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Past Meets Present...

Ron Friesen Inducted into...
The Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame

Coach Mary Carroll brought along 3 Saskatoon Diving Club divers to meet Ron Friesen, a champion from the late 60's to the early 70's.  A wonderful evening was had by all.  You can read more about Ron and the other divers of his era below.

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ATHLETE
Ron Friesen Diving

In diving, they say the better the dive, the smaller the splash. When Ron Friesen entered the water, it was tiny bubbles.  Friesen liked doing back somersaults off the board when he was a lifeguard and swim instructor in the summer of 1967 after he graduated from Moose Jaw Central Collegiate. But it wasn't until fall that he started his formal training in diving as a first-year physical education student at the University of Saskatchewan. A year later he was Canadian university champion on the one- and three-metre boards. Friesen won six national university titles, three times setting point records and three times being named the Canadian university diver of the year.

 

At the Canadian senior championships, he was chairman of the board. He won seven senior national titles competing on one- and three-metre springboard and 10-metre tower.  

Friesen's diving career was short, only five years. He went far. He went global. With support from his university coach, Tony Schidlo, Friesen competed in the 1970 World University Games in Turin, Italy, the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he won a bronze medal performing before the Queen, the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia and the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.


Friesen used his Physical Education degree, cum laude, and sports experience to manage swimming pools in B.C. He earned a law degree, practised law, taught law and served as the CEO of the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. He received international awards for training programs he developed for lawyers and judges. Ron met his wife, Dr. Christine Loock, at the 1971 Pan Am Games. She is also an accomplished diver. Christine was a U.S. national champion, a bronze medallist in the world championships and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1975 by FINA, the governing body for aquatics. Ron's brother Rick and Ron's daughter Emma were Canadian diving champions. Emma also won an NCAA title in one metre while at the University of Hawaii and represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games, 44 years after Ron.

Success Story...

The 1971-72 diving season has been more than successful for the University of Saskatchewan. Our two male divers swept first and second place in every competition prior to and including the Western Conference and Canadian College Championships; not to be outdone, our two female divers matched the men performance for performance and carried Saskatchewan colours to first and second place on both boards in the Canadian Women's College Championships. A team capable of such total domination at the national level must be composed of outstanding athletes and the University of Saskatchewan's Kathy Rollo, Debbie Parkinson, Mike Boyd and Ron Friesen are just that.

Kathy Rollo...

Although she was not born in the city of Saskatoon, Kathy Rollo has spent about seventeen of her twenty years here. She began her diving career the summer that she was twelve when coach Ross Hetherington asked her to come out to practice. It was to be the start of eight long years of training; Kathy spent two years in Vancouver where she completed grade nine and ten and concentrated on diving. By the summer of 1967 she had become a diver of national calibre and she represented Canada at the Pan-American Games held in Winnipeg. (She finished fourth on tower.) The following season was Olympic year and Kathy was named alternate, not being added to the team because of a restricted team budget. In May of 1969 she travelled overseas with the Canadian team, competing in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Russia; the trip was invaluable in terms of experience and understanding. That summer ended with the Jeux Canada Games in Halifax, and Kathy returned from Nova Scotia with a silver medal in both springboard and tower. The 1969-70 winter season was spent competing for the first time for the U of S under the guidance of Tony Schildo. (She won in Western conference competition, but women's college championships were non-existent.) However, the long-range objective at that time was a berth on the British Commonwealth Games team and in July of 1970 Kathy found herself in Edinburgh. She dove well but ended up fourth by four one-hundredths of a point, which has to be frustratingly close in anybody's league. The Canadian team toured Holland, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Hungary after the Games and Kathy had been back in Canada only a short while before she climbed on a plane to represent the University of Saskatchewan in the World Student Games in Turin, Italy in September of 1970. (She placed 5th on 3m. and 8th on 10m.)

Although she won a Canadian College title in 1970- 71 Kathy decided to pass up the 1971 Pan-American Games in South America and to concentrate on her education; the plan was to wait until Olympic year and to go for broke then. And that's what this training season is all about. There is an International Meet in Winnipeg in early April and then another European tour before the Olympic trials and finally the Games themselves in August.

Securing a berth on the Canadian Team Kathy will now represent Canada in Munich. Her plans include the finishing of her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a great deal of snow skiing, and no more competitive diving; after eight years she has decided that it's time to do something else. (She has recently announced her engagement to another fine Saskatchewan athlete, Mr. Don Seaman.) Kathy has no regrets about the years she has put into diving; the friends, the travelling and the fun all make up for anything she might have missed.

Debbie Parkinson...

 

Debbie Parkinson is also a twenty-year-old native of Saskatoon, but her diving history differs from Kathy's. Debbie began at the age of fourteen; she competed in the 1968 Olympic trials finishing 10th on 3 metre and 8th on tower. She continued to improve and the following year she competed for Saskatchewan in the Jeux Canada Games; (4th on 1 metre and 8th on tower). At the time she was training three times a day; Deb was seventeen then, and about to enter first year Nursing at the U of S. After lengthy deliberation she decided to quit and dropped out of competitive diving for two years (a move which has handicapped her considerable on the national circuit). Her motivation for diving doesn't lie in Olympic aspirations, but rather in a genuine desire to improve for her coach; she likes to do well for him in an effort to return his interest in her. (Debbie is coached by Tony Schildo who is the U. of S. coach, as well as a Canadian National Diving Coach.) She has returned to her national status, ranking about 6th or 8th in the nation, and although there is some possibility of Debbie pulling up quickly on the national. ladder, she is yet undecided about her future as a diver. After completing her degree, she hopes to work as a recovery room nurse somewhere in Eastern Canada where she can enjoy snowmobiling and skiing in the winter, and boating and waterskiing in the summer. Diving has been a tremendous experience, and has given her some lasting friendships, but Debbie thinks, as does Kathy, that the time has come to do other things.

Debbie Parkinson

 

Debbie Parkinson is also a twenty-year-old native of Saskatoon, but her diving history differs from Kathy's. Debbie began at the age of fourteen; she competed in the 1968 Olympic trials finishing 10th on 3 metre and 8th on tower. She continued to improve and the following year she competed for Saskatchewan in the Jeux Canada Games; (4th on 1 metre and 8th on tower). At the time she was training three times a day; Deb was seventeen then, and about to enter first year Nursing at the U of S. After lengthy deliberation she decided to quit and dropped out of competitive diving for two years (a move which has handicapped her considerable on the national circuit). Her motivation for diving doesn't lie in Olympic aspirations, but rather in a genuine desire to improve for her coach; she likes to do well for him in an effort to return his interest in her. (Debbie is coached by Tony Schildo who is the U. of S. coach, as well as a Canadian National Diving Coach.) She has returned to her national status, ranking about 6th or 8th in the nation, and although there is some possibility of Debbie pulling up quickly on the national. ladder, she is yet undecided about her future as a diver. After completing her degree, she hopes to work as a recovery room nurse somewhere in Eastern Canada where she can enjoy snowmobiling and skiing in the winter, and boating and waterskiing in the summer. Diving has been a tremendous experience, and has given her some lasting friendships, but Debbie thinks, as does Kathy, that the time has come to do other things.

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Mike Boyd...

Of the four divers, Mike Boyd is probably the most diverse. He has lived in Alberta, Quebec, England and Saskatchewan; his family moved to Regina when he was seven and has stayed there ever since. Before coming to university in Saskatoon, Mike spent most of his spare time riding. An accomplished horseman he was training his mount for the 1967 Pan-American Games, but the horse unfortunately pulled up lame in Pre-Trials competition and ended all hopes for making a Canadian team. As if riding didn't take enough of his time, Mike also managed to put enough hours into gymnastics to become an excellent All-Around competitor; he represented Saskatchewan in the Quebec Winter Games in 1967, finishing 14th overall.

He came to the U of S in 1967 and in his first year he finished 4th All Around in WCIAA competition; Mike began diving to learn how to twist for gymnastics, and because of the general lack of participation in the gym team at that time, he decided to make the switch to diving. His WCIAA and CIAU competitive record shows continuous improvement over the past five years, but since Mike does not train during the crucial summer season, he ranks Nationally about 4th, 5th or 6th. He too is in the process of deciding on his future as a diver, although he has definite plans to coach at the U. of S. next year. He is presently completing his Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering, having graduated in Electrical Engineering last year. As for the future there are possibilities of his doing a Ph. D. in Biomedical Engineering or of going into Medicine itself. If past performance is any indication, Mike will be successful in whatever he chooses to do.

Doggone it, let's get Mike coaching diving again!

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Ron Friesen...

And last, but obviously not least among the ranks of U of S divers is Canadian Diving Champion, Ron Friesen. He is a native of this province, having been brought up in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon; although he was involved in aquatics throughout high school, Ron didn't receive any serious coaching until 1967 when he came to the U of S. Prior to that he had been a speed-swimmer (he quit in grade 8), a high jumper (he broke his leg in grade 11) and a gymnast (Mike Boyd always beat him). It should be noted however that Ron was a reasonably good high school wrestler, winning the Moose Jaw City championship three years in a row and finishing 2nd in High School Provincials. (He wrestled in the 96-pound class!) His debut in the National diving circuit was in 1968 at the Olympic trials where he led the 1 metre competition after the preliminary dives, making waves as a virtually unknown competitor from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ron's first CIAU championship came in 1969 when he won on both boards, and that summer he toured Canada with the New Zealand Team. In Halifax at the Summer Games, he finished 4th on 1 metre, 3rd on 3 metre. and 2nd on tower.

The following summer had to be particularly thrilling; representing Canada in the British Commonwealth Games, Ron finished 3rd on 3 metre, and received his medal from the Queen and Prince Philip. As did Kathy, he toured with the team after the B.C. Games and competed for the U. of S. at the World Student Games in Italy, where he dove despite a broken finger. During the 1970-71 season, Ron retained his CIAU titles, then left for competition in Sweden, Finland, Russia, and East Germany; he made the Pan- American Games team but placed a disappointing 9th on 3 metre. and tower. However, several weeks later he regained his old form and swept the Canadian Championships, finishing first on 1 metre, 3 metre. and tower. Ron's plans are definite in that he wants a berth on the Olympic team this summer. After that he's still undecided. He graduated in Physical Education with Distinction last year and is presently completing his Master's degree in Human Physiology. As for any further education, he prefers to take things one at a time, and so is still un- certain. Diving, for Ron, is a challenge; a challenge combining enjoyment, self- discipline, and a desire for improvement. And it has been particularly rewarding.

Both Ron and Mike will be ineligible for intercollegiate competition next year, having used up their five seasons of eligibility; Kathy will not be diving and there is not much chance that Debbie will compete. Thus, this year marks the end of a period in intercollegiate athletic history that should not go unnoticed. It is very unlikely that the U. of S. will ever again hold both first and second place on both the 1 metre and 3 metre boards in both men's and women's Canadian Intercollegiate Diving Competition. Kathy Rollo, Debbie Parkinson, Mike Boyd and Ron Friesen, did just that.

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Coach: Tony Schidlo...

The University of Saskatchewan appears to offer one of the better diving opportunities available at any Canadian school and this is directly attributable to the coaching staff. Head Coach Tony Schidlo, who last year was honoured as the University of Saskatchewan's Coach of the Year, came to Saskatoon via Germany at the age of eight. He attended high school at the Tech and then began what was to be a rather distinguished university career, both in the classroom and on the boards. By the time he had completed his first degree (B.Sc. in Physics) Schidlo had im- proved under the coaching of Ross Hetherington to the extent that he won the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Diving Championship. He remained at the U of S, completing his Master’s degree in nuclear physics.

 

Antal Schidlo has himself well established among the ranks of Canadian diving coaches. He has been named a Canadian Diving Coach soon to coach at the international level. This spring he begins a long season of overseas coaching, beginning with a three week stay in East Germany; then a return to Canada for the Olympic Trials and training camps, then back to Europe for further international experience. Olympic diving competition begins in Munich late in August, and that's when Coach Schidlo will put his divers up against the best in the world.

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Coach: Doris Miller...

 

Dr. Doris Miller is the junior partner in this U of S coaching staff, and it is her job to initiate and train the rookie members of the diving team. Endowed with great patience, Dr. Miller manages to do some amazing things with these inexperienced athletes. A native of Toronto, she graduated from the U of T with a bachelor’s in Physical Education and Health Education. and then taught for two years before completing a teaching (but this time at the U. of S.) and then went to Penn. State where she earned her doctorate in Biomechanics. (Dr. Miller is at present internationally known for her proficiency in this field.) Although she never pursued a competitive career, she is an athlete of some standing, having experience in diving, figure-skating (which she coached at the U. of S.), ice- hockey (played for the U. of T.) and speed-swimming. (She holds The Diploma, the highest award offered by the Royal Life Saving Society). Dr. Miller's philosophy about diving sees a justification in coaching the "never-will- be-great" athlete simply in order to give him or her the kind of experience that makes a better coach.

University of Saskatchewan diving team, left to right: George Lukiwski, coach Doris Miller, Kathy Rollo, Mike Boyd, Debbie Parkinson, Ron Friesen, coach Tony Schidlo, Lee Wood, missing is Jeannie Levers.

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Standing: Coach Lawrence Smuk, Andy Rollo, Bob Collins, Carl Waterer (CIAU 500 yd. freestyle champ). Brian Shockey, Roger Kergoat, Howard Bradbrooke, Bill Wilson, Coach Larsen. Kneeling: Doug Porteous, Al Stinson, Mike Boyd, Tony Schidlo, Ron Friesen (Canadian College Diver of the Year). Tom Baillie.

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​1972 Olympic Diving Team... The Canadian Team included Ken Sully, Ron Friesen, Nancy Robertson, Bev Boys (pictured). Not pictured but also on the team were Kathy Rollo, Liz Carruthers, and Scott Cranham.

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University of Saskatchewan diving team, left to right: George Lukiwski, coach Doris Miller, Kathy Rollo, Mike Boyd, Debbie Parkinson, Ron Friesen, coach Tony Schidlo, Lee Wood, missing is Jeannie Levers.

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