ISHOF HONOR DIVER PATTY ELSENER HOMAN PASSES AWAY, JUST SHY OF 90
ISHOF Honor Diver and 1948 Olympic Medalist, Patty
Elsener Homan passed away on September 29, 2019. She was just 27 days shy of turning 90.
Elsener was the greatest diver to emerge from San
Mateo county. She developed her diving
skills under the guidance of Clyde DeVine.
Patty went on to the Phil Patterson Dive Team that practiced at the
Fairmont Hotel Pool in downtown San Francisco, where she flourished for the
next five years. Her one-hour daily
commute saw her travel on a bicycle, followed by train ride, street car and
finally a cable car.
At Patterson’s, she dove with and was also
regularly coached by ISHOF Honorees,
Vicki Manalo Draves and Ann Curtis Cuneo as
well as national diving champion, Helen Crienkovich.
Elsener captured three straight U.S. Indoor Springboard
Championships 1945-47. She capped her stellar career by winning silver and bronze
medals in the 1948 Olympic Games in London. She took bronze on the 3-meter
spring board, just narrowly defeated by friend and teammates, Vicki Draves and
Zoe-Ann Olsen, making it an American sweep.
On the 10-meter platform, Patty took silver, again, just behind
The interesting thing about Elsener was she had a fear of heights. She said “And the diving platforms in those
days for the high dive were no fun. You
had to climb a ladder straight up to get to the board. No landings or contoured steps like they have
now. And if you had acrophobia (fear of
heights) like I did, it was hard just getting to the boards for the high
dives.” She added, “I climbed with my
After the 1948 Olympic Games, the U.S. Diving Team
did some exhibitions in Frankfurt and Paris.
Patty received scholarship offers to join the diving teams of Stanford,
USC and Purdue. She settled on Purdue,
where she met and married Earl Homan.
They settled down to family life in San Bruno, California, and had three
Elsener was inducted into the San Mateo County Sports
Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.