Swimmer, 102, Laps Up Another Laurel

From a Times Staff Writer

Swimmer Viola Cady Krahn of Laguna Woods, who still competes at age 102, was inducted Saturday into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida.

The selection of Krahn, holder of 17 masters world diving titles, was unusual not only because of her age but also because of her long diving and swimming career, which began more than 80 years ago.

While on “The Tonight Show” at age 100, she donned a bathing suit and dived effortlessly into a pool. Friends say she’s part dolphin.

In 1923, she married Fred Cady, her swim coach at the Los Angeles Athletic Club who died in 1960. Her second husband, Fred Krahn, whom she wed in 1970, died in 1986.


Bob Duenkel, executive director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, was quoted in The Times after she was selected for induction last year as saying Krahn’ s story is “a great one because she’s been involved in diving her whole life.”

“She married her coach, who later became the coach for the U.S. swim team, and entered the masters swimming program at the ripe age of 76,” Duenkel said.

Krahn’s love affair with water began in 1919 after her family moved to Los Angeles from Arizona. She won junior national diving championships in 1922, ’23 and ’24.

In 1922, Krahn had the fastest time in the U.S. for a female in the 220 meters, wrote Margery Voyer Cole of Santa Ana in her book “Viola: Diving Wonder and Aquatic Champion.”

In recent years Krahn has limited her diving but jokes that she was the only competitor in her age group.

“Nowadays I just go out to the end of the board and push in.”