WBS mission: Children's water safety
WBS mission: Children's water safety
The “Wild Bill” Swim Challenge honors the late Dr. William “Bill” Yorzyk (1933-2020), 1956 Olympic Gold Medal winner in the 200-meter butterfly who until the age of 16 did not know how to swim. That changed when he entered Springfield College and took to the pool under the coaching of Charles “Red” Silvia. With Silvia, Yorzyk created the now infamous butterfly dolphin kick which would propel him to win Olympic Gold, set 11 world records and earn a spot in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
In the 1970s, he used his swimming skills and knowledge of physiology and diving experience to assist in forming dive tables still in use today. Bill loved the sport of swimming, was an avid outdoorsman, and alongside his medical and military career, stayed active throughout his life in his local community. He could often be found "swimming" his dogs (or his daughter) across the lake, decked out in orange. He loved to coach and foster a love for swimming among students and adults, and would be thrilled about this Swim Challenge in his name!
Bill first learned to swim at the age of 16 at Springfield College under the tutelage of Coach Charles "Red" Silvia, and quickly developed into a competitive legend. After winning Olympic Gold in the 200m Butterfly in 1956, he paved the way of men's swimming domination for the next decade, and was eventually inducted into the
International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1971.
Bill loved his local "South Pond" (Quacumquasit Lake) in Brookfield, MA.
The Swim and Paddle Challenge in his name will benefit the sustainability challenges of the local lake, as well as a water based scholarship program.
Watch the video below: "Phelps, Gross & Yorzyk - 200m Butterfly Record Breakers"
Carroll-Jean Yorzyk with daughter Jenn and son Jeff and families, who continue the competitive swimming tradition and love South Pond.
Check out this great video on
"Phelps, Gross and Yorzyk -
Butterfly Record Breakers"
The world lost a legend in William Yorzyk. Not only was he a pioneering Olympic Gold Medalist, cutting-edge medical vanguard, dynamic leader, Eagle Scout, cherished husband, father, mentor and friend. Yorzyk embodied the motto "spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others", and spent a life teaching, mentoring, and coaching.
Bill Yorzyk was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, and grew up to become an Eagle Scout.
However, when Bill Yorzyk joined Springfield College at age 16, he did not know how to swim. Under the tutelage of Coach Charles "Red" Silvia, he soon proved himself to be more than good athlete, and helped innovate the now infamous butterfly dolphin kick. Bill would go on to not only win a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics in the 220 meter Butterfly, but set 11 world records, and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
His work in other areas of his life were no less impressive. Bill became a medical doctor, and served several years in the military. His unique skill set and understanding of physiology, diving and swimming, allowed hm to help set up the military dive tables, which are used to determine how long once can safely stay under water at various depths. His out of the box thinking also helped him revolutionize epidurals at pain centers in New England and Baystate Medical Center.
Bill was also an avid outdoorsman, and spent the last 25 years of his life on his beloved Quacumquasit "South Pond" in East Brookfield, Mass. He and his wife Carroll cherished the water, their neighbors, and the many people to whom they opened their door. He gave his children and grandchildren the advice "Life your life big".
In this vein, his daughter Jenn Yorkzyk initiated the Swim & Paddle Challenge to honor her father's life and legacy. The proceeds of the event will benefit Bill's beloved Quacumquasit's Lake Association, in overcoming its sustainability challenges.
The Yorzyk Family at Quacumquasit "South Pond"