Hall of Famers remembered as being 'special contributors' Peacock, Thompson, Comfort are inducted

December 13, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

One man was one of Wendy Weinberg's swimming instructors. Another guided her to an Olympic bronze medal. The third nearly won a gold himself.

The three men -- Frank Comfort, Ray Thompson and the late Larry Peacock -- were inducted into the Maryland Swimming Hall of Fame yesterday at a luncheon at the Timonium Holiday Inn.

Peacock was a longtime swimming official, teacher and head of Water Safety Services for the American Red Cross in Baltimore. As director of the Suburban Club pool for years, Peacock instructed Weinberg when she was a child.

Comfort, who raised the Johns Hopkins program from the depths to an NCAA Division III champion, coached Weinberg to a bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle in the 1976 Olympics when she trained with his Homewood Aquatic Club at Hopkins. He has coached at the University of North Carolina since 1977.

Thompson, a retired Navy captain who lives in Bethesda, was the National Scholastic 50-yard freestyle champion for Poly in 1929 and then the National Collegiate 50 and 100 freestyle champion for Navy.

"These are special contributors to Maryland swimming," said Hall of Fame chairman Murray Stephens. "Two had roles in Wendy's career. She was Baltimore's first Olympic swimming medalist."

Until then, Baltimore's only Olympic swimmers were Anna McCleary Marriott, a backstroke alternate in 1924 and Thompson, sixth in the 100-meter freestyle in the 1932 Games. He led after 100 yards, but faded.

"Thompson was a front-runner, a guy who would sprint and then hold on, like a race horse," said then-Navy coach Henry Ortland. "But this was 100 meters, and after 100 yards he didn't have anything left."

Pub Date: 12/13/96

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