International Swimming Hall of Fame
Hawaii's Swim Matriarch for 60 years
This woman, now barely remembered, but none the less, fully deserving of the great honor of being a charter inductee of the ultimate swimming hall of fame. How short our memory.
Three Generations of Swimmers
Since she did so much for three generations of Hawaiian swimmers and so much for the nacent Waikiki Roughwater Swim, this history will try to perpetuate her memory in gratitude for her many contributions.
Born in South Africa
"Ma Leo" as she was affectionaltely known, organized the first women's swim club in Cape Town, South Africa and Victoria, British Columbia and finally Honolulu. She discovered Hawaii when traveling the Pacific with her husband, fell in love and settled here in the early days of the 20th century. Upon arrival, she began immediately to improve swimming in the Territory.
One of the Founders of US Olympic Committee
The Fullard-Leo's raised three sons, one of whom became an actor with the stage name of Leslie Vincent, performing in over 100 movies.
One of Ma Leo's major accomplishments was the managing and facilitating of Duke's swimming career...some clippings saying: "Started Duke on his way to world fame". Some of the swimming officials in the then faraway mainland questioned the times she reported with the caustic: "What are they timing with out there? Alarm Clocks? " ! Ma Leo plus Duke himself turned his skeptics to believers.
Alexander Hume Ford Trophy
Members of the US Olympic Committee Lead the Parade
Leader and Founder of Many Major Swim Organizations
Highlights of Mrs Fullard-Leo's many contributions: first woman on the Executive Committee of the National AAU, Founder of the Royal Life Saving Course in Hawaii, helped launch the US Olympic Committee and the Pan American Games, was manager-chaperone for a multitude of trips to major US, Pan American and Olympic contests as well as 60 years of local Hawaiian swim meets and events.
Ma Leo's Family
With her husband, who was a strong athlete, they bought land from Prince Kuhio in Wakikiki which later became the International Market Place. She reminisced about the street cars that came out to Waikiki near her house and the beach. The Fullard-Leos bought Palmyra Island which was used by the US Government for the prosecution of WW II in the Pacific and later figured in a tragic yachting story.
Donates Main Trophy
In 1971 Ma Leo contacted the founder of the Roughwater Swim and proposed to donate the main trophy of the Swim. This became the Perpetual Trophy for the First to Finish with each year's winner's name engraved in silver. Mrs Leo was very serious that the name of the trophy should be "Alexander Hume Ford" who was her lifelong serious friend and collaborator in Hawaii's climb to iconic status as a venue for watersports. This trophy on it Koa wood base is a 3-foot high, very photogenic sight when being held by some young champion swimmer with equally photogenic body. It played no small role in the early fast rise to fame of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim.
For Example: 43rd Annual First-to-Finish Photo Op:
Bobbie Jennings, Honolulu Publicist then and now
THE TROPHY Mrs E. Fullard-Leo circa 1973
Thank you Mrs Fullard-Leo
For this monumental trophy and all you did for swimming around the world and especially here in Hawaii. The founder's melancholy memory is of her saying so humbly "All I did was a lot of paperwork" !
Director: Kaia 2012 Winner: Rhys Mainstone, AUS Founder: Jim
Holding the Alexander Hume Ford Perpetual Trophy