BERT MICHAEL PELLEGRINI
2011 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME
Bert began his swimming career at the Wanskuck Boys’ Club in Providence. As an outstanding Age Group Swimmer, Bert won the Rhode Island Age Group Championship title in the 10 & under, 11 & 12, and 13 &14 age groups. He set new state records in the backstroke and a new state record at the New England Championship meet. He was named to the Rhode Island Coaches and Officials All Star Team in all three age groups. Bert qualified and competed in the National Boys’ Club Championships held at Yale University in 1956.
As a ten year old, Bert won the New England Championship title setting New England records in both the backstroke and freestyle events. As a twelve year old, Bert broke and set a New England Record in the 50 yard backstroke. In that same meet he went on to win the 13 & under 100 yard backstroke championship. Bert broke many Rhode Island Age Group and pool records during his age group career. Although backstroke was his specialty, Bert was an excellent individual medley swimmer and sprint freestyler often ranking in the top five in New England.
Swimming interscholastically for LaSalle Academy, Bert won many dual meet victories and was part of a great LaSalle tradition. All three years Bert qualified for the finals at the Brown Interscholastic Invitational, the Rhode Island Interscholastic State Championship Meet, and the New England Interscholastic Championship meet. During his junior year in high school, Bert placed 2nd at the Brown Interscholastic Meet, 2nd at the New England Interscholastic Meet and 4th at the National Catholic Championships Swim Meet held in Philadelphia. In 1961, Bert won the 200 yard individual medley at the Rhode Island Interscholastic Championship Meet. the Medley relay team of Bert Pellegrini, Bill Curran (Hall of Fame, Class of 2010), Gary Henson (Hall of Fame Class of 1994), and Charlie Walsh, won the Brown’s, the Rhode Island State Championship, 2nd at the New England Interscholastic Championships, and placed third at the prestigious National Catholic Championship Swim Meet held in Philadelphia. During his three years at LaSalle Academy, Bert earned Providence Journal Second Team All State Honors in his individual events.
After graduating from LaSalle, Bert went to the University of Maryland and later transferred to Providence College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Providence College and enlisted in the United States Air Force as a member of the America’s Aerospace Team. For five years, Bert served in a position vital to our peace and freedom. As a navigator, Bert flew over 100 missions during the Vietnam conflict. He was a team leader at Wanskuck Boys Club, at LaSalle Academy, and in the United States Air Force.
Bert resides in Madison, Connecticut with his wife, Janice. Bert has four children and five grandchildren.