Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame is a body that recognizes swimming excellence in the state. The induction of its first class in 1986 served as an announcement of the state swimming community’s determination to raise the profile of swimming in Arkansas beyond its emergence every four years as part of the summer Olympics.

The Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that seeks to recognize and honor those who have contributed to swimming in Arkansas and to promote amateur swimming throughout the state. Its club efforts both teach swimming and offer the first opportunities for competition to the college teams that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)–sanctioned championships to the high-level club teams that serve as launching pads for potential collegiate and Olympic swimmers. The hall honors athletes, coaches, and others whose efforts make competitive swimming in Arkansas a reality.

The hall is operated under the auspices of Arkansas Swimming, the state chapter of the national USA Swimming organization that oversees all major swimming competitions nationwide.

The selection process for inductees begins with a nomination in one of three categories: Swimmer, Coach, and Friend of Swimming. The nominations may be made by the general public, as well as previous inductees. To be eligible for induction, an individual must have been an Arkansas resident for at least five years, be at least twenty-five years old, and have made an outstanding achievement and significant contribution to swimming in Arkansas. Inductees must also exhibit good moral character and sportsmanship. The inductions take place at an annual banquet, an event whose proceeds help support a national travel fund for Arkansas’s amateur swimmers. In addition to the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame inductions, the banquet also honors swimmers from the club to masters-level competitors, all in keeping with the organization’s mission of encouraging the growth and development of Arkansas swimming.

The initial group of seven inductees in 1986 was led by Keena Rothhammer, Arkansas’s first Olympic gold medalist in swimming, having won the women’s 800-meter freestyle at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. It also included Patrick Miles, Pat Riley Sr., Dr. Bob Courtway, John Brooks, and Jud Bryan. Jimmy Miller was a posthumous honoree. In the twenty-first century, two or three new members are typically added each year.

For additional information:
Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame. (accessed April 12, 2023).

Smith, Michael D. “Swimming Hall of Fame Takes 1st 7 inductees.” Arkansas Gazette, May 25, 1986. (accessed April 12, 2023).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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