AILEEN RIGGIN SOULE

2005 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME

 

Aileen Riggin (Soule) of Newport, Rhode Island was only fourteen years old when she represented the United States of America in the first women’s 3-meter springboard diving event held in Olympic competition.  At the 1920 Olympic Games held in Antwerp, Belgium Aileen won the gold medal in this event. An interesting fact:  She was the smallest athlete at 4’7′ and weighed only 65 pounds.

In 1922 Aileen was the subject of the first underwater and slow- motion swimming films.

She returned to the Olympic games in 1924 which were held in Paris, France. This time taking a silver medal in the 3-meter springboard diving and a bronze-medal for the 100-meter backstroke.

Aileen turned professional, appearing in the 1933 film Roman Scandal. She helped organize and starred in the first Billy Rose Aquac√§de.  Later she was a sports journalist for the New York Evening Post and was a freelance writer for various national magazines.

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in 1967 and in 1988 was named “Grande Dame” of the ISHOF for her many fundraising and motivational presentations. On August 27, 2004 Aileen was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

 Aileen moved to Hawaii in 1957.  She is the founder of the Hawaii Senior Games Association.

To the very end of her illustrious career Aileen participated in competitive swimming. At the age of eighty-two, competing 1991 World Masters Swimming Championship, she set nine National Age Group Records along with six world records.

 At the 1996 U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals she once again set six national and five world records.

This induction into the R.I. Aquatic Hall of Fame is made posthumously.