Figures: Don Leas


The United States Aquatic Sports (USAS) voted last October to designate Don Leas as the 2021 recipient of the R. Max Ritter Award.



The R. Max Ritter Award is attributed by the Ritter Family and is presented annually by USAS to the organisation or individual of International Federation of Swimming (FINA) member country who has contributed to the most advancement of understanding and good will among nations through international participation in amateur aquatic sports (swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo, open water swimming and high diving).


Don Leas passed away at the age of 82 years old on 25 April 2019 and was an award-winning diver, coach, and leader.


Donald Leas had been involved with diving since high school, through university and later as a coach and administrator. He had served as the National Chairman of Diving in the US Olympic Committee, as a Competition Director for many international diving events including the Olympic Games (1996) and FINA World Cup (1995). He was an integral member of the FISU Family as the Chair of the FISU Technical Diving Committee since 1981.



Don's contribution to Diving both domestically and internationally was most impactful and will be his legacy for many years to come.  "Carol Leas expressed her gratitude to USAS for the honour and told me that Don would be over the moon with such a great recognition," said Steve McFarland, past President of USA Diving and past President of USAS.


"Don's contribution to Diving touched every aspect of the sport.  From Coaching a nationally successful program at Clarion State University to chairing almost every committee at USAS Diving including Rules, Safety and Facility Commission. Perhaps his most enduring contribution was his service to FISU as the Technical Diving Committee Chairman for 38 years! Under his guidance, Diving became one of the most prominent events at the FISU Games. Don's legacy to Diving is found almost everywhere you see the sport today," concludes McFarland.


(Source: International University Sports Federation)

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