Neville Smith Honored By The International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
The South African has been involved in marathon and open water swimming for more than 30 years as a parent, coach, administrator and official. He has served as FINA open water swimming referee, and officiated at South African national, continental, FINA World Championship and the Olympic events as well as served on the Swimming South Africa Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. He has managed teams and events including arguably the most unexpected Olympic finalist and one of the most globally heralded open water swimmers, Natalie du Toit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Ned Denison, chairperson of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, described Smith’s presence in the sport, “Neville has been at the forefront of the sport in his native South Africa as well as helping expansion of the discipline throughout the continent. He led initiatives to increase open water safety regulations and helped develop mass participation community swims from 400 meter to 10 km including assisting at the IMSHOF Honor Organization the Midmar Mile.
He was responsible for the establishment of a sponsored national open water swimming series. These events grew the profile nationally and it saw the discipline become the fastest growing recreational sport in South Africa. He established a national squad system which supported open water swimming athletes, coaches and technical officials. A successful coach, he has also worked with several swimmers with disabilities, including Down Syndrome athletes who have established world records and won multiple world championship medals.”
Smith, now a coach at University of Pretoria, was interviewed by Denison on today’s WOWSA Live where he recalled the following:
* his involvement since 1986, first as a parent and then proceeded as an administrator
* his involvement starting in 1999 in the Midmar Mile (with the 8-Mile Club and seeding events) as his son Kenneth started to win domestic events
* his involvement was partly based on his knowledge of surf lifesaving
* guidance of Swimming South Africa on the international scene with Chad Ho and Natalie du Toit
* his involvement in the South African open water swimming circuit that includes fun swims where he organized learn-to-swim programs and transportation from the townships for the participants
Smith and his fellow inductees in the Class of 2021 will be honored sometime somewhere during the year 2021.
Editor’s Note: please accept our sincere apologies for the audio-visual glitches during the WOWSA Live interview.
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