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.  


Ruth Ann Hood Wieser, Ph.D. (USA)

Ruth Ann Hood Wieser, Ph.D.

Dr. Ann Wieser is recognized for her contributions to aquatic therapy and rehabilitation and to adapted aquatics. She used her background as a Red Cross Instructor Trainer, Adapted Aquatics Faculty, and her Ph.D. in Education along with her desire to help others and used them to originate and implement one of the first university undergraduate aquatic therapy professional preparation programs in the United States. During this first 1999-2000 school year, over twenty five students enrolled in the unadvertised major at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, one of the first university undergraduate programs in the United States. A strong advocate for the aquatic therapy industry, she continues to sponsor one of very few adapted aquatic instructional credentialing programs in the nation.

As an active and vocal member, she served on the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Standards Committee setting guidelines for the industry, the Water Safety for Therapy and Rehabilitation Practitioners Committee making therapists and their patients safer in the water. Additionally, she was on the Guidelines and Operating Criteria for Aquatic Therapy Pools Committee working to make warm water pools safer for all users.

Dr. Wieser also conducts peer reviews for The Aquatic Therapy Journal. She mentors aquatic therapy students to become national presenters, write for publication, and to become excellent aquatic therapists.

During her long-standing involvement in aquatics for individuals with special needs, she has provided workshops and demonstrations at national conferences and conventions in the academic and the aquatic worlds. Ann is a member of the AAHPERD/AAALF Aquatic Council and the Adapted Aquatics Specialty Committee. Developing standards for any national program is a very difficult task, second only to administering those standards. Dr. Wieser plays a significant role in both.

Ann's involvement in aquatics began almost fifty years ago when she began teaching swimming in the early 1960's. By 1980, as the High Point, North Carolina YMCA Aquatics Director, she initiated both Special Needs and Special Olympics programs for the High Point City Schools. Moving to Greensboro in 1985, she began similar programs in the city and at the university. In 2000, she received the Aquatics Therapy Professional of the Year Award.

Previous Award Recipients...
Ruth Ann Hood Wieser, Ph.D.

Sue Grosse

Dr. Christine Stopka

Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D

Phillip Conatser

John Spannuth

Dori Maxon

Elizabeth "Libby" Andersen

Anne Green

Dr. Monica Lepore

Uri Bergman


Dr. Julian Stein 

Mary 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.

Ruth 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.

Louise 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.

Grace 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).

John 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.


Copyright ©   ISHOF | One Hall of Fame Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 | 954.462.6536 | All Rights Reserved |  Home |  Contact Us