Captain Ransom Arthur (USA)
Honor Contributor (1990)
FOR THE RECORD: Founding Father of Masters Swimming program; Author of over 80 publications and papers within the sport; NATIONAL MASTERS SWIMMING RECORDS: 4
No sport ever had a founding father so well qualified to fight its battles than did Masters Swimming under the late Captain Ransom Arthur, U.S. Navy swimmer, coach and M.D.
Masters Swimming is a relatively new age group in the sort but Honor Contributor, Ransom Arthur, had been thinking about it a long time before he and John Spannuth held the first Masters Championships in Amarillo, Texas in 1970. As in all sports for seniors, there were all kinds of questions about what parameters should be set to control competitive physical stress and all out explosive activity for older people. Swimming lucked out when Arthur, a research minded medical doctor and a fitness minded career naval officer, became obsessed with the subject of swimming in later life. Dr. Arthur also had the government testing resources at his disposal and he was his own dedicated guinea pig. He coached a Navy team (including himself) that went on swimming for fun and fitness well beyond the traditional peak performance years. “Why when this is so healthy for mind and body, should we ride around in golf carts instead of swimming from 25 till 100,” Captain Arthur asked over and over again.
Johnny Weissmuller taught Ransom to swim when he was four. He started competitive swimming in 1937, swam briefly for the University of California, interrupted by World War II and then on to Harvard Medical School. Actually he never really left the pool or the ocean in his lifetime of swimming. He leaves the fastest growing age group of swimming as his heritage for hundreds of thousands of masters swimmers throughout the world.