DORIS KEMAN DANNENHIRSCH
1982 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME
Doris Kelman grew up in Providence, and in the early 1930’s, she began to swim for Olneyville Boys’ Club, under the guidance of Joe Watmough. During that time, Doris won numerous Rhode Island swimming championships, with her greatest feats coming in the 1934-1935 season. She won the New England Junior 50 yard freestyle; the New England Senior 100 yard freestyle; and the R.I. 100 yard breaststroke championship. In 1935, Doris qualified as a member of the Maccabiah Team, which represented the United States in the second Jewish Olympic games in Palestine (now Israel), placing 5th in the 100 meter freestyle. Shortly after these Olympic games, she entered the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Education, with a major in Physical Education. Upon graduating, she became a faculty member at the same university, in the Department of Athletics, teaching and coaching swimming. She became the founder of one of the Nation’s first synchronized teams, called the “Pennguinettes.” She continued coaching this synchronized group until her retirement from the University in 1977. Doris was a member of one of the firs synchronized swimming units to perform professionally here in the Rhode Island Auditorium in the 1930’s. Other team members were Evelyn Watmough, Florence McVeigh, Alice Bridges Roche, Betty Higgins Shaffner, and Ester Gannon Picano. She officiated as a judge and referee for interscholastic and intercollegiate meets in the Philadelphia and suburban areas during the years of 1957-1961 as a member of the Philadelphia Board of Women’s Swimming Officials. She was a member of the executive swimming committee and corresponding secretary for this same organization during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Doris was a member of the International Academy of Aquatic Arts from 1955 to 1971, and is still an active member of the National Institute for Creative Aquatics. Indirectly, through the efforts of Doris and other members of the group, synchronized swimming has developed from “water ballet” as it was called in the early 1940’s, to a highly skilled and technically demanding sport. Synchronized Swimming will be conducted for the first time as part of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. At least 15 countries are expected to participate.