The first non-competing swimming legend, Buck Dawson is known as the “Walking Encyclopedia”of the sport. Born William Forrest Dawson, the 84-year-old swimming guru took the sport to new levels with his work at the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

As the first executive director of ISHOF in 1963, Dawson grew the hall from a mere idea into a million-dollar operation as the showcase and archives of swimming. His introduction of the Swim-A-Thon increased ISHOF’s endowments and raised funds for individual swim clubs and teams.

Dawson first set foot in the industry after his marriage, when he became involved in organizing summer swim camps in Canada and the Ann Arbor, Mich., Swim Club. He met his first wife, the late Rosemary Mann Dawson, at the University of Michigan, but didn’t marry until 20 years later, after the death of her first husband.

Dawson chaired the Michigan women’s swim AAU for eight years and served on the United States Olympic Swim Committee three times. He also wrote numerous books on aquatics and is highly decorated with many accolades and awards.

Currently retired, Dawson still continues to tour the country giving speeches and actively serves as executive director emeritus of ISHOF. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.