Heidi O’Rourke (USA)
Honor Synchronized / Artistic Swimmer (1980)
FOR THE RECORD: PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1971 gold (solo, duet, team); NATIONAL AAU SYNCHRO Titles: 1969 (Indoor: duet); 1970 (Indoor: duet, team; Outdoor: duet); 1971 (Indoor: solo, duet, team; Outdoor: solo, duet, team); Synchronized Swimming All-American Team: 1969, 1970, 1971; 1972 Helms Synchronized Swimming Hall of Fame.
Swimming’s “10” girl, Heidi O’Rourke is the only woman to receive a perfect score of 10 from all judges at a U.S. National AAU Championship in synchronized swimming or for that matter in any sport. This synchronized swimmer was so perfect in the 1970-71 season that she received all tens in the world’s four biggest solo competitions of that year (the U.S. Indoor, U.S. Outdoor, Pan Am Trials and Pan Am Games). The audience cried, “11’s, 11’s”, in a Latin frenzy when she won the Pan Am Games at Cali, Colombia, before a panel of international judges. Her performance was so dominant that she caused the rules to be changed. Between 1969 and 1971 Miss O’Rourke won 10 U.S. National Championships and seven international championships topping them off with all the gold medals at the Pan Am Games. Unfortunately for Heidi and her San Francisco Merionettes team there were no World Championships in swimming until 1973 and synchronized swimming is still not included in the Olympic program. After her retirement in 1971, Miss O’Rourke toured Europe demonstrating her sort. She has been the national coach in Switzerland, Spain and Austria. Back home in the U.S.A., she toured 20 major cities exhibiting synchronized swimming after her movie role portraying Hall of Famer Eleanor Holm in the Barbra Streisand film “Funny Lady”. Her coach Marion Kane, who has turned out 51 U. S. National Champions, calls Heidi “technically the most perfect synchronized swimmer of all time.”