The Suburban Aquatic League Coaches Hall of Fame


2007, Suburban Aquatic League’s 38th season, is a year to expand our Hall of Fame.  SAL currently recognizes those who have founded and maintained the League with the leadership hall of fame.  In the 04-05 season, SAL initiated the Athletes Hall of Fame to honor our competitors who started with SAL teams and have risen beyond humble roots to become All-Americans and Olympians.  This year, we have added the SAL Coaches Hall of Fame to recognize the men and women who teach and inspire our children to be and do their best.


Our Initial 2007 Coach Inductees:


Nina Smith (PWAC) – in a score of years, Nina has coached legions of little kids who improved through their high school years and became college performers.  She’s been an inspiration to younger coaches and worked hard to make PWAC one of the most successful programs in SAL and that included leading the team from the brink of extinction after a disastrous year-long shutdown of their pool.

Congratulations and thanks to Nina for being a part of SAL.


Paul Speicher (LMAC) – Paul coached for so long  (25+ seasons) in SAL that it’s strange not to see him on deck on Saturdays, at meetings representing his club, and at the Championships encouraging LMAC kids to be swim harder and be faster. It’s no exaggeration to state that hundreds and hundreds of Lower Merion swimmers learned their first few strokes from Paul, the teacher, and became champion athletes tutored by Paul, the coach.  Many of us also know Paul as one of our best SAL friends and his friends are proud he’s been part of their lives.


And taking her rightful place in the Coaches Hall of Fame –

Gabi Johnston – Any coach or swimmer who needs to know what it takes to be the best can look to Gabi for example.  Through personal good times and bad, Gabi always put swimming near the top of her priority list.  Gabi, who passed away during the 99-00 season, will be remembered as a paragon of valor and dedication.  The Suburban Aquatic League misses her.


2007-08 Coaches Hall of Fame Inductees


Dawn Pachence – Lower Moreland and SAL are proud to have Dawn as part of their organizations.  Other coaches nominated her because they recognize her coaching skills, her sportsmanship, and her dedication to her team, the sport, and SAL.  Dawn, without fanfare, consistently coaches well and is a fine example of what an SAL coach should be. A best friend to Hall of Famer Terry Peterson during her long illness, Dawn showed that being competitive doesn’t cancel out compassion.


Trisha Swanson – There are a lot of folks in SAL who miss Trisha since she left Souderton, but they don’t want her to be forgotten.  Trisha’s teams were obviously well-coached and SAL officers who received entries and reports from Trisha could see that she always had her act together.  Trisha is a person who could be a great mentor to any new SAL coach and SAL is proud to have her in its Hall of Fame.


Bruce Hockenbrock – Bruce is another coach who came from the ranks of SAL swimmers, became a parent of SAL swimmers, stepped up to be a club president when Methacton needed his leadership, and became the coach when they needed a coach. On first impression, people think Bruce is a very nice guy.  That impression doesn’t change with time.  Bruce now coaches at NAAC and continues mentor SAL swimmers and, perhaps, future SAL coaches.


Melissa Kengle – A diving coach for Souderton, Melissa’s rapport with her athletes is exemplary.  Like many SAL coaches, she also is involved with a high school team and, in that capacity at Springfield HS, she made herself available to counsel her divers and students when a school tragedy occurred during the ’06-’07 season.  Melissa shows that the best coaches do some of their best work off the deck.  SAL is proud to have such a compassionate person join its coaches Hall of Fame.


Beth O’Neil – A former coach with NAAC, Beth continues coaching for Norristown’s HS and is a summer club coach as well.  She still supports NAAC by encouraging her HS and club swimmers to support SAL.  Beth also served as president of NAAC showing that, like other SAL coaches, she has more than one way to be of service to her club and be an example to others.


2008-09 Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee


Bob Duffy – Bensalem swimmers in the ‘70’s heard Bob’s booming voice exhorting them from poolside with “Barrel!  Barrel!”  Duffy, a fierce competitor, continued to swim regularly into his 80’s.  SAL honors Bob for his enthusiasm and personal example that swimming is a sport for a lifetime


2009-10 Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee

Karen Walker - Karen’s ‘70’s high school diving career was stellar, including a trip to States.  As a longtime SAL coach at UDAC, she shares that talent and experience with her charges.  Dedicated to the sport and her athletes, Karen is admired as a knowledgeable coach and a tenacious competitor when it comes to her divers getting the most from the program she coaches.


2010-11 Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee


Two coaches, SAC’s  Lizanne Hendershott  and PVAC’s Brian Ziegler, have been nominated for the Coaches Hall of Fame by their peers as examples of smart, hard-working coaches who have been responsible for making great strides to take their teams to another, more successful level.  It is a special honor to be recognized by fellow coaches, and SAL is always proud to honor our dedicated coaches whose efforts drive our athletes to be their best. Welcome aboard, Lizanne and Brian.


When HHAA’s Kip Emig was a boy, he swam for a team that his parents helped start. He has been coaching in SAL for over 20 yrs., and now his own children swim.  Aquatic Karma!  Kip, a mentor, lives and breathes swimming and that dedication and enthusiasm prepares all of his swimmers to do their best emotionally and physically. It’s what Kip believes. Coach Emig, a promoter of our sport and SAL, is a deserving addition to SAL’s Coaches Hall of Fame.

2016-17 Coaches Hall of Fame Inductee

Lisa McClay, a U. of Pittsburgh swimmer and North Penn HS All-American flyer, joined SAL as an age-grouper in 1971, She served as NPAC’s head girls coach from ’79 to ’84, took some time off to raise her own two children, and returned in 2008 to guide her teams to 8 SAL championships in 11 seasons. Lisa is proud of all of her swimmers from beginners to Jr. Nat. qualifiers and NPHS 2016 state champs. Asst. Coach Mike O’Neill states that “She is THE favorite coach.”