1988 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME
Ernie began his competitive swimming career at Pawtucket West High School in 1944. While participating in the Brown Interscholastic Championships during his high school years Ernie finaled in the sprint freestyle events, finishing third in both the 50 yard and 100 yard freestyle his senior year.
After high school Ernie entered the Army and in 1947 was assigned duty in Japan. While competing in Japan, as a member of the 19th Infantry Swim Team, he was selected for the All Japan Swim Team chosen to compete in the All-Pacific Swim Championships against Hawaii, the Philippines, Korea, and a number of other smaller islands. Inductee Jim Edwards was also a member of the All Japan Team.
In 1949 he participated in the first annual Two State YMCA Sports Festival at Springfield College. In the trials of the 60 yard freestyle he equaled the National Record of 30.20; and in the finals captured both the 60 yard and 100 yard freestyle championship.
Ernie retired from swimming in 1950 but returned to competition in 1975 as a member of New England Masters. He has consistently placed in the top six at the East Coast Invitational, winning the backstroke events on six occasions, and has placed as high as third (3rd) at Long Course Nationals in his individual backstroke events. In 1983 he was a member of a long course national record setting medley relay at Indianapolis. This relay team also broke the short course national record in 1984 at Industry Hills, California.
In addition to his outstanding record as a competitor, Ernie has contributed to Rhode Island swimming in other significant ways. In 1979 he originated the “Swim for Kids” annual charity event of the Third Masonic District. To date this event has raised over $20,000 for the Children’s Museum, The Blackstone Shelter for Abused Children, and The Blackstone Valley Association for the Retarded Citizens. Also, since 1979 Ernie has worked in the area of aquatics and athletics at the Community College of Rhode Island. At the college he supervises aquatic activities and athletic contests throughout the year. Most recently he has helped with the coaching of the age group swimmers of the Little Rhody Aquatic Club.