The PENNSYLVANIA AQUATICS HALL OF FAME was established by the Pennsylvania State University in 1968, the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame recognizes those Pennsylvanians who have exhibited extraordinary service and achievement through aquatics. The Hall of Fame is located in McCoy Natatorium Building on the University Park Campus. It includes a plaque with appropriate inscription, nameplates, framed pictures of elected members, and a brief summary of their accomplishments.
Members of the Class of 2019 are: (These members will be recognized at the 2019 PIAA State Swimming and Diving Championship at Bucknell University)
Edgar Holmes Adams was a competition diver and swimmer. He represented the United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, where he won a silver medal in the men’s plunge for distance event, finishing behind compatriot William Dickey. Competing in the swimming events at the 1904 Summer Olympics, he finished fourth in the 220yard freestyle, 880yard freestyle, and the 4×50yard freestyle relay. He also competed in the one mile freestyle but did not finish the race. In 1880 he was severely injured when a shotgun blast accidentally hit him in the leg, leaving him with difficulty walking and requiring use of a cane for the rest of his life. To overcome this disability he took up swimming for exercise. Adams joined up with the Bath Beach Swimming Club and later swam for the Human Fish Club and the New York Athletic Club. He won the Metropolitan AAU Championship for plunging from 1902-1905
Betty Mullen Brey was a competition swimmer who represented the United States at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Brey swam for the silver medal winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the women’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay. In addition to her Olympic appearance, Betty Brey won two gold medals at the Pan American Games, winning with the 4×100 freestyle relay in 1951 and the medley relay in 1955. She also won individual silvers in the 200 freestyle in 1951 and the 100 butterfly in 1955. Brey won three national titles, swimming with the winning Walter Reed Swim Club medley relay at the 1956 AAU Indoors and Outdoors, and winning the 100 yard butterfly at the 1955 AAU Indoors. Brey graduated from Purdue University in 1953, and served in the United States Army as an officer. She later coached swimming at George Washington University. Her husband Paul was a high school athletics director in Maryland. Brey is a member of the Indiana Swimming Hall of Fame. Her son, Mike Brey, became a well known college basketball coach in the United States, serving as an assistant coach at Duke from 1987-1995, as head coach of the University of Delaware from 1995-2000 and as head coach at Notre Dame beginning in 2000. Her daughter Brenda was a swimmer at Louisiana State University and is a physical education teacher, while son Shane is the assistant athletics director at the University of Central Florida.
Robert Elmer Cowell was a competition swimmer, Olympic medalist, and U.S. Navy officer. At the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England, he received a silver medal for his second place performance in the men’s 100 meter backstroke, finishing with a time of 1:06.5 immediately behind fellow American Allen Stack. Cowell attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a member of the Navy Midshipmen swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1944 to 1946. He was a member of Navy’s NCAA championship team in the 3 x 100 yard medley relay in 1944, and won the individual NCAA national championship in the 150 yard
backstroke in 1946. He was also the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national champion in the 100 meter outdoor backstroke in 1945 and the 150 yard indoor backstroke in 1947. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he became a career U.S. Navy officer. In his memory, the Naval Academy annually presents the Robert E. Cowell Award to the graduating midshipmen who has shown outstanding swimming ability, leadership and good sportsmanship.
Rick Gilbert was one of the greatest divers to ever come out of Pennsylvania and was a 3 time PIAA diving champion (19591961) representing Lancaster McCaskey HS. After high school, Rick went on to dive at Indiana University, where he was coached by the legendary Hobie Billingsley. He would later become the first of Billingsley’s pupils to become a well known diving coach. Gilbert was a four year All American and won four AAU titles – 1966 outdoors on both springboard and platform, and 1962-1963 on springboard. Gilbert won gold on the 1 meter and 3 meter spring boards at the 1965 World University Games. He also won a bronze medal on springboard at the 1963 Pan American Games. A sprained ankle hampered him at the 1968 Olympics when he finished 17th on platform. Gilbert earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Indiana. In 1968 he became diving coach at Cornell and spent 39 years in that position. He was a three time Eastern Diving Coach of the Year. In the early 1970s he started the Rick Gilbert Diving Camp and in 1997 was inducted into the Indiana University Hall of Fame.
Frank Lichtner is a former Council Rock swimming standout who graduated in 1971, was a six time PIAA champion for the Indians, winning the 200 and 400 yard freestyle events three times each and was a high school All American in all of those swims. During his high school years he swam for the Philadelphia Aquatic Club where he swam US Nationals and Olympic Trials in 1968, which put him on the USS All American Team. After high school, Frank attended the University of Florida from ’71 to ’75 where he received First Team All American honors in the 800 meter freestyle relay. Frank returned home where where he was the head swim coach at La Salle College High School from 1991 to 2015. He led the Explorers to the Philadelphia Catholic League title every year he was the coach. His team was also the National Catholic League Champions 5 times and Eastern Interscholastic Champions once. La Salle has won every District 12 Class AAA team title from 2009-2015 and the PIAA Class AAA team titles in boys swimming from 2012-2015. Lichtner is a member of the Council Rock Hall of Fame, the Bucks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and La Salle’s Hall of Athletics.
Alexander Timothy McKee is a former competition swimmer and three time Olympic silver medalist. He was a successful medley and backstroke swimmer. McKee was born in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, but grew up near Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, so that he and his siblings could walk through a path in their backyard to the Suburban Swim Club to practice, where his father served as coach from 1962 to 1968. McKee graduated from Malvern Preparatory School in 1971. After high school, he accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he swam for coach Bill Harlan’s Florida Gators from 1972 to 1974. As a freshman in 1972, he finish fourth in the 200 yard backstroke and fifth in the 400 yard individual medley, as the Florida Gators finished seventh overall at the NCAA men’s swimming championships. In his three years as a Gator swimmer, McKee was recognized as the SEC Swimmer of the Year in 1972, won six SEC individual titles, and received four All American honors. As a result, McKee was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” in 1987. In regards to international competition, McKee was chosen as a member of the U.S. National Team for the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia. He finished second in the men’s 200 meter backstroke earning his first silver medal in international competition. Following his freshman college season, McKee qualified for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team. He represented the United States in three different events. Most memorably, McKee won a silver medal in the men’s 400 meter individual medley in the closest swimming decision in Olympic history by a margin of two one thousandths
(0.002) of a second. At the 1972 Olympics, McKee garnered a second silver medal in the men’s 200 meter individual medley and also placed fifth in the final of the men’s 200 meter backstroke. At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, he repeated his second place performance in the men’s 400 meter individual medley event. During the course of his career, McKee set six American records (short course 200 and 400 yard individual medley, 400 yard medley relay; long course 100 and 200 yard backstroke, 200 yard
individual medley). In 1998, Tim McKee was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor Swimmer”. He is also a veteran celebrity swimmer for Swim Across America (SAA), a charitable organization that raises funds for cancer research.
Betsy Mitchell is a former American competition swimmer, Olympic Champion, and World Record Holder. Betsy competed for Mercersburg Academy during her high school career. After Mercersburg, she continued her swimming career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before making her first Olympic team in 1984. At the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Betsy won a silver medal in the 100 M Backstroke and the 4×100 Medley Relay which won Olympic Gold. After the 1984 Olympics, she transferred to the University of Texas where she won 9 NCAA titles and was a part of 3 NCAA Championship Team Titles. In 1986 she was named Swimming World Magazine American Female Swimmer of the Year and set the American and World Records in the 200 M Backstroke. In 1988 she received the Honda Sports Award for Swimming & Diving recognizing her as the best among her peers. Also in 1988, she represented Team USA at the Seoul Olympics where she earned a silver medal in the 4×100 Medley Relay. Betsy was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Texas Longhorns Hall of Honor in 2000
Jamie Rudisill was the Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Coach at West Chester University from 1988-2017. Throughout his illustrious college coaching career, Rudisill has won 34 combined conference championships, and finished among the top four programs in the country 10 times at nationals while mentoring dozens of All Americans. His men and women have won 30 conference titles combined (19 men’s, 11 women’s), dating back to 200607. A grand total of 28 of his swimmers have won
conference athlete of the year, and Rudisill has been named PSAC coach of the year 16 combined times (11 on the men’s side, 5 on the women’s). In addition, he has mentored 11 freshman of the year winners. Under the guidance of Rudisill, West Chester’s swimming & diving teams authored a combined record of 331-136 (.709) in dual meets. The records on each side stand almost identical with the men’s teams winning 165 meets, and the women taking 166 decisions. He leaves as the school’s all time
winningest swim coach with the longest tenured career. Over his 29 years on the deck of West Chester University’s Graham Natatorium pool, Rudisill has tutored five female national champions, who have accumulated 18 NCAA titles, and four male national champions, who have accumulated eight NCAA titles, along with three relay championships. Four of Rudisill’s lady swimmers have broken national records, and one male has won five individual national championships in five different events. Upon his retirement, a total of 21 conference records were held by West Chester University (11 men’s marks, 10 women’s marks), along with four more relay standards.
Paul H. Wyatt was an American competition swimmer and two time Olympic medalist. Wyatt represented the United States at the 1924 Summer Olympics and 1928 Summer Olympics. He was born in southwestern Pennsylvania in the small coal mining community of Brier Hill, Pennsylvania. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, he won a silver medal in the men’s 100 meter backstroke event. Four years later, in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke for his third place finish in the event. Between winning his two Olympic medals, Paul Wyatt won the AAU indoor backstroke title in 1925 and was AAU outdoor champion the following year. He represented the Uniontown YMCA of Pennsylvania.