Diversity in Aquatics Awards and Winners

Each year Diversity in Aquatics Program honors those individuals who are a part of the mission to help further the mission of curving the drowning statistics, increasing swimming competency amongst underserved /underrepresented communities, and increasing aquatic sports participation, for fitness, recreation, health, competition, and professions, for youth and adults.

There is a total of 7 awards given each year at the Diversity in Aquatics Convention. They are:

  • Lee Pitts Award
  • Jim Ellis Award
  • Arthur Lopez - Nadar Por Vida Award
  • Ken Roland Award
  • Maritza Correia - McClendon Award
  • President's Award 
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame - Sankofa Award

If you would like to nominate someone for the next award cycle, please fill out the following form: Diversity in Aquatics Nomination Form 

Here are the winners from the 2016 Convention. 

Diversity in Aquatics, Lee Pitts Award

“ For a person or organization that has demonstrated the true high ideas of volunteer service in the area of aquatics which has benefited the least served”

Winners: 2016 - Thaddeus Gamory

Bio: Thaddeus is the Diversity in Aquatics, Council's Coordinator, and is involved with several of the various councils directly, such as the Triathlon, Veteran’s, Competitive Swimming, and Scuba councils.  He is also on the ground and supporting the development of new swimmers and aquatic professionals, introducing them to innovative training modalities and expanding their area of interest, such as:, Open Water Swim Training, Intro to Scuba Diving and Underwater Meditation and Intro to Deep Water Running and Multisport /Triathlon Training.  

Thaddeus engages in this “diversity” of aquatic programming, as one of the Diversity in Aquatics strategies, used to grow and sustain membership and partnership. He is focused on promoting and establishing the Diversity in Aquatic Programs Year-round training,  in Broward County Florida, building the Diversity in Aquatics US Masters Swimming Club and Adult Learn to Swim Program, as well as Youth Swimming, Triathlon, and Multi-sport Training.

His current Coaching certifications consist of USA Swimming L2, USA Triathlon L1 / Youth and Junior and Race Director, US Masters Swimming Coach and Adult Learn to Swim Instructor, USA Cycling L2, USA Track, and Field L1, RRCA Running Coach, he is also an American Red Cross Lifeguard, PADI Advanced Scuba Diver.

He has been a High School Swim Coach and YMCA Age Group Swim Coach, in New Jersey and Florida, and was the Triathlon Liaison for the State of New Jersey LMSC, and is currently the Florida Gold Coast Masters, Safety Committee Chair. Memberships and affiliations:

  • Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, member
  • USA Triathlon, Florida Region Council, Diversity Committee Chair
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame, Donor/Supporting Member
  • World Open Water Swimming Association
  • Former: Broward County Public Schools - Substitute High School Teacher
  • New York City Public Schools Certified Youth Mentor
  • Children’s Aid Society of New York, Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator
  • One to One Organization - Youth Mentoring Training
  • New York City Police Lieutenant/ NYS Certified Police Instructor (retired)
  • Higher John Jay College of Criminal Justice, BA - Public and Governmental Admin
  • Education: City University of New York School of Law (3 academic semesters)
  • Florida Atlantic University - Masters of Nonprofit Management (DNF)

Diversity in Aquatics , Jim Ellis Award

“This award recognizes a researcher or coach who has obtained a high-level achievement from personal effort or initiative in a field or endeavor that contributes to the progression of aquatics.The award winner is has demonstrated a commitment to the gathering of information and research and has applied it in his or her field”

Winners: 2016 -  Dr. Angela Beale

Bio: Dr. Angela K. Beale earned a BA in English/Teacher Education and an MS in Therapeutic Recreation from Howard University.  Dr. Beale completed her Ph.D. in Physical Education with a focus on Teacher Education at The Florida State University.  Dr. Beale currently serves as, an Assistant Professor and Director of the College of Public Health, Department of Kinesiology, Physical Activity Program at Temple University. Additionally, Dr. Beale serves as a member of the American Red Cross, Scientific Advisory Council, Aquatic Sub-Council, as an editorial board member for the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance of Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). Currently, as the Director of Education and Research for Diversity in Aquatics, a non-profit 501 4c organization, Dr. Beale supports DIA, in fostering its mission to save lives and reduce the incidence of drowning through global efforts. Dr. Beale’s research interests, grant writing, and academic pursuits have been in the areas of physical activity behavior change, program development and evaluation for minority communities, drowning prevention and aquatic safety among minority populations, youth development, and culturally responsive pedagogy. Dr. Beale has been recognized with several national awards and honors; presented on the international, national, regional and local levels, and has been published in several refereed journals. She strives to engage students, parents, and communities, in relevant and inspiring experiences that enable them to take control of their lives.


Arthur Lopez - Nadar Por Vida Award

“ To an individual or organization that has given an extraordinary amount of their time, energy and/or resources toward diversifying aquatics


Winners: 2016 - Manny Banks

Bio: Manuel has been the driving force behind all of USA Swimming's diversity research efforts and has worked with the development of every USA Swimming Diversity Initiative. He has worked in the sports industry for more than 20 years for a variety of sports entities. Over this time span Manuel has worked for professional and collegiate organizations like the Memphis Grizzlies, AutoZone Liberty Bowl Association, Memphis Maniax, Bowling Green State University Athletic Department, Sports 56 WHBQ in Memphis, TN and other entities in the areas of brand management, statistical research, sales, community relations and event presentation.

In September of 2006 Manuel was hired as USA Swimming’s Consumer Marketing Director.

In his former position Manuel was in charge of the Make a Splash in School program, Make a Splash water safety program, recruiting campaign, and the 2008 diversity research study. In 2009 Manuel joined USA Swimming’s Club Development Division as its new Diversity and Inclusion Membership Specialist. As the Diversity Membership Specialist, Manuel works with clubs and organizations on a variety of diversity programs geared toward increasing USA Swimming’s ethnic membership through grassroots efforts at the local level. Manuel also works with LSC’s on membership outreach initiatives.


Diversity in Aquatics, Ken Roland Award

For that special person of color who sets a standard for humanity with their commitment to aquatics and who has lived their life with a passion for bringing forth a dream or vision, a way of being for humanity that is independent of any personal goals.” 


Winners: 2016 - Jerold O. Smith

Bio:  N/A


President’s Award

Conferred in recognition of an extraordinary or exceptional achievement to promote the mission of Diversity In Aquatics”


Winners: 2016 - Miriam Lynch

Bio: Miriam Lynch works as a full-time teacher and curriculum lead for the Accounting and Economics and Personal Finance courses at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia.  Her aim in teaching is to create an active, dynamic, and engaging learning environment in which students become change agents of their community by solving real-world problems.   Due to the successes of her students and collaborative team of educators, her team has been awarded by the organization Working in Support of Education a Gold Star Certificate which celebrates the achievement of having more than 90% of students at Lake Braddock pass the National W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test. Miriam is taking the lessons from the classroom to pursue a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Howard University in Washington D.C.

In addition to her work in the field of education, Miriam works in collaboration with various aquatic organizations to create, support and retain opportunities for swimmers, volunteers, and coaches. She has been a Senior Coach for one of the top clubs in USA Swimming called Nations Capital Swim Club under National Team Coach Pete Morgan. Off the pool deck, Miriam works with numerous programs involving education and drowning prevention, advocating for equitable opportunities for underrepresented populations. As the Director of Operations for Diversity in Aquatics, she works to create and mentor other aquatic leaders to develop programs towards reducing the drowning statistics for targeted populations.

Miriam has been a board member for USA Swimming National Diversity Committee, the Eastern Zone and Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS).

Miriam is a graduate of Howard University where she swam all four years and broke eight team records. She earned her degree in International Business concentrating in Information Systems and minor in German from Howard. She has a Masters from George Mason University.



Donate to Diversity in Aquatics



Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka


Newsweek Article

Read the Newsweek article featuring The Diversity in Aquatics Program and several of its members.

Read the Newsweek article featuring The Diversity in Aquatics Program and several of its members.

© 2017   Created by Jayson Jackson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service