University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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59 FALL 2017 I f swimming is an analogy for life, Alice Wright Belknap, 75A, 79GE, dives right in. Literally. At the age of 66, she swims several times a week, sometimes racing mem- bers of UofL's world-renowned swim team, generally winning (with a huge head start at her request). The daughter of Violet and Ralph Wright, swimming is in Alice's blood. Her dad formed and coached the first Cardinal aquatic team in 1948-49. A World War II veteran, Ralph flour- ished as an officer and swimming rep for the Marine Corp stationed in Hono- lulu after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, teaching soldiers how to survive in the water. He broke the World and Olympic record for the 200-meter breaststroke in 1946. He met and married his wife, Violet, in 1944. He died at the age of 45 in 1966, just before one of his swim- mers won an Olympic medal. Ralph was inducted into the UofL Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Ralph Wright Natatorium officially opened in 2005. ACCOLADE HIGHLIGHTS: 1966 Courier Journal's Woman Athlete of the Year 1967 National Champion Jr Olympics and USA vs. Canada Duel Meet breaststroke gold medalist 1969 U.S. National Silver Medalist four times 1970 USA team member World University Games in Turino, Italy 1992 Set a world record in 50 Meter Breaststroke; two gold medals in a World Masters Championship Collectively held 15 national titles in Masters swimming DIVING IN HEAD FIRST "My father encouraged swimmers to be their best in and out of the water; his spirit lives on in the natatorium," said Alice, a two-time UofL graduate instrumental in funding the natato- rium. "It is a tremendous thrill to see so many ages and backgrounds using the pool. We have Olympians, Special Olympians, professors, staff, students, and children taking lessons — happy healthy people in the water. 'Build it and they will come' is my motto." A champion swimmer herself, Alice was a world- and national-re- cord holder as a Masters swimmer, and serves as a mentor for the UofL swimming and diving teams, who cur- rently hold four world relay records and 10 American records. "We have an atmosphere of growing swim- mers and divers at UofL. The recent World Swimming Championships in Budapest is a testament to our high standards of performance under Coach Albiero and his awesome assis- tants," she said. With a B.A. in Art History - Humanities and M.A. in Educa- tion, Alice gravitated towards jobs in human service, focusing on per- sons with developmental disabilities. She also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for 15 years through Catholic Charities English School for Refugees, two years of ESL for Jefferson County Public Schools, sub- stituted in a regular classroom for three years and spent five years as a caregiver in a group home. Currently retired, Alice works weekly at the Home of the Innocents in the therapy pool. A devout Catholic, she also is a board member of Interfaith Paths to Peace, council on Developmental Dis- abilities member, Cherokee Round Table writing group, and supporter of Berea College (in memory of her late father-in-law). She has two sons, Ian (Clair), Benjamin (Luciana), and granddaughter Mikaela. "I give the glory to God," she said. Alice Wright Belknap, 75A, 79GE, at the Wright Natatorium.

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