After moving to Arkansas in ’79, John Southerland began working as a stroke and turn judge, starter and referee. John worked a preceptorship under Jane Stanton a US swimming national official becoming the Arkansas Officials Chairman in ‘81. He spent many hours traveling state wide conducting clinics- standardizing officiating within the state. John officiated at major regional and national swim meets including Region 8, International Meet, The Olympic Sports Festival, Southwest Conference championships, Division II swimming national championships and the US Olympic Trials. Officiating at national level swim meets provided John with the experience that helped him to upgrade and standardize the quality of officiating in Arkansas. Soon Arkansas swim meets were attended by out of state teams, and Arkansas swimmers competed nationally with confidence in officiating standards. HOF inductees John Garrett (‘93) and Mark Strauss (‘94) were both trained by John Southerland. After 10 yrs as official’s chair, John stepped down, but continued to work all positions for several more years. Always the professional, John earned respect statewide for his fairness and level head.
John worked for Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals for 44 years. He served as a Corporal in the US Marine corps; is a Lifelong Sigma Chi from the University of Memphis with a Master’s Degree in Business from Mississippi College. He is an avid runner, biker and triathlete. Currently retired, John lives in Fayetteville with his wife of 50 years, Vande. John and Vande have two sons who swam for the LR Dolphins. Sande- member the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame ‘04, JR national finalist, National Finalist, and NCAA all American at the University of Arkansas; and, Rick-Junior national finalist, Olympic festival, University of Arkansas and University of Arizona. John continues volunteer work as an Advanced Master Gardener and Arkansas Master Naturalist.