Former Stanford swim, water polo coach heads to hall of fame


Former Stanford swimming and water polo Jim Gaughran has been selected for enshrinement into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) as an Honor Coach.

Gaughran joins five other coaches from the illustrious Stanford program into the Hall of Fame -- Skip Kenny (men, 1980-2012), George Haines (women 1982-88), Richard Quick (women, 1988-2005), and the husband and wife team of Ernst & Greta Brandsten (1915-1945).

The enshrinement ceremony will be held on June 20 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The Hall of Fame previously was located for 50 years in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The weekend of events will coincide with the ARENA/USA Swimming Grand Prix at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara. The meet is one of the premier events on the USA Swimming calendar.

At Stanford, Gaughran excelled as a two-time NCAA All-American swimmer and was first-team all-conference in water polo. He captained both teams his senior year.

Upon graduation it was on to Stanford's Law School, while continuing to play water polo for the Olympic Club of San Francisco. He was selected for the 1956 USA Olympic water polo team.

Gaughran eventually gave up working as a lawyer in the office of the California Attorney General and took the water polo and swim coaching jobs at Stanford. As the school's coach from 1960 to 1980, he trained 26 Olympic swimmers who set 26 world records and won eight gold, two silver and five bronze medals at the Olympics.

His Stanford men's swim team won one NCAA title and compiled a dual-meet record of 129-47-1. He coached 15 NCAA champions with four winning relay teams.

Gaughran was on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Committee (1968-1972) and the U.S. Olympic Water Polo Committee (1964-1972) and served as president of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Perhaps of greater historical significance was his role as head of delegation of a swimming team team trip sponsored by the U.S. State Department to China in 1973. It was the first official State Department-sponsored cultural exchange to China since 1949. His leadership and diplomacy in interacting with China's diplomatic, athletic and political leaders, including Jiang Qing (Madame Mao) has been credited by both governments for helping pave the way for the normalization of relations between the two nations.

In 2013, more than 200 former members of China's national swimming and diving teams attended a 40th anniversary celebration of that exchange at ISHOF, to thank Gaughran and the other members of the U.S. delegation for helping bring China back into the Olympic family of sporting nations and ending the Cultural Revolution.

Gaughran becomes the 24th Stanford athlete or coach to be induced into the ISHOF. The others are: Norman Ross, Marjorie Gestering, Sylvia Ruuska, Chris Von Saltza Olmstead, Sharon Stouder, Ellie Daniel, Janet Evans, Summer Sanders, Jenny Thompson, Clarence Pinkston, Wally O'Connor, Al White, Peter Desjardins, Dick Roth, Mike Bruner, John Hencken, Pablo Morales and Jeff Rouse.

Also being honored at the ISHOF ceremonies in June will be Anne Warner Cribbs as the 2015 ISHOF Gold Medallion recipient. The award is ISHOF's most prestigious honor.

"Because we believe young women athletes need role models to look up to, not only for their athletic careers, but for their their post-athlete careers, we are ecstatic that Anne has agreed to accept this honor from the International Swimming Hall of Fame," says Donna de Varona, ISHOF's Chairwoman of the Board.

Swimming for Haines at the Santa Clara Swim Club, the then-14-year-old Anne Warner won a gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 1959 Pan American Games. A year later, she was part of the USA's gold medal winning medley relay at the Rome Olympic Games.

While the men's Olympic team went off on a celebratory European tour, the women were sent home and without having any college scholarship opportunities in the pre-title IX era, she retired from competition.

By the time she was 24, with the youngest of her two children in kindergarten, she decided to go back to school, eventually graduating from Stanford in 1979. After years of coaching and teaching swimming in the Bay Area, she went to work for the City of Palo Alto in the Community Services Department in 1985. She later was a pioneer in women's professional sports as a co-founder of the American Basketball League in 1996. In 1999, she was selected to be the CEO of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee and became the first female to lead a major US Olympic Bid Committee: San Francisco 2012.

She continues today as the President/CEO of BASOC, which over the past 17 years has hosted or helped to organize many events, including the 2006 FINA World Masters Championships. She currently serves on the USA Table Tennis Board of Directors and was elected to the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame as a "trailblazer". She is Chair Emeritus of the Northern California Olympians and Paralympians Chapter.

For more information about the ISHOF ceremony in June and to purchase tickets, visit,, or call 954-462-6536.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/International Swimming Hall of Fame

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