Willy van Rysel (GBR)
Honor Masters Swimmer (2008)
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: World Points – 987, Pre-1986 Points-0. Total Points: 987. Since 1977, she competed in 8 age groups (55-59 thru 90-94). 42 FINA MASTERS WORLD RECORDS
Masters Ambassador, Willy van Rysel, may have done just as much out of the pool as in the pool for Masters Swimming in Great Britain. In addition to the more than 40+ MastersWorld Records, she helped bring Masters Swimming to the forefront in Great Britain.
Willy has competed all over the world, swimming in both long distance open water events and in the pool. At 92, Willy has held world records in seven age groups over a 30-year period – from 60-64 years through 90-94 years. Since 1977,Willy was in the Masters Top 10 for 20+ years, has set 42 FINAMastersWorld Records, has had 28 number 1 long course rankings and 50 number 1 short course rankings.
In 1972,Willy was the first woman to receive the prestigious Davids Wheeler Memorial Trophy, presented by the Marathon Swimming Foundation. Her citation read: “for gaining acceptance of women distance swimmers and for promoting long distance swimming over the age of 40 in England.” Throughout the years, Willy has fought a vigorous and occasional solo campaign in Great Britain to offer every event in every age group in Masters Swimming. In 1987, her dream of a National Championship was realized with the inaugural GB Masters Championships in Port Talbot. Her vision has now largely materialized, although she still gets annoyed by Masters favoring the younger swimmers.
At 92, Willy is now retired from her swimming career but will always be remembered for the huge impact she had on Masters Swimming, on the local, national and international levels.