International Swimming Hall of Fame CEO Honored
Bruce Wigo, Chief Executive Officer of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) was honored on March 9 with the 2012 Lighthouse Award for educating the public about the importance of learning to swim and for developing a safety device for open water swimming called “Safe Swimmer.” The award was given by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and USA Swimming Foundation during the National Drowning Prevention Symposium in San Diego, Calif.
The Lighthouse Award recognizes a person who increases awareness of drowning potential and educates the public on prevention strategies. In presenting the award, Debbie Hesse, executive director of USA Swimming Foundation said: “Bruce is a fierce advocate for promoting the importance of learning how to swim. He believes that all children need to know how to swim because swimming is the only sport that can save your life.”
Wigo was also recognized for his recent development of an open water swimming device called “Safe Swimmer.” The lightweight, inflatable device is tethered around the open water swimmer’s waist and positioned just above the small of the back. It produces minimal drag while floating behind the swimmer but it can hold valuables and provide emergency flotation. Its bright orange color alerts boaters to the swimmers presence.
“Open water swimmers of all ages and skill levels have said the device has made them feel safer,” said Hesse.
An attorney by profession, Wigo has been ISHOF president and CEO since 2005. In 2009, Wigo self-published The Golden Age of Swimming: A Picture History of the Sport & Pools That Changed America. The book chronicles the pastime’s beginnings in ancient Rome, through the Victorian era and into the 20th century. In 1991 he became executive director of USA Water Polo and helped bail out the nearly bankrupt sport’s federation. Wigo increased its membership from fewer than 8,000 to more than 30,000 and more than tripled the annual budget to more than $3.5 million. He raised more than $1.5 million for the establishment of a water polo national training center in Los Alamitos, Calif.
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