Begun in 1986 after the untimely death of John Skehan (the swim coach of St. Bonaventure University and founder of SKWIM), we recognize his pioneering efforts on the part of Masters swimming in the area.

He opened SKWIM in 1979 to the newly emerging Masters swimmers. His summer clinic was the first program offered nationally to Masters competitors. This was a time when there were no more than 5,000 of us nationally. For most of us this was our first exposure to a coached workout. Coach Skehan was not only in tune with the times but he was out at the leading edge.

-George McVey (excerpt from the Jan. 1999 issue of Water Power Gazette newsletter)

The Skehan Award is given to individuals who have contributed to the success of Niagara LMSC, often over an extended amount of time.

Know of a deserving individual? Fill out a nomination form.

Kevin Vallely - 2016 Recipient Kevin Markwardt - 2015 Recipient George McVey (1987), Amy Johnson (2012), and Lorie Rick (1993).


2019 - Tom Meade - The most veteran member of our LMSC, Tom has been a staple on deck for 46 years (and counting) in Niagara. He's been described as both a dominant sprinter and as an innovative coach. While coaching for the BUMS, Tom incorporated USRPT methods, early adoption of power tower training devices, as well as other equipment use and drills. Tom has 70 individual USMS Top 10 achievements dating back to 1973, 24 relay Top 10 achievements, and 41 LMSC records across all course formats. He's also been a long time contributor to the BUMS, such as with numerous articles for their newsletter covering topics ranging from technique to mental approach.

2018 - Stefanena Kysor - An inspirational member of Niagara for over 35 years. She is the first woman to compete in Niagara at the age of 90. She has 74 USMS Top 10 achievements (and counting). As of this date, she holds over 40 Niagara records across seven age groups and in all courses (SCY, LCM, SCM). Additionally, she volunteered on the Niagara Board for several years: 1992-1993 as Secretary and in 1992-1994 as Fitness Chair. Coincidentally, she was coached by John Skehan at one point.

2017 - Brooks Howard - As Officials Chair for several years, he exceeded expectations by revitalizing the officiating structure within the LMSC. Pool events were staffed beyond USMS recommendations, officials were credited for their time in the USA Swimming Officials Tracking System (OTS), and we successfully implemented an officials payment program (for non-volunteers).

2016 - Kevin Vallely - Ithaca area coach and swimmer for over 20 years. Has displayed remarkable leadership qualities and remains an inspiring figure in the world of masters swimming.

2015 - Kevin Markwardt - Ithaca meet host for 18+ years. Hosted over 20 masters swim meets in both Short Course Yards and Long Course Meters, providing thousands of swimmers with competitive opportunities in our area.

2012 - Amy Johnson - Served as Secretary from 1996-2010 and Sanctions officer from 2003-2011.

2006 - Dan Kornblatt - Served as Chair from 2000-2004 and Vice Chair from 2012-2014. Dan has been the President, Coach, and meet host for the Binghamton University Masters Swim club over the years. Also, Dan received the prestigious USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award in 2015.

2005 - John Pilger - Served as the Registrar from 1998-2013 and ran the Newsletter from 2005-2006.

2000 - Bill Walter - Served as Chair in 1990 and Records Chair from 1998-2003. Recognized for his long support and service to Niagara over the years. Former President of Syracuse Masters and meet director for Syracuse area meets.

1999 - Lynn Fuller and Vern Hecker - Vern served as the Open Water Chair from 1997-2013. Lynn served as Treasurer from 1996-2016. Both members hosted hugely successful Open Water and pool events in Canandaigua Lake and Canandaigua Academy for many years. They also created the Canandaigua Sawbellies masters club at the Canandaigua YMCA in 1987 and later moved to Canandaigua Academy in 1991.

1998 - Jim Matysek - Served as the Registrar from 1996-1997, Top Ten Recorder from 1994-1996, and Webmaster from 1998-2000. Jim created the first website for Niagara and continued to support Niagara for many years while working at the USMS National Office.

1997 - Alex Goodin - In recognition of his tireless and unselfish support of Niagara masters swimming. He was a referee/official who helped at many masters events.

1996 - Jim and Betty Pitts - For their continued support and participation in Niagara LMSC activities.

1995 - George Bauman - Volunteered many hours in support of the 1994 USMS Long Course National Championship Meet in Buffalo.

1994 - Lola Donner and Sue McVey - Though not swimmers, had continuously supported their husbands' efforts over the years and were frequently known for contributing work for Niagara. 

1993 - Lorie Rick - Began serving as Coaches/Fitness Chair in 1996 and continues to this day. Founded and coaches one of the most successful programs in the history of Niagara LMSC: Rochester Area Masters Swimming.

1991 - Kay Turner - Served as our first Treasurer in 1987 until 1995, as Records Chair from 1995-1997, Postal Coordinator from 1998-2010, and Sanctions Chair since 2012.

1990 - Fred Dittman - Served as our first Officials Chair in 1989 until his unexpected passing in '89/'90.

1989 - Otto Dingfield

1988 - Angie Sinacore

1987 - George McVey - One of the founders of Niagara LMSC. Served as Registrar from the early 80's-1995, Chair from 1996-1999, and Officials Chair from 1994-2011. George would later become a 1994 co-recipient of the USMS National Championship Meets Award and 2012 recipient of the USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award.

1986 - Betty Lou Gruner and Gene Donner - Gene was pivotal in the early years of Niagara, both at a local level on the Board and national level as a Niagara delegate. He would later become a 1994 co-recipient of the USMS National Championship Meets Award and 1997 recipient of the USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award.



About Niagara LMSC

The Niagara Local Masters Swim Committee (LMSC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to a healthy swimming lifestyle for adult swimmers, within the Western NY region. The Niagara LMSC is the local governing body of U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS).

There are over 600 registered Masters Swimmers in Niagara and over 60,000 in USMS. Anyone 18 years of age or older is eligible to join. No prior competitive swimming experience is necessary.

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