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Fort Lauderdale – (March 2) The 2012 annual Paragon Awards will be presented on Friday, May 11, 2012, at a ceremony at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Paragon Aquatics, are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.

“Paragon is honored to be associated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and to recognize leaders in the aquatic industry who play a prominent role in the promotion of swimming, “ said  Jim Drozdowski, of Paragon Aquatics. 

“The annual Paragon Awards bring some of the most interesting and fascinating people each year to the Hall of Fame,” said ISHOF President/CEO Bruce Wigo.  “These are the unsung heroes who make competitive and recreational swimming possible, who save lives, who promote water safety and further aquatic education.”

This year’s Paragon Award recipients and their categories are:

Competitive Swimming  - Penny Taylor (USA) has devoted her life to competitive swimming.  As a swimmer she was an American record holder and represented the United States in both Olympic and Pan American competition. She has coached for over thirty years and has almost as long has USA Swimming’s National Team manager at the Olympic Games and Chef de Mission at FINA World Championships. 

Competitive Diving  - Bill Walker (USA) was a diver at the University of Miami before committing himself to a life of service to the diving community as a coach, judge, organizer and leader of USA Diving, Inc., serving as its President from 1998 to 2002 and was a founding trustee of the United States Diving Foundation before becoming its Chairman.  

Competitive Synchronized Swimming  - Stephanie Haeberli (SUI) has served synchronized swimming in all capacities from athlete to administrator for over fifty years, including 28 years as a member of the FINA Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee, including 13 years as its Chairman and 8 years as honorary secretary. 

Competitive Water Polo  - Sandy Nitta (USA) swam in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as 15 year-old and then her passion turned to water polo.  In 1971 she founded and became the coach of the City of Commerce water polo team and turned it into a national powerhouse.  As both a coach and promoter of the sport she loves, she has been and continues to be one of the most influential leaders of the sport in the US and around the world.    

Water Safety  - Ralph Goto (USA) has been the Administrator of the Honolulu’s Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division, since 1981,overseeing over more than 200 employees and a budget in excess of $8 million dollars. His team has also pioneered lifesaving technology now emulated around the world, most notably the development of jet ski surf rescues in the early 1990s.

Recreational Swimming  - Joe Hunsaker (USA) has been around swimming pools ever since his freshman year at Cleveland High School in South St. Louis.  He went on to win 3 national championships set a world record before starting a legendary career as a trend leader in the development of elaborate public water parks, prominent, therapeutic, wellness pools, and high performance competition pools, including the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, site of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

About Paragon Aquatics: Paragon Aquatics is a Division of Pentair Water Pool and Spa headquartered out of LaGrangeville, NY.  Paragon has been a leading innovator, designer and manufacturer of swimming pool deck equipment, including competitive starting platforms, for over 50 years, and is a proud sponsor of the ISHOF “Paragon Awards” since 1996.  For more information about the Paragon Awards, see:

About ISHOF:  The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to inspire everyone to be a swimmer by promoting the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.   For more information about ISHOF, see www.ishof.org

For More information:  call 954-462-6536

Greg LouganisEraldo

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