ALTHEA MERCER MANSOLILLO
1997 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME
At the age of ten, Althea was inspired to begin her swimming career by both her parents. Her choice in competitive long- distance swimming can be attributed to her father’s professional long-distance swim career. Althea’s mother also aided in her accomplishments by her persistence in coaching Althea to success.
Althea’s competitiveness started at age nine swimming for the Wanskuck Boys Club. In 1949-1950, she won the Block Island Swim, the Battery to Coney Island Swim, and the Fall River City Length Swim. She also placed sixth in the World
Professional Long- Distance Swim in Lake Ontario, Canada.
Althea shared her experience teaching children swimming at the Rhode Island Association for the Blind. In 1968, Althea began teaching swimming and water safety to handicapped students at Pleasant View School in Providence. She directed the swim program for paraplegics at Pleasant View in the evenings. For saving the life of a 14 year old special education student at Pleasant View School, Althea received a commendation from Superintendent of Schools Joseph Almagno, Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and Director of Special Education John McKenna.
Althea was the first woman lifeguard in the State of Rhode Island at Second Beach in Newport in 1950. In 1972, she was the swimming coach representing Rhode Island at the National Special Olympics. She was the first Water Safety Instructor Trainer for the Handicapped at the American Red Cross sponsored National Aquatic School in Massachusetts. This camp was directed by the Hall of Fame Co-Founder, Harold Anderson.
Along with her long experience as a Water Safety instructor, she was also a certified lifeguard for over thirty-one years. Althea is currently retired and lives in Cranston, RI.