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Dr. Peter Wernicki, O '80, Receives the International Swimming Hall of Fame Paragon Award

Wednesday, June 17, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Teri Sloan
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Omicron Brother and Vero Beach, FL orthopedic surgeon Peter Wernicki, M.D., FAAOS will receive the prestigious 2015 Paragon Award for Water Safety from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.  This award is given annually to the one individual worldwide who has contributed the most to advance aquatics and water safety. The American Red Cross has described Dr. Wernicki’s tireless work to reduce drownings as “exceptional contributions towards saving lives.”


The award will be presented at a black-tie event on June 19, 2015 during the organization’s annual enshrinement weekend.  The ceremony is being held in conjunction with the USA Swimming Pro Series Finals.  This year, for the first time, the ceremony will be in Santa Clara CA where the Hall of Fame will relocate after 50 years in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Presenters for last year’s banquet were Olympians Janet Evans and Donna deVarona.

The International Hall of Fame recognizes and awards professionals who have had the greatest international impact in the fields of competitive swimming, competitive diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, recreational swimming, and water safety.  Previous Hall of Fame inductees include many well-known aquatic stars – Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Greg Louganis, Buster Crabbe, Amy Van Dyken, Duke Kahanamoku, Summer Sanders, , and Johnny Weissmuller.  Further information is at

Dr. Wernicki is recognized as this year’s paragon recipient for his global leadership in aquatic medicine, water safety, and drowning prevention.  He is the long-standing Aquatics Chair of the prestigious American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. The council is the scientific arm of the organization; it researches, analyzes, and presents important evidence-based studies and data which the committee then uses to create and revise all of the American Red Cross Health and Safety programs.  Dr. Wernicki currently serves as the Medical Advisor and an Executive Board member of the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) and has done so for the past 25 years. The USLA is the association of professional open-water lifeguards in the US. In this role, Dr. Wernicki has helped write the USLA textbook, develop the national lifeguard certification program, and been the on-site physician for the USLA’s National Championships.  He serves as the US team physician at numerous international competitions including the Goodwill Games.  Dr. Wernicki also chairs the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) Medical Committee.  He was the co-chair of the first ILS Medical Rescue Conference in 1997 and has presented at and helped organize each of the subsequent bi-annual Drowning Prevention Conferences held around the world since then.  He was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the 2011 conference in Vietnam. Dr. Wernicki serves on the ILS’s Rescue and Anti-Doping Commissions. Additionally, Dr. Wernicki was co-chair of the ground-breaking Lifeguard Standards Coalition in 2010-2012, the first comprehensive, evidenced-based work of its type in water safety.

Dr. Wernicki is published extensively in scientific journals and is the author of numerous book chapters. He is often interviewed and quoted on aquatic safety on national TV, radio and print media.  Dr. Wernicki appears frequently on the nationally broadcast Weather Channel providing water safety advice.

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