City: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Judy’s swimming career started nearly 80 years ago when her father thought the 1 ½ years old was the right time to start swimming so he threw her into Lake Michigan. Judy said that her mother nearly had a hear attack but it started a life long love affair with the water. She has won medals in pools from Iowa and Wisconsin to Bermuda. Was taught by one of the earliest innovators in coaching and has set world records.
Judy has spent most of her live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa but went to high school in suburban Chicago. Here high school did not have swimming competition for girls but her parents had a place on Lake Michigan where she spent the summer’s swimming. She did compete in AAU summer competition and gives a lot of credit for her success to how she got started. Her father encouraged her to compete and she received lessons from Walter Caty who also coached Olympic Coach Jim Counsilman. Judy didn’t get to test her skills at the highest level during the height of her talents. When she went to Coe College, like most schools, they didn’t have women’s athletics and internationally the 1940 and 44 Olympics were not held because of the War. Judy and her husband raised a family in Cedar Rapids and for 23 years she didn’t swim at all.
In 1981 she got back into the pool and joined into competitions and has been a force ever since. One of the highlights of her career came in 1983 at the National Championships in Milwaukee where she set the National Record while winning the 100 Backstroke. In the Iowa Senior Olympics she has entered 76 races and had the Gold medal placed around her neck 75 times. When asked how many medals she has won in all her competitions she responded, “I don’t know. I went back to count them but the box was too heavy to lift.” Fortunately for the sport her father was strong enough to lift and throw her into that lake many years ago.