Everybody knows that the Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto. But, did you know that swimming’s international equivalent is located in Fort Lauderdale? Founded in 1964, this museum was created to expose the sport of swimming to the public and honor the countless athletes that made swimming history in a variety of disciplines. In hopes of learning a little bit more about the sport ourselves, and to enjoy the terrific weather in South Florida, we decided to make the trek over to the International Swimming Hall of Fame and discover what it had to offer.
While sifting through the long list of athletes, coaches and contributors who were inducted into the Hall of Fame, we came across a few familiar faces, including several Quebec natives, who made their mark on this worldwide sport: Sylvie Bernier, a gold medalist in diving at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and Sylvie Frechette, a double-medalist in synchronized swimming. The museum also featured a small section dedicated to Frechette, who, interestingly enough, received her gold medal from the Olympic Games in Barcelona at the Montreal Forum in 1993 because of a judge’s technical error.
It should come as no surprise that the Summer Games are prominently featured at the museum, and we felt right at home when we saw the numerous artifacts on display tied to the Olympic Games in Montreal. One piece in particular – a medal from the 1976 Olympic Games – caught our attention. After seeing the medals Carey Price and P.K. Subban collected in Sochi up close, we couldn’t help but notice how much bigger the medals are today.
Take a short walk from the museum, and you’ll come across an aquatic center that hosts a variety of national swimming competitions each year. It’s also the perfect place for visitors to take a few laps and enjoy the Florida sunshine. We would’ve loved to jump in the pool ourselves and enjoy the superb facilities on site, but duty called and we had to get back to work. We’ll save the swimming for our next visit!