May 31, 2012
Some of you may not know that our own Coach Mel was a world class
swimmer in his competitive days. While still just 16, and between
his junior and senior years in high school, he represented the USA
winning the Gold at the Pan American Games in the 100 Meter
Backstroke and just two weeks later, after turning 17, won USA
Senior Nationals in the same event. Then after his senior year he
was named the Number One High School Swimmer in the Nation by
Swimming World magazine. He set records in High School
Swimming in Pennsylvania that still stand. Coach Mel went on
to win Gold at NCAA and World Championships during his college
career at Indiana University.
Coach Mel is being honored this weekend in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the WPIAL Hall of Fame induction ceremony. WPIAL is the largest high school athletic league in the nation as well as one of the oldest being founded in 1906. It stands for Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. You may recognize a few other names from the Hall of Fame – Arnold Palmer, Stan Musial, and football great LaVar Arrington. This is Coach Mel’s third Hall of Fame honor having been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame as well as being a member of his Gateway High School’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Coach Mel had some great parents supporting him while he was swimming. “My parents were a major factor in my swimming career successes. They were always supportive and incredibly positive during my top moments as well as my low points. They helped and encouraged but never pushed. Getting this recognition has given me time to reflect on their influence on my career and caused me to once again think of our parents at NFS. In all my years of coaching I have never been associated with such a level-headed group of swimming parents. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our NFS parents for the support and encouragement you provide for your swimmers.”