Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't miss International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale


International Swimming Hall of Fame
One Hall of Fame Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-462-6536
Mon-Fri: 9 a.m-5 pm
Sat/Sun: 9 a.m - 2 pm
Admission $4-$8

Use search box at top right to find more Fort Lauderdale history.

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex:
501 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-828-4580
For pool hours and activities, visit: http://ci.ftlaud.fl.us/flac/

By Jane Feehan

Opened in the late 1960s, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) with its museum at Fort Lauderdale’s Aquatic Complex offers something for both water sports and history enthusiasts.

The museum exhibit 100 years of Swimming in Fort Lauderdale encapsulates the city’s relationship with the ocean and swimming.  Photos and  documents depict the early days of beach activities, the Las Olas Beach Casino Pool and on to Fort Lauderdale’s status as a world-class water sports center hosting national collegiate meets and Olympic teams for training. (The Italian Olympic swim team and an Olympic synchronized swimming team from another country recently practiced here.)
Olympians Weissmuller & Kahanamoku

Their aquatic art collection is a one-of-a-kind exhibit with swimming and diving-related reproductions from Paleolithic times to the modern era, with a number of originals featuring swimming and religion, swimming and mythology and more.  Also displayed is a collection of swim wear worn over the last few decades that’s sure to draw a chuckle or two. A timeline of US presidents and their connection to swimming and the White House pool should interest students of US history.

The crown jewel of the complex (opposite side from the museum) is the International Swimming Hall of Fame where I saw students from Europe ogling the swimming and diving feats of Olympians captured on 2008 film clips. There’s an extensive collection of medals, photos, films, and records of champions, including those of Mark Spitz (chairman emeritus of the organization’s board), Johnny Weissmuller, and recent swimming and diving stars, including Michael Phelps. Panels of Hall of Fame inductees with their winning stats and other information could keep one occupied for hours. The Henning Library is available for researchers of indepth aquatic history. 

Fort Lauderdale residents stand to gain an appreciation of the city’s  place in the history of swimming with a visit to the International Swimming Hall of Fame; swimming and Fort Lauderdale are closely intertwined. Let's hope another lease is signed with the city when the one ISHOF holds until 2015 expires. Renovation plans are currently under consideration. ISHOF should hold a special place in the hearts of those who love water sports - and Fort Lauderdale. 

This complex features a 50 meter pool and 25 yard diving board. Swimming and aerobics lessons are available. Lot parking for an hourly fee lies on the property for easy access. Gift shop.

For more on the Las Olas Beach Casino Pool, visit: http://janesbits.blogspot.com/2011/12/florida-history-fort-lauderdales-las.html

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, swimming history, ISHOF, Fort Lauderdale public pool, swimming lessons in Fort Lauderdale, Olympic swimming history, Olympic diving history, sports museum, Fort Lauderdale museums



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