Catharine Ball Condon (born September 30, 1951), née Catharine Northcutt Ball, is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in three events. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. 4×100-meter medley relay team. Ball is a former world record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events, and is remembered as a teenage star who was the dominant female breaststroke swimmer of her generation.
Catie Ball in 1967
|Full name||Catharine Northcutt Ball|
|Born||September 30, 1951|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||128 lb (58 kg)|
|College team||University of Florida|
Ball was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1951. As a teenager, she swam for the J.E.T.S. swim team in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition and attended Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville. In August 1966, she set a new American record of 2:44.8 in the 200-meter breaststroke at the AAU national championships, shattering the previous mark by almost three seconds. In December 1966, she tied the world record of 1:15.7 in the 100-meter breaststroke at the international swim meet at the Hall of Fame pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While swimming for the Lee High School Generals swim team, she won the 1967 Florida 2A state high school championships in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke events, setting Florida state records in both. Her Florida record in the 100-yard breaststroke stood for eleven years.
International swimming career
Ball set a new world record in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Santa Clara invitational swim meet in July 1967. At the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ball won two individual gold medals in the women's 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events, and a third in the women's 4×100-meter medley relay in which she swam the breaststroke leg for the winning U.S. team of Kendis Moore, Ball, Ellie Daniel and Wendy Fordyce. In the process, she set new world records in all three events. During 1967, she set world records in all four (two metric, two non-metric) individual breaststroke events as a 15-year-old.
Despite having to overcome mononucleosis and missing several scheduled meets in early 1968, Ball was the favorite to win three gold medals at the 1968 Olympics. She was the reigning world record holder in all four breaststroke distances and bettered her own world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in August 1968. She arrived at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, however, with a case of influenza. She won her only Olympic medal, a gold, as a member of the winning U.S. 4×100-meter medley relay team by swimming the breaststroke leg of the four-person relay. Sharing the gold medal honors were her relay teammates Kaye Hall (backstroke), Ellie Daniel (butterfly) and Susan Pedersen (freestyle). In the 100-meter breaststroke final, Ball led close to the finish but physical exhaustion overwhelmed her, and she finished fifth. She was too ill to swim in the subsequent preliminary heats of the 200-meter breaststroke and was scratched from the event.
College coaching career
After the Olympics, Ball received a special scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, but effectively dropped out of competition swimming because there were no women's college swim teams at the time and because of her desire to lead a more "normal" life. As an undergraduate senior at the University of Florida, she was hired by athletic director Ray Graves to be the first head coach of the newly organized women's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) competition during the 1972–73 school year. In their first year of intercollegiate competition, Ball's Lady Gators swimmers were undefeated in dual meets and placed second at the AIAW national championship during her single-season tenure.
Life after swimming
Ball currently resides in Pensacola, Florida. In the time since retiring from competition swimming at the age of 17, she has been a college swim coach, kindergarten teacher, junior swim coach, housewife and interior decorator. Ball and her business partner have operated a successful interior decorating business, "Beside the Point," for the past decade. She and her husband Tom Condon have three children and two grandchildren.
Women's 100-meter breaststroke
|1:15.60||December 28, 1966||ISHOF international swim meet||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|1:14.80||July 31, 1967||Pan American Games||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|1:14.60||August 19, 1967||AAU National Outdoor Championships||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|1:14.20||August 25, 1968||United States Olympic Trials||Los Angeles, California|
Women's 200-meter breaststroke
|2:40.50||July 9, 1967||Santa Clara Invitational Swim Meet||Santa Clara, California|
|2:39.50||August 20, 1967||AAU National Outdoor Championships||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|2:38.50||August 26, 1968||United States Olympic Trials||Los Angeles, California|
Women's 4×100-meter medley relay
|4:30.00||July 30, 1967||Pan American Games||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|4:28.10||September 14, 1968||United States Olympic team exhibition||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
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- Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Inductees, Catie Ball (2010). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Gene Frenette, "Where are they now? Olympic swimmer Catie Ball-Condon," The Florida Times-Union (July 22, 2011). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "Little Catie Ball, 14, Sets Swim Record," The Lacrosse Tribune, p. 17 (August 21, 1966). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "Catie Ball Equals World Swim Mark; Her 1:15.7 Ties Record in Breast-Stroke Event," The New York Times, p. S38 (December 29, 1966). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Jamie Secola, "Hall of Fame induction cements Ball-Condon's swimming legacy," Pensacola News-Journal (July 4, 2010). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- FHSAA Girls Swimming & Diving 2014–15 Championship Records, Florida High School Athletic Association, Tallahassee, Florida, pp. 13 & 15 (2014). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "4 Swim Records Topple On The Coast," The New York Times, p. 41 (July 10, 1967). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "Spitz and Catie Ball Shatter World Swim Records at Pan-American Games," The New York Times, p. S36 (August 1, 1967). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Murray Rose, "American Swimmers Garner 28 Titles," The Evening News, p. 4D (August 2, 1967). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "Swimming; Pan Am Games," The New York Times, p. S121 (December 24, 1967). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "Illness Sidelines Swimmer Ball," St. Petersburg Times, p. 2C (February 10, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "U.S.–Yugoslavia in Cage Finals," The Evening Independent, p. 2C (October 23, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Frank Litsky, "U.S. Expected to Win the Most Medals (112) and the Most Gold Medals (43); Major Hopes In Swimming And in Track," The New York Times, p. S17 (October 6, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- United Press International, "Catie Ball Clips World Swim Mark," The New York Times, p. 50 (August 27, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Bob Ottum, "The Encore Will be in Mexico," Sports Illustrated (September 16, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- databaseOlympics.com, Athletes, Catie Ball Archived January 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Sports-Reference.com, Olympic Sports, United States Swimming at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "U.S. Swimmers Register Sweep in Women's 100-Meter Olympic Free-Style," The New York Times, p. S2 (October 20, 1968). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "Florida To Seek Catie Ball," Sarasota Journal, p. 16 (January 22, 1969). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- University of Florida Alumni Directory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2000).
- United Press International, "Catie Ball Still Active in Swimming," The Palm Beach Post, p. D6 (January 28, 1974). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Catie Ball (USA). Retrieved March 2015.
- "A.A.U. Swim Champions," The New York Times (August 22, 1967). Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Associated Press, "Olympians Better 3 Swim Records; U.S. Team Members Surpass World, 2 U.S. Relay Marks," The New York Times (September 16, 1968). Retrieved November 10, 2014.
- USASwimming, Women's Records. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catie Ball.|
- Catie Ball (USA) – Honor Swimmer profile at International Swimming Hall of Fame
| Women's 100-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)
December 28, 1966 – September 2, 1972
| Women's 200-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)
July 9, 1967 – April 7, 1971