At Council last night the 2019 recipient for the Isadore Sponder Memorial Trophy was presented to Ellie Maltman.
In addition to his name on the Donor Wall at the Vale Health & Wellness Centre, the City has created the Isadore Sponder Memorial Trophy to be presented annually to a member of the Port Colborne Piranhas Swim Team.
The recipient is to mirror the traits Isadore possessed in the water – a competitive spirit, dedicated to the sport, and always giving 110%, win or lose.
Ellie is 9 years old and has been participating on the Piranhas Swim team and taking the Swim Stroke Improvement classes for 3 years. Ellie has loved the water since she was a baby, spending time swimming in her grandparent’s pool. She enjoyed being a part of the Summer Swim Team and is looking forward to this year’s Swim Stroke Improvement classes in preparation for next year’s team. Way to #PORTicipate, Ellie and congratulations!
Who is Isadore Sponder? Growing up in Port Colborne, Isadore Sponder began swimming at the age of 15 in either Lake Erie or the Welland Canal or both, as most children of his age did. Between 1927 – 1933, Isadore competed against such noted swimming greats as Marvin Nelson and Gianni Gambi. During the era when the Canadian National Exhibition Marathon Swim was one of the Premier World Marathons, Isadore finished in the top 3, four times.
Good friend Ernie Marsh stated, “he was quite a swimmer - he tried his best and brought considerable recognition to Port Colborne”.
He passed away in December of 1986 at the age of 74.
In 1993, the Centennial Pool Lift for handicapped swimmers was dedicated to the citizens of Port Colborne by the Sponder Family. With the decommissioning of Centennial Pool and building of Vale Health & Wellness Centre the city, alongside Isadore’s Family, wanted to ensure his memory lived on in Port Colborne.
To watch last night’s presentation at council, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpDm2vDHA-4.
Photographed left to right: Jen Laur, Swim Instructor, Fred Horvath, a family member of Isadore Sponder, Ellie Maltman, 2019 recipient, and Mayor Bill Steele.