Remembering Dorothy “Dottie” Sowers and Frances “Fran” Jones

by Denise Shively, USA Artistic Swimming President

Two icons and leaders in the sport of artistic swimming passed daway recently. Dorothy “Dottie” Sowers and Frances “Fran” Jones both coached successful programs and are remembered for their advocacy on behalf of the sport.

Sowers received the distinguished USA Artistic (Synchronized) Swimming Lillian MacKellar Award in 1980 for her unselfish service to the sport with a particular emphasis on working for the athletes. Founder and head coach of the Town of Tonawanda Aquettes, Sowers entered the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 where the nomination read, “The Aquettes were once described as the embodiment of their coach: tough, competitive and committed.” Sowers died on Sept. 10 at the age of 95.

Former USA Artistic Swimming President Judy McGowan remembered the legacy that Sowers left and said, “When I think of Dottie, I think of one word—respect. Everyone had respect for her as a coach, leader, official and a wonderful individual.”

Donations to help support a new grant to be developed in the name of Dorothy J. Sowers may be made to the USA Artistic Swimming Foundation HERE.

Jones died earlier this summer and is remembered for her promotion of synchronized swimming to be added to the Olympic Games. In 1960 and 1964 she toured the world with her team, the Lansing Sea Sprites, and demonstrated the sport in Rome following the Olympics and also in Tokyo. A national judge for 20 years, Jones served as national chair for U.S. Synchronized Swimming from 1969 to 1971 and was named to the USA Artistic Swimming Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1976. McGowan said, “Fran was diminutive in size, but large in contributions.”

Remembering Dottie Sowers and Fran Jones

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