Midwestern Hall of Fame


2022 Coach

Lisa Ellis - 1986 – 2022

Lisa Ellis has been a fixture for her club and Midwestern Swimming for over 40 years as a coach and athlete. She began as a Westside High swimmer, attended UNO focusing on a career in music and soon joined the Westside HS coaching staff and began leading swim lessons programs. When she joined the OWSC (later SO) coaching staff she focused on building 10 & Under foundational swimmers while learning all aspects of club administration. In 1991 Lisa was asked to lead the administrative segment for the newly formed Swim Omaha club. She traveled to other locations to see how programs like SO functioned. Under her guidance SO became a fiscally sound and competitive leader within Midwestern Swimming, which included 26 Midwestern Championships, countless All Star and Zone athletes, and laying the foundation for several national level swimmers. Over the years Lisa served in many leadership roles for Midwestern Swimming – coach representative, secretary, age group chair, Zone coach, All Star coach, and delegate to several USAS conventions (including an aborted trip to Detroit on September 11, 2001).

Midwestern is very grateful for having the benefit of the talents of this remarkable lady. It is through the strength and dedication of coaches like Lisa that Midwestern continues to thrive!

Tributes from Lisa’s friends:
SO Club President Bryan Kratky: Lisa will be missed as she transitions into a new phase of her life, but we are excited that she will have the ability to spend additional time with her family and friends. We wish Lisa the best of luck and happiness in the future.
Westside HS Coach Doug Krecklow: It is with great pride that I extend my congratulations to Lisa for her generosity and friendship which have developed since those early days when I asked her to not go to graduate school and to stay in Omaha and help grow the Westside and Swim Omaha programs. Thanks, Lisa, you are truly a Warrior!
Bellevue Swim Coach Peggy Speer: Coach Lisa Ellis is one of the most amazing women I have had the privilege to work alongside of, and most importantly to call her “my friend”. Over 20 years ago I was asked to mentor this young coach. Over the years that has grown into a very special friendship. Her dedication to her swimming family and young swimmers is unmatched by any coach I have known or worked with over the span of my coaching career. She has been an inspiration to so many, developing young children and their parents, as well as other coaches.
Over the years I have learned so much from Lisa about life. She is the most courageous person I have known. She has faced so many personal challenges but never gives up. Lisa has always given 100% of that which she is capable, often worrying that it is not enough. But it has been. She also brought balance into her life by making time for family and friends. She has learned to make time to travel and maintain other friendships near and far.
Even though Lisa has officially retired from coaching, you will still find her volunteering to work with those beginner swimmers, giving them those early developmental fundamentals they need to maybe go on to be tomorrow’s super star. Midwestern, Westside Swim Club, and Swim Omaha have be blessed to have benefitted from her leadership!

2019 Athlete

Charles Jones - 1978-1988

Charles swam for Coach Jack Jackson and Omaha Suburban Aquatic Club from 1978 to 1988.   The first of two Olympic Trials qualifications was in 1980 at the age of 14 in the 1500m Freestyle.  In 1984, he won the 400m Freestyle at Junior Nationals West where he briefly held the national record, an entire 15 minutes!  Blocked by a state rule denying athletes the right to train with private teams while participating in the High School program, he graduated from Bellevue East High School never having swum for the school.  Chuck swam at the University for Kansas under Gary Kempf where he was the Big 8 Champion in 1650 Freestyle from 1985-1987.

Chuck has been very active in Boy Scouts of America since leaving the University of Kansas, volunteering as an aquatics director and unit commissioner. He works in Global IT and travels the world having more than 1.5 million air miles while visiting 30 countries and still counting. He is happily married, has one son, volunteers with Bellevue Swim Club, and remains in the Omaha area.

2018 Athlete

Daniel Berve – 1993-2003

Dan grew up swimming for Monarch Swimming (now Sarpy County Swim Club) under coaches Jamie Blinn, Eric Rees, and Lynn Weaver. He won numerous events at the LSC as well as the Sectional level, earning multiple high point awards at MW championships across all age groups. He still owns many SCSC records. He was honored for team leadership and had several Swimmer of the Year awards between 1995 and 2003. His high school career included six individual state titles and two relay titles as well as 6-time individual and 3-time relay NISCA All-American status. Recently Dan was inducted into the Metro Conference Swimming Hall of Fame.

Dan served as team captain for the University of Minnesota Gophers in 2006-2007. He finaled at Big Ten Championships five times, was a two-time CSCAA Academic All American, and a five-time swimming All American. Dan competed at the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 100 Fly and 100 Back.

In 2007 Dan began coaching for the Minnetonka Swim Club in the Minneapolis area. He coaches the Minnetonka High School swim teams and has been Section Head Coach of the Year for both boys and girls on numerous occasions. His HS coaching career includes tow Minnesota State Championships. Dan has also held the position of Technical Planning Chair for Minnesota swimming and is currently on their Board of Directors.

In submitting Dan’s nomination for this honor the following was given to the committee: “Daniel Berve is what swimmers strive to be…when he swam, he gave his all. He was a leader who would always bring out the best in his teammates and competitors. He embodies what we should be training our Age Group swimmers to strive for.” We honor Dan Berve as what an athlete strives to be – one who gives his all, whether in the pool or out of the pool, and one who continues to serve the swimming community.

2018 Official/Volunteer

Mary Losee - 1993 - 2017

Mary Losee began volunteering when her daughters began swimming. She became a Stroke and Turn official in 1993 and continued to work in that capacity until 2017. In the early 90s Mary assumed a role on the Metro Omaha Swim Team’s Board of Directors and filled several different positions on that board. In the late 90s Mary was elected to the Midwestern Board of Directors as a Delegate at Large. She was elected as Administrative Vice Chair in 2001 and became General Chair in 2002 and served in that capacity until 2009. She then served as Administrative Vice Chair from 2009 until 2013. During her tenure on the Board of Directors Mary recognized the concept of integral leadership encouraging a balanced engagement between and organization’s key stakeholders.

When the 2008 USA Olympic Trials – Swimming were awarded to Omaha, Mary was quick to set the pace and volunteer. She served on the Local Organizing Committee in 2008 and 2012 and in 2012 assumed additional responsibilities as a Committee Chair.

During her tenure on the Midwestern Board, Mary led by being an example of true professionalism. She served as a role model to seasoned BOD members as well as an inspiration to those just stepping into a role of swim volunteer. Every volunteer would like to know that their time and effort made a difference. In her tenacious quest to ‘give back’ to the swimming community, Mary has left a legacy of the true spirit of volunteerism and leadership!

2017 Volunteer

Betty Kooy - 1980-present

As so many other parents do, Betty began her involvement with Midwestern Swimming when her children began their swimming careers with the Hastings Y Aquatic Club. She began by timing and then became a Stroke and Turn Judge and picked up a few more certifications along the way including Admin Referee, a position you see her in most often today. She has volunteered at the club level and served for many years as secretary for HYAC and then was recycled to treasurer for HYAC long after her childrens' involvement. For a short time she served as Age Group Chair for Midwestern swimming until Dr. Richard Hammer saw the potential for a Midwestern Office and an Executive Secretary. She has served on several USA Swimming committees including the Times committee and currently serves as the chair of the Scholastic All America subcommittee and Central Zone Secretary. She also was a chair of the Administration team of the Local Organization Committee for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 USA Olympic Trials-Swimming.

Betty has served Midwestern Swimming for 30 years as Executive Secretary, exhibiting leadership and dedication to all whose lives she has touched. She has initiated, guided, trained and mentored hundreds of incoming Board of Directors members, officials, coaches, and parents. Through her sport knowledge, pleasant demeanor and professionalism, she has been influential in promoting and attaining excellent working relationships between swimming clubs and their respective administrative entities - officials, volunteers, and parents. She is known as the 'go-to' person for MW and has always placed the best interest of the athletes first and foremost!

Betty currently resides in Hastings with Vernon, her husband of 54 year. She has three children and five grandchildren in California and Texas with two children still swimming as Masters swimmers and three grandchildren swimming on Y teams.

It is long-time servant leaders like Betty who keep the history, support the organization, and continue to be involved both at the volunteer and professional level that make Midwestern and USA Swimming the excellent organizations that they are.

2016 Athlete

Coley Stickels –  1988-1996

Coley began his Midwestern Swimming career at Brownell Talbot with Andy Sekowski as his coach. He soon began swimming fast and setting Midwestern records, several which still stand today (10 & U 50y free, 11-12 50y free, 15-16 800y free relay). While swimming for the University of Arizona and graduating with honors, he was a 14 time NCAA All-American, a USA National Team Member 1999-2001, World Championship Finalist 1999, NCAA Silver Medalist, 1st Team Academic All-American and Olympic Trials Finalist.

Coley began his coaching career at the University of Arizona and later served as Assistant Coach at Dartmouth. In 2003 Coley joined Lake Oswego Swim Club in Oregon, rising to Head Coach, and putting the club on the swimming map with over 100 state records, over 100 Top 16 times including 40 #1 nationally ranked individuals and relays, 8 National Age Group records in 2008 and 3 2008 Olympic Trials qualifiers, including the youngest athlete to ever attend Trials (12 yrs old). He then joined Phoenix Swim Club in 2011 coaching national and international swimmers, including former world record holder Roland Schoeman. Coley has been with Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita, CA since 2013 where his swimmers have achieved unprecedented success, including 50 Southern California Swimming records, 5 American Records, 1 World Record, 6 National Age Group records and 4 National High School records. Four swimmers qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio, including Gold and Silver medalist Abbey Weitzell and finalist Santo Condorelli. His swimmers have earned medals at World Championships, Pan-Am Games, World University Games, Pan-Pacifics, Short Course Worlds, and competed in Junior Worlds and Junior Pan-Pacs. He has served as USA National team coach and as a staff member for the Short Course World Team in Doha, Qatar in 2014.

By inducting Coley Stickels into the Midwestern Hall of Fame, we honor an extremely high-achieving former athlete for his accomplishments both as a Midwestern swimmer and as one of the most respected sprint coaches in the world today.

2016 Coach

Lynn Weaver  - 1977-2015

Lynn started his career coaching for the Rams Swim Club. Lynn later went to Papillion LaVista High School as their first coach. He founded a high school program that to this day develops character and instills the self-discipline required to excel in both swimming and life. He help start the Monarch Swim Club, now Sarpy County Swim Club, 22 years ago and serves as Chairman of the Board for SCSC. Lynn served on the Midwestern Board of Directors for many years in several positions including Senior Chair and as a member of the Sanction Committee. He has coached many high school, age group and senior champions and had the 2003 NSAA Boys Championship  as well as boys runner-up teams in 2001, 2002, and 2004. His swimmers have received swimming scholarships to numerous colleges including the Universities of Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Eastern Michigan and Truman.

Comments from his swimmers tell of the impact Coach Weaver has had on his athletes: “I learned about dedication, concentration, discipline, friendship, and love through my work as a swimmer…”. “His guidance and support empowered me to be the athlete and person I was during those years, throughout my time as a collegiate student-athlete, and in my everyday life today.” “The daily ‘punishments’ Lynn Weaver dished out in the form of workouts taught me that hard work, dedication, tenacity, and perseverance will help me achieve whatever goal I set for myself…”. “He showed me what it meant to sacrifice something, stick to goals and work hard.”

Lynn Weaver has continued to shape the characters of student-athletes through the sport of swimming, challenging young men and women to reach their full potential and fulfill their roles as citizens, professionals and family members. By honoring Coach Weaver as a Midwestern Hall of Fame member, we say ‘thank you’ for the positive impact he has had on so many young athletes throughout his coaching career and recognize his commitment to the sport of swimming and his contributions to Midwestern Swimming.

2015 Athlete

Shandra C Johnson Quirk - 1991-2000

Shandra started swimming competitively at the age of 12 for the Metro Omaha Swim Team. By the time she was 14 she was breaking club records and her name appears in the MW records as early as 1992 as a 12 year old. While swimming for Omaha North High School Shandra was a 12-time All-American Swimmer. She also represented the United States on the US National Junior Team in France and competed in the 200 meter freestyle at the 1996 Olympic Trials. She was the Outstanding Performer and Newcomer of the Year for the Big 12 as a freshman in 1997-1998 at the University of Nebraska with five for five gold medal performances at the Big 12 Conference Championships. Her Big 12 titles include the 200 freestyle (school record) 200 backstroke, and 500 freestyle (school record).  As a sophomore Shandra was again named the Big 12’s Outstanding performer of the year. During the 1999-2000 season Shandra battled stress fractures in the lumbar spine, but still claimed 8th and 9th All-American Honors at the NCAAs and helped Nebraska to the Big 12 Conference Title. Shandra transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park to continue her college career. She underwent spine surgery in 2000 which prevented her from competing at the 2000 Olympic Trials. After a year of recover and a medical ‘red-shirt’ year, Shandra went on to compete in the ACC Championships and won titles and set school records in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, and 500 freestyle as well as winning the ACC Meet Most Valuable Swimmer. She qualified for NCAAs and obtained her 10th NCAA All-American honor along with personal best times in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Shandra and her family currently live in North Carolina.

2015 Athlete

Scott C Usher - 1990-2008

Scott began his swimming career at the Grand Island YMCA in the early 90s. He competed for Grand Island High School and won Nebraska State Championships in the 100 Breaststroke in 2000 and 2001 and in the 200 IM in 2001. He became a Wyoming Cowboy and is the most decorated swimmer in Wyoming history, earning a spot on the 2004 Olympic team and placing 7th in the 200 breaststroke at the Olympic Games in Athens. He was a four-time First Team All-American and earned five All-American honors during his collegiate career. He holds the Wyoming record in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events and won 35 of 36 dual meet breaststroke races. After finishing his collegiate swimming career, he served as volunteer assistant coach while completing his degree in Criminal Justice. He competed in numerous national and international meets and placed 2nd in the 100 breaststroke and 3rd in the 200 breaststroke at the ConocoPhillips National Championships. He qualified for the World Championships from 2004-2007, earning a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships, a bronze medal at the 2005 Pan-Pacific Championship, and a bronze at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008.

Scott and his wife Shannon currently live in Ohio and they are expecting their first child any day. Scott is transitioning into a sports administration career and remembering and embracing his roots and reaching out to others whenever possible. To quote – ‘I look forward to being in a position to give back to organizations and people that have given me so much. I live a truly blessed life.”

2015 Coach

Richard G Paine - 1984 - 2010

Rick served as head coach of Nebraska Aquatics from 1984 to 2000. During the same time period he also served as an Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for the University of Nebraska. During Rick’s tenure Nebraska Aquatics won multiple Midwestern short course and long course team championships and in 1986 NA won the Men’s Junior National Team Championships. In 1987 Rick coached Midwestern’s first U.S. individual National Champion, 14 year old LaDonnis Loury who won the 100 meter fly and was ranked second in the world at the time. Rick coached several national champions, National Qualifiers, Junior National Qualifiers, and in 1994 had finalists at Zones, Junior Nationals, the U.S. Open, Senior Nationals and the Olympic Games. At the University of Nebraska he coached Olympians, NCAA All-Americans, and Academic All-Americans as well as contributing to numerous Conference Championship teams and NCAA Top 10 teams. In 2000 he served as one of the Olympic Head Coaches for the Austrian Olympic Team. Many of his former swimmers have gone on to successful coaching careers. He also worked with Heartland Aquatics and the Kearney Swim Team in Nebraska.

In 2001 Rick and Cal Bentz started American College Connection, a recruiting education company that helps high school age swimmers get recruited by college coaches and find scholarships. He contributes articles on college recruiting in SwimSwam magazine.

2015 Coach

Sally R Stevens - 1971 - 2000

Sally has been involved in swimming in Nebraska for many decades. She competed at what is now the University of Nebraska-Kearney in the early 1960s. She has been involved in AAU, USA Swimming, YMCA, and NSAA swimming. Her coaching career began in 1971 coaching the Hastings Swim Club. When the YMCA club and HSC merged, she became the coach of the Hastings Y Aquatic Club until 1984 when she and her husband Russ moved to Norfolk. She left behind a large group of age group swimmers that were dominant in both high school and Midwestern Swimming throughout the late 80s. She became head coach of the Norfolk YMCA Aquajets in 1986. A year later she began coaching the Norfolk High School swim team and became the head diving coach. Her impact was felt immediately with Norfolk High having its first state champion in 1987. Sally coached club until 2000. She continues to coach high school and diving at Norfolk High.

Sally has been a MW Zone coach on at least four occasions; she has had two Olympic Trials qualifiers, three Junior National Qualifiers, and has been part of all of Norfolk’s 18 individual high school state champions. Norfolk swimmer David Morrow won the Junior Nationals in the 100 free in 1997. Numerous Hastings and Norfolk swimmers went on to successful collegiate careers. She has mentored several future coaches, including Docker Hartfield of Swim Omaha and Kirk Ermels, assistant coach at the University of Wyoming. All of Sally’s swimmers would agree that Sally was tough on them, but that they learned not only swimming skills but also skills for a lifetime from Sally. There were no quitters!

2014 Athlete

David J Lammel - 1970s to present

David Lammel has been the Program Director for the Millard Aquatic Club since 1989. David grew up in Midwestern Swimming, swimming for Westside Swim Club as a child. He established several long-standing MW records, one which held from 1977 until 2014. He was a 7-time All-American at Millard South under Coach Rob Wenstedt (1982-1984) and held the Nebraska State High School record in the 100 yd butterfly for 26 years. David has coached swimmers at all levels from age groupers to Junior National and Senior National qualifiers. David was a multi-sport athlete himself, playing baseball at the college level. He is a professional pilot.

David and his wife Sue have two daughters, Mackenzie and Madison, and currently reside in Millard. David is a great example of a former swimmer who remains attached to his sport and gives back to the sport with time, talent, energy, and most of all, instills the love of the sport in younger generations.

 2014 Athlete

Georganne Peterson Williams - 1970s

Georganne was the top Midwestern female swimmer from 1973 until her retirement. She lived in Glenwood, IA, and commuted daily to swim practices. She held records in multiple events in each age group during her career. As a 12 year old she ranked second in the 100 breaststroke behind Tracy Caulkins. She made her first Junior Nationals at age 13 and swam two others before making three Senior Nationals. She was inducted into the Iowa High School Hall of Fame as a three time record holder in the 100 butterfly and 200 Individual Medley. She received a swimming scholarship to Texas Christian University where she swam for one year. She was a Midwestern Swimmer of the Year three times during her career.

Georganne is a certified mortician and runs the family mortuary business in Glenwood, IA. She is married and has one son. She is active in her local community.

2013 Athlete

J Bradley Barr - 1970s to present

JB Barr began his swimming career with the Lincoln Swim Club (now Nebraska Aquatics) when he was 8 years old. JB and three NA swimmers set a 9-10 Short Course Midwestern 200 Medley Relay record in 1979 that still stands today. JB’s son is working towards setting a 9-10 record so he can be in the record books with his dad. He swam for Lincoln Southeast HS and during his senior year in 1987 he won both the 100 back (52.57) and 100 free (46.13) which ranks him 10th in the All-Time Nebraska swim leaders today. He was part of the Lincoln Southeast Knights State Championship team in 1987 his senior year. JB attended Stanford University and swam from 1987-1990 where he swam on multiple NCAA relays. His senior year was focused on studying abroad in Italy so he hung up his Speedo for a while. After graduation be began swimming and joined Nebraska Graduate Assistant Dave Anderson to train with the Gopher Swim Club to make Olympic trials cuts in 1992 in the 100 free and 100 back. He was close and competed in the US Open (winter). JB began his Masters Swimming career in 2004 after the birth of his first son, thinking he needed to get in shape. In his first Masters Nationals in Indianapolis he placed in several events. In 2012 he swam the Masters Nationals in Omaha in the Trials pool and was on a Nationals winning relay with Carol Olson, Mike Irvin and Julie Barr. Sarpy County Swim Club is blessed by JB’s willingness to serve as web master and meet entry chair. Most importantly he keeps Coach Weaver on track (no one truly knows what that job is like!). He also works around the family schedule (his wife coaches) to volunteer as Stroke and Turn judge and a Starter. He does what he can to keep Sarpy County meets running smoothly. JB is a wonderful example of a former swimmer remaining involved in the sport of swimming. Not only does he still swim, his boys swim competitively, his wife coaches, and he gives back time as a volunteer for both his club and Midwestern Swimming. Those who work with him appreciate all that he does for the swimming community.

2013 Athlete

Kristian Rutford - 1970s

Kris' pre-adult swimming career included swimming for Vermillion Swim Club, Vermillion, SD, Lincoln Swim Club, Lincoln NE, Lincoln East High School, class of 1977 and the University of Nebraska 1977 - 1981. During his early swimming career Kris’s father, Robert Rutford, was very involved with Midwestern Swimming and was a 2009 recipient of the MW Hall of Fame award. As an adult Kris has gone on to become a very accomplished marathon swimmer.  Highlights of his marathon swimming accomplishments include a 1992 World Record solo swim at the distance of 28.5 miles (in a time of 5:53.57) around Manhattan Island.  In 1995, Kris was the world's first to complete the clockwise direction around Manhattan Island in a time of 17:48.30.   Kris's list of accomplishments include 18 completed marathon swims from 1988 through 2012 and 21 consecutive Chesapeake Bay Swims (4.4 miles). MW is proud to honor such an accomplished former swimmer who has made a name for himself in the world of marathon swimming!

2013 Official

Keith Eckerman - 1987-2011

Keith Eckerman has been involved with Midwestern for more than 20 years. He began volunteering to time at swim meets in 1987 for Omaha Westside Swim Club when his three sons began swimming and from there on he was hooked. Former officials chair Bonnie Berndt guided him toward his officials’ career training and he became a Stroke and Turn official, a Starter, and a Referee, achieving National Referee certification. His involvement in swimming has included serving as a high school official, a college official, president of the OWSC Board, a member of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Swim Trials, a member of the MW Officials’ Committee, a member of the MW Board of Review, and he has been honored as a Metro Omaha High School Swimming Hall of Fame member. He has held numerous training sessions for new and renewing officials over the years. Keith was an excellent teacher of officials and was always respectful, honest and thorough in his mentoring. He maintained a very high level of professionalism while working swim meets, whether as a S & T official, starter, or referee. Often he would leave his office and come directly to the pool to work an entire day officiating. He was always available to answer questions and would go the extra mile to help anyone. Keith is a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Pam enjoy Ballroom dancing and recently won 1st place in an Intra-school Dance Competition. Midwestern recognizes an outstanding individual in Keith Eckerman who has given countless hours over the years in support of swimming at all levels!


2012 Athlete

Lisa Arent Straits - 1980s - 1994

Lisa swam for Coach Jack Jackson and Omaha Suburban Aquatic Club in the late 80s and early 90s. In 1991 she was the Junior National Champion in the 800 freestyle at Mission Viejo, CA. Her time of 8:52.53 was fast enough to make the World Rankings for 1991. Lisa still holds Midwestern records in the 1500 and 1650 freestyles. She was a Midwestern Swimmer of the Year on numerous occasions and also a USA Swimming All-American. She attended Westside High School and the University of Texas where she was part of a three NCAA National Title teams. Lisa is married, has three children, and currently lives in Frisco TX.


2012 Athlete


Roddy Kirschenman - 1980s

Roddy swam for Coach Jack Jackson and Omaha Suburban Aquatic Club in the mid 80s. He was a World-ranked swimmer in the 1500 meter freestyle in 1986. He still holds Midwestern records in the 400, 500, 1500, and 1650 freestyles. He was named Midwestern Swimmer of the Year on numerous occasions. Roddy attended Bryan High School and the University of Wisconsin where he was a three-year NCAA All American. He was a member of the USA World University Games Team in Yugoslavia. He currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.


2011 Athlete

Matt Barager 1970s - 1990

Matt began his swimming career in Midwestern in the 1970s. He swam for Bellevue Swim Club and Omaha Suburban Aquatic Club under Jack Jackson. Matt graduated from Bellevue East High School and went to Southern Methodist University where he was an NCAA All American and Conference Champion in the 400 IM. He qualified for two Olympic Trials and was a member of the US National Team. During his career in Midwestern he set many records in age group and senior swimming, some which still stand today. Matt went on to earn an MBA from the University of Colorado. His work ethic and competitive spirit made him tough in the water and tough in the classroom. Matt currently lives in Washington, D.C. 

2011 Athlete Rory Berigan - 1960s

Rory was the first Midwestern female athlete to compete in the Junior Olympics. Rory's career as the top female athlete in Midwestern spanned 1964-1969. She swam for the Omaha Swim Club under Jack Jackson and Cal Bentz. She competed in the first Junior Olympics in Washington, D.C. and competed in two others in Knoxville, TN. She was Senior and Junior Swimmer of the year four times in Midwestern Swimming. In one Senior Championship she won seven events and swam on three winning relays and scored enough as an individual to win the team trophy, out-scoring all other teams. Rory graduated from Westside High School and from Creighton University with a 4.0 GPA in Speech and Audiology. She also earned an MA in Speech.  Rory now lives in Boseman, Montana.

2009 Coach

Michael P Hayhurst - 1981 - 2000

Mike Hayhurst began his coaching career in Nebraska as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Nebraska where he also served as the Assistant Swim Coach and Recruiting Coordinator (1983-1986). His club coaching includes Nebraska Aquatics (1982) and Metro Omaha Swim Team (1987-2000). Mike’s swimmers’ achievements include numerous Junior, National, and Olympic qualifiers, several with Top 100 ranking, numerous high school champions, team championships, and swimming scholarship recipients. Mike was honored by his peers as Midwestern Coach of the Year in 1988, 1994, 1995, 1997 1998, 1999 and 2000. He served MW in the capacity of Head All Star and Head Zone Coach on several occasions. In 1995 he was awarded the ASCA Award of Excellence. Mike currently is Head Coach of the Scottsbluff-Gering High School Swimming and Diving Team and teaches 8th grade Social Studies in Scottsbluff.

Mike served on the Midwestern Board of Directors for several years, including serving as Senior Chair. His strong swimming background and strength as a quiet leader were most valued by Midwestern Swimming. Mike leaves an indelible positive imprint on all those he comes in contact with – his swimmers and swim families, his coach colleagues, and those who have worked with him professionally. He is truly a consummate professional swim coach!

2009 Volunteer

Wendell Groth - 1960s

Although Wendell Groth’s tenure as a volunteer for Midwestern goes back to the 1960s, his imprint on Midwestern is still felt by all today. Mr. Groth served as president of the Lincoln Swim Club, was a referee and mentored many officials throughout Midwestern. He was a delegate from MW to the AAU where he also served on the board of trustees. Mr. Groth was very instrumental in the building of Woods Pool in Lincoln, considered at the time to be a world-class facility. Mr. Groth was then able to convince the AAU to bring the National Championships to Lincoln in 1966 and 1968. The great swimmers of the late ‘60s all came to Woods Pool in Lincoln to establish their place among the swimming legends. Today the Woods facility is still used for Midwestern Championships, and in 2010 will the facility will host the Central Zone Championships, thanks to the foresight of Wendell Groth.

2009 Volunteer

Robert Rutford - 1970s and 1980s

Dr. Robert Rutford served as president of the Lincoln Swim Club, was a referee, served as meet director for several meets at Woods Pool, and served a director of the swimming portion of the Junior Olympic Multisport National Championships in Lincoln for four years. Dr. Rutford was a research geologist whose work took him all over the globe, but he still found time to get involved in the sport of swimming when his children were swimmers in Lincoln, giving countless volunteer hours. Dr. Rutford served as Interim Chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980-1981. He has retired from his position as Chancellor of the University of Texas at Dallas and currently resides in the Dallas area. Volunteers like Dr. Rutford are the foundation of a strong swimming community.

2009 Athlete

Barb Harris - 1970s

Barb Harris was an outstanding swimmer for Midwestern during the 1970s. Her swimming achievements include winning three gold medals at the 1974 National Junior Olympics before a hometown crowd in Lincoln, NE, winning an NCAA Division I national championship butterfly title, anchoring an American record Medley Relay, earning a gold medal at the World University Games, and qualifying for two Olympic Trials. Barb’s time of 59.13 from 1974 still stands as a MW 13-14 Long Course record. Barb earned her BA at the University of North Carolina and her MPA from Indiana University. She has worked as an age group, collegiate and Masters coach, carries ASCA level 3 certification, and currently serves as a coach for Central Oregon Masters Aquatics.  She served as Coach of the US team at the FINA World Masters Swimming Championships in 2004. Barb is a great example of an athlete and mentor who has inspired her teammates, swimmers, and others to work harder and smarter.

2009 Athlete

Jeff Evans  1960s and 1970s

Jeff Evans began his swimming career at the age of nine. He says he got two 5th place ribbons at his first meet – and he was hooked! Jeff qualified for AAU regionals in 1967 and again in 1969. In 1969 Jeff received the Midwestern Swimmer of the Year award – 40 years prior to being inducted into the MW Hall of Fame. He commented that he could not believe anyone remembered what he did 40 years ago. Jeff won the 400 yd freestyle at the Nebraska State High School Meet as a freshman (yes, 400 yd) and was the first Nebraska high school swimmer to break 4:00.00. His high school career included numerous other championships with four straight 400 free titles. Jeff’s collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin included qualifying for four NCAA meets, All American status, school records in 500, 1000, and 1650 as a freshman, and placing in a number of individual events at the Big 10. He was team captain his senior year, graduating in 1977 with a degree in construction administration. He also qualified for the National AAU meets in 1974-1976. Jeff was named to the Fremont High School Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Nebraska High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 (the third male swimmer to hold that distinction along with Chuck Sharpe and David Lammel).  Jeff is a great example of an enthusiastic age group swimmer who kept that enthusiasm for excellence in achievement throughout his swimming career.

2009 Athlete

Chuck Sharpe - 1970s

Chuck Sharpe was the first Nebraska swimmer to win nine state titles. In 1977 he set a state record of 1:39.24 in the 200 freestyle which still stands today and is the oldest swimming record in Nebraska high school swimming history. Chuck's 200 freestyle record ranked him 3rd in the nation; his 100 freestyle first place time of 45.568 ranked him 2nd in the nation; his 50 split (to the feet) of 21.537 ranked him 19th his senior year. Swimming rules limited Chuck to only two individual events and he was state champion in the 100 and 200 free for three years straight for Westside High School.

Chuck went to Indiana University and swam four years under the legendary coach Jim "Doc" Counsilman. While at Indiana Chuck was an NCAA All American and team captain. He was a three-time NCAA finalist, and during his time at Indiana Chuck won 12 Big Ten swimming titles and was awarded the Niles Barton award as the Outstanding Indiana University Swimmer his senior year.

Chuck was a three-time gold medal winner at the World University Games, three time National Sports Festival champion, and world ranked in the 200 meter freestyle. Chuck was also a member of the Cincinnati Marlins National Championship Team in 1980. Midwestern is very proud of the accomplishments of Chuck Sharpe.

2008 Coach

Cal Bentz - 1948 - present

Coach Bentz's more than 50 years of coaching experience includes 24 years as Head Coach of Swimming and Diving at the University of Nebraska and 22 years as a high school coach, club coach and teacher. His collegiate men’s teams produced more than 100 NCAA All Americans and the women’s program produced more than 80 NCAA All Americans. Under Coach Bentz, Nebraska teams won 16 men’s conference titles and 5 women’s conference titles in swimming and diving. More than 20 Olympians from all over the world competed for Nebraska under Coach Bentz. During his tenure at Omaha Westside High School, Coach Bentz’ boys and girls teams won 16 state championship titles. In 1976 the Omaha World Herald named Coach Bentz “Nebraska High School Coach of the Year”. He was a long time member and past president of the Nebraska High School Coaches’ Association and in 1997 was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005 he was inducted into the Westside High School’s Coaches’ Night of Distinction. Coach Bentz began his swimming career in 1948 as an AAU Swimmer. He was a four year letterman in swimming, team captain his junior and senior years and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1955. While coaching at Nebraska he was honored as an Alumnus of the Year and in 1992 he was presented the UNL Parents Association Recognition Award for Contributions to Students. Coach Bentz has coached and taught, provided competitive swimming camps and clinics in Nebraska and the Midwest for 51 years. He has dedicated his life to the betterment of the sport of swimming. His accomplishments exemplify a lifetime of excellence from which Nebraska and Midwestern have benefited greatly.

2008 Coach

Jack Jackson

Jack, or Coach Jackson as he liked to be called, coached several clubs in Midwestern Swimming during his 46 years of coaching. Clubs benefiting from his expertise were Omaha Swim Club, Lincoln Swim Club, Bellevue Swim Club, and Omaha Suburban Swim Club.  He also coached swimming at Creighton Prep and Creighton University. During his coaching career he developed four Top 25 World Ranked Swimmers, over 60 Senior National swimmers, over 100 Junior National swimmers, and over 150 National Top 16 swimmers.  He also coached and developed Nebraska’s first home grown Olympic Swimmer in Renee Magee.  During his final years of coaching he led the way in developing our area’s para-athletes (swimmers with disabilities), which eventually led to coaching two area Paralympians. Coach Jackson was also dedicated to being involved in the governance of competitive club swimming.  He served on Midwestern Swimming’s Board of Directors for 20 years, House of Delegates for 40+ years, USA Swimming’s advisory panel of coaches for 20 years, and American Swim Coaches Association’s (ASCA) Board of Directors for four years.  ASCA awarded Coach Jackson the “Excellence in Coaching” award for having athletes from Nebraska represented at Nationals for 20 consecutive years. Coach Jackson’s contributions to the sport of swimming were valued by USA Swimming as he was asked to be a part of eleven (11) National Team trips, the team manager of our country's 1996 Olympic Swim Team, a 2000 Paralympic Team Leader and the 2004 Paralympic Women’s Head Coach. Coach Jackson’s coaching career was full of outstanding swimmers and impressive accomplishments, but his most important contribution to Nebraska’s competitive swimming was his passion and dedication to the swimmers. Although he received several offers from programs outside Nebraska, he rejected them because none were greater than his love for Nebraska and his commitment to developing Midwestern athletes.

2008 Official/Volunteer

Doug and Jean Horner - 1985 - 1999

Doug and Jean Horner served as Registration chairs and officials for Midwestern Swimming for 14 years, having become involved because children Jenni and Ryan were both swimmers with the Millard Swim Club. Although Doug was the designated registration chair, it was definitely a family affair and Jean put in her time too. Both were MW officials and worked area meets. Doug also spent many years as a Millard High School official. When Doug and Jean first began doing registration everything was done by hand and the entire family would sit on the floor in the basement with 3 x 5 cards and a card box. When things became computerized, the new computer had to be upgraded to 20 mg in order to handle the job. At one time family members would 'read' the cards to Doug and he would type in the information using Word Perfect. Floppy disks were sent to Colorado Springs to transmit the registration information. When the family 'retired' it was clear that they had moved on to other activities. Perhaps if the grandchildren were to get involved in swimming, we would again find the Horners actively involved in Midwestern. Their dedication to excellence both as registrars and as officials set high standards for those who have followed in their footsteps.

2007 Coach

Betty Jakob - 1966 to 2000

Betty Jakob dedicated a very large part of her life helping Nebraska children develop character through the sport of competitive swimming. As a pioneer woman coach she worked with all organizations in the state of Nebraska - AAU, USS, USA Swimming, YMCA, and the NSAA - to further the goals of competitive swimming. Betty began coaching with the Grand Island Swim Association when there were few women coaches in the United States. She began at the Grand Island YMCA in 1967 and coached there until 1987. She developed several AAU National qualifiers, two USS National qualifiers, over a dozen YMCA National qualifiers, and three Nebraska State Champions in women's swimming who set five Nebraska State High School records. Two were inaugural Nebraska State champions in 1973. When Betty retired fro the YMCA she continued to be involved with coach High School for another 13 years. Betty is a true treasure in our competitive swimming world. She never sought the limelight, but tirelessly worked to light the passion for swimming in thousands of Nebraska young people throughout her long coaching career. Betty passed away on October 10, 2015 at the age of 85. She will be remembered by many as a coach dedicated to her athletes.

2007 Official

Bonnie Berndt - 1983-2000

Bonnie Berndt is a great example of what parental involvement can become. Bonnie's children began swimming when they were living in New Hampshire and she became involved with the sport then. When they moved to Mississippi she became involved there as an official. When a move took her family to Nebraska she again became involved with the local LSC even though her children had been out of swimming for some time. Bonnie served as Officials Chair and referee for MW from 1983 until 2000. She gave many tireless hours to MW by giving clinics, staffing and working championship meets, and faithfully attending the USAS Conventions for many years. Bonnie was a wonderful example of a swim parent who knew the value of swimming for her children and spent much time giving back to a sport that gave so much to her family. Yet Bonnie would tell you that she received much more than she gave and would encourage parents to get involved in the sport as a volunteer and an official. Bonnie passed away in April of 2013. She will be remembered as a dedicated volunteer.

2007 Athlete

Renee Magee - 1960s - 1975; 1976 Olympian

Renee Magee was the first Midwestern swimmer to make a U.S. Olympic Swimming team. She was a member of the 1976 team and swam the 100 m backstroke in Montreal, Canada. Renee began her career as a seven year old with the Omaha Westside Swim Club under Cal Bentz. In 1972 she swam for Bellevue Swim Club in Jack Jackson. In 1975 her father was transferred to Houston, and but Renee stayed in Omaha and lived with the Jacksons. Homesickness and missing her family began to effect her performance and the decision was made by athlete, coach, and parents for her to move to Texas with her family. She joined Dad's Club and swam with Skip Kenny, now the men's coach at Stanford University. Renee placed 3rd at the Olympic Trials in 1976. She was World Ranked in the 200 m IM in 1974, a top 16 qualifier from 1972 thru 1976 and a Midwestern record holder. She was also a member of the US National Team that competed in Australia. At the 1976 Olympic Games she missed qualifying for the semifinals by .01. She competed for North Carolina State for one year and retired. She returned to school and earned a Law degree. Today she lives in Houston, is married and has a son. She is an assistant District Attorney in Houston. Her mother refers to her as the Martha Clark of Houston. Renee encourages athletes to work hard and enjoy the sport of swimming. She remembers her swimming career as some of the best times of her life.

2006 Volunteer

Dorothy Jackson - 1960 - 1972

Dotty was the quintessential swim mom. She began her involvement with swimming when her daughter began swimming at the age of six. This got Dotty involved in working the scoring table at meets. She handled entries, seeding, and preparing the heat sheets and programs. She ran the scoring table at Nationals in 1966 and 1968 in Lincoln at Woods Pool. Along with Bill Boyer she developed the ballot system which is still used today. She also did all the entries, seeding and programs for the State and Metro meets from 1967 to 1972. The amazing thing was that it was all done by hand - no computers. It was usually an 18 hour day to prepare for a meet and then run the meet all weekend. Dotty was a board member of Midwestern Swimming and the Omaha Westside Swim Club. Her love for watching her daughter compete and her love for the sport made her one of the early dedicated volunteers in the development of Midwestern Swimming. In her later years she was able to help with meet entries for a club and help set up meets with the computer, a challenge which she accepted gingerly. Dotty passed away on Christmas Day in 2001 and Midwestern has missed her sorely.

2006 Official

Dr. Richard W. Hammer - 1970s to 2010
January 2, 1928 - January 20, 2010

Dr. Hammer's involvement with Midwestern goes back to the 1970s and the days of the AAU. When USA Swimming was formed, Doc served as a representative from Midwestern to the 1st ever USA Swimming Convention. He served as Central Zone director from 1978-1979 and also on the USA Swimming Board of Directors. He was instrumental in bringing the first ever Central Zone meet to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1980. Doc Hammer served as an official not only at the local level but also at the zone and national level. He has served as Midwestern General Chair on numerous occasions. Midwestern Swimming honored Dr. Hammer with a surprise USA Swimming Life Membership at the USAS Convention in Los Angeles in 1994. Doc Hammer has been a visionary in that the establishment of the Cornhusker State Games which includes a swim meet is due in great part to his efforts. Doc Hammer still gives generously of his time and can occasionally be found on a swimming deck as an official. Doc is a very special friend to all in swimming - at the club level, at the LSC level, at the zone level, at the national level and to the whole of our sport.

 Long time Midwestern official and volunteer Dr Richard Hammer passed away on January 20, 2010. Midwestern will be forever indebted to Doc Hammer for his contributions to the LSC on all levels. Lincoln JournalStar and The Nebraska Sports Council posted these fitting tributes to Dr. Hammer, a man who lived his life for service to others.




What is the Midwestern Hall of Fame?


To honor those athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers in Midwestern Swimming who have performed, directed, worked hard, and sacrificed to make the sport of swimming successful for those of the past and future generations.


Swimmers, Coaches, Officials and Volunteers


Athlete must have been a member of USA Swimming and a resident of Midwestern Swimming for a period of five years and retired for at least five years.

Coaches must have been a member of USA Swimming and coached at the club level either as a head coach or assistant coach, must have coached at least five years in Midwestern, and may not be only a high school or college coach.

Officials must have been a member of USA Swimming, registered with Midwestern Swimming and active in Midwestern, Zone, Sectional and National Meets, and must have been active in officiating for at least five years.

Volunteers must have worked over a period of five years and not be a person who fits any of the above criteria for athlete, coach, or official.


Plaques will presented to honorees at the Midwestern Awards banquet each year and a record of those recipients will be listed in a perpetual area on the Midwestern Website. Those honored may be living or deceased, and consideration may be given to those who were members of the former AAU, the early governing body for swimming in the territory.

Nominating Committee

The nominating committee will be the current MW General Chair, one past athlete, one past coach, one past official, and one past volunteer, to be appointed by the MW General Chair.


Nominations may be made up to July 1 during any given calendar year. Anyone may make a nomination. Each nomination should have the name of the nominee along with a list of their successes and contributions to Midwestern Swimming.

Please contact the Midwestern General Chair with your nominees for the MW Hall of Fame in order for them to be honored.