Inductee Profile

Doris Dannenhirsch Beshunsky

shof-1998-Doris_BeshunskyDoris Dannenhirsch Beshunsky, competitive swimmer, teacher and coach, holds the distinction of being a member of halls of fame in two states. She is a member of The Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame and was the first woman inducted into the Rhode Island Jewish Athletic Hall of Fame. Additionally, she is a member of the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame.

Doris traveled to Israel, then Palestine, in 1935 as part of the United States Maccabi swimming team in the second Maccabiah. She placed fifth in the 100-meter freestyle. Her competitive swimming career began in 1932 at the Olneyville Boys School. By 1934 she held the New England junior 50-yard freestyle, Rhode Island senior 100-yard freestyle and senior 100-yard breaststroke championships.

In 1946, as a University of Pennsylvania student she founded the Penguinettes, the university’s first synchronized swimming group that she coached and directed from 1954 until her retirement in 1977. Between 1955 and 1961, she was a member of the Philadelphia Board of Women’s Swimming Officials where she officiated interscholastic and intercollegiate swimming competitions in the Philadelphia area.

In 1982, Doris was named an associate trustee of the University Of Pennsylvania Athletic Advisory Board and a board member and swimming committee member of Maccabi USA/Sports For Israel, known at the time as the US Committee Sports for Israel.