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John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award

Henry Powell - USA

2016 John K. Williams Jr. Int’l Adapted Aquatics Award

Sponsored by S.R. Smith


Henry Powell began his lifelong career in adapted aquatics in the city of San Diego, where he worked for 43 years. He taught his first swimming group of individuals with disabilities in 1964. Through Powell’s career in San Diego, he worked for the American Red Cross, San Diego City Schools, the AAHPERD, the Easter Seals and the YMCA.


Powell worked with United Cerebral Palsy/USA Swim from 1980 through 1989, where he coached a multi-disability swim team of physically challenged swimmers, ranging in age from six to 50, as well as having a deaf and hard of hearing swim team. He was the US coach representative to the US/Rotary International Junior Swimming Match for physically disabled and blind swimmers and the 1994 US/International Cross Disabilities Swim Team. Powell coached the San Diego swimmers who attended the 1993 and 1994 international swim meets and the 1992 and 1996 Paralympics. He also worked for United Cerebral Palsy San Diego from 1989 through 1999, where he established training for new and returning athletes, and coordinated training for all volunteers.


Powell worked for the San Diego Schools for 23 years, 1980- 2003. There, he developed and coordinated special populations’ swim programs for over 300 students in ten San Diego city pools, encompassing all disabilities, infants through adults. He was also responsible for training staff, and providing materials for classroom and pool teaching. He taught and coached children with hearing loss and developed a swim team for the deaf and hard of hearing. He also integrated a swim team into city and county USA Swimming competition. In addition, he in-serviced other coaches on working with swimmers with disabilities.


Henry Powell was a volunteer for Easter Seals from 1974 through 1989. At Easter Seals, he coordinated and provided swim programs for people with disabilities, aged three to 16, and provided the training and support for all volunteers.


Henry Powell moved cross country in the mid-2000’s and took his talents and guidance to the Northeast. He began helping the world of adaptive aquatics at the Adapted Sports Partners of North Country & Bretton Woods Adapted Ski Program in New Hampshire. In addition to swimming, Powell instructed new skiers with disabilities or those wishing to improve their skills; Powell developed an adapted swim program to follow skiing. Since then, the swim program has become an independent program thanks to Powell.


Henry Powell now lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts, where he has just recently retired as a Home Based Educator for Applied Behavioral Associated, LLC. He combined direct and indirect services for children with autism, behavioral disorders and/or developmental disabilities, including early childhood and school based programs. Adaptive Aquatics was used to assist in social-emotional development and positive self-worth.

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