swimming for the disabled started with the San Diego
County Chapter of the American Red Cross’s “Adapted Aquatics Class” taught
by Dr. Peter Aufsesser. Later, she became the instructor/trainer for that
course, and even when the National Red Cross dropped the program, the San Diego
County Chapter continued to offer the class with Libby as the
Libby’s role in leadership positions in swimming goes far beyond the local
level. A member of United States Swimming and Chair of its Adapted Swimming
Committee from 1980-1996, she has been one of the leaders in the field. In 1996,
she was Chair of the Team Selection Committee for the Paralympic Swim Trials
held in Indianapolis and worked as the liaison between United States Swimming. and the Atlanta
Paralympic Organizing Committee to support swimming competition.
Libby is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor and Master
of Arts in Physical Education and Recreation. Since 1990, she has been the
Associate Professor of Adapted Physical Education at San Diego Community College
District-City College where she has developed new curriculum in sport and
fitness, created training manuals and workshops for instructional aides,
networked with community organizations and lectured for Fitness Certificate
Programs on special populations. She spent three years as an Adjunct Instructor
of Adapted Physical Education at Southwestern Community College and developed
curriculum and course outlines for new classes as well as identifying needs for
the college Disabled Student Services Program. She has been a Recreation
Therapist, working with head injuries, and a hospital Senior Recreation
Therapist responsible for supervising staff and treating patients.
Libby started as a San Diego Parks and Recreation Swimming Pool Manager and
Head Coach of the A.A.U. swimming team in 1970. While working as a graduate
assistant at San Diego State in 1978, she started teaching classes in swimming
and other sports for students with disabilities. She expanded to an adult
educator in aged disabled programs in retirement homes and convalescent
hospitals. She became an Adjunct Adapted Physical Education Instructor,
developing and teaching classes in swimming, weight training, aquatic exercise
and individual adaptives. She was a Recreation and Sports Coordinator for United
Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County responsible for coordinating community
recreation programs for teens and adults.
She is a member of the International Paralympic Rules Committee for Swimming
contributing to the development of swimming rules for international competition
under the functional classification system. She has been the Head Swim Coach of
the 1992 and 1988 Paralympic Teams in Barcelona and Seoul respectively. As a
member of the Board of Directors of the United States Cerebral Palsy Athletic
Association, she was Head Swim Coach for the 1990 World Games for the Disabled
in Assen, Netherlands and the Cerebral Palsy Games in Belgium. She has been the
swim meet director for various competitions for disabled.
Libby has authored Swimming to Win, Training Guide to Cerebral Palsy
Sports (1988), now in its third edition. She is also editor of United States
Swimming’s Adapted Competitive Swimming Handbook (1989).
Libby is a leader and has shown a long-term commitment to improving swimming
programs for individuals with disabilities. Her combination of teaching,
coaching and leadership has been an outstanding recipe for success and
improvement in adapted aquatics.