Sarasota Sharks Masters members Jim and Anna Lea Matysek were announced as recipients of the 2022 Capt. Ransom J. Arthur M.D. Award on Thursday evening.
The award recognizes their longtime contributions as volunteers for U.S. Masters Swimming, and is USMS’s most prestigious volunteer award, one given annually to a volunteer who has done the most to further the objectives of the organization.
They’re the first husband-and-wife duo to receive the award at the same time since Hugh and Jane Moore in 2002 and the sixth to do so overall. Jim worked in the IT department for USMS from 2002–2017 and Anna Lea in the membership services department from 2009–2017. (Jim was also a part-time contractor for USMS a few years before joining the staff full-time.)
Jim’s contributions to USMS began in 1996, when he created the organization’s website at the behest of Betty Barry, who, at the annual meeting the previous year, had been assigned to be the ad hoc computer online committee chair. Matysek taught himself web development and researched web hosting needs, and received a USMS Presidential Service Award for his work from then-President Mel Goldstein.
Matysek also began serving on the Registration Committee and the ad hoc computer online committee starting in 1996. He was USMS’s volunteer webmaster from 1996–2002.
In 1999, Matysek created the world’s first swim meet online entry and payment system, which earned him the National Championship Service Award and a Dorothy Donnelly Service Award that year. He was honored in 2000 with a dedication in the USMS Rule Book.
“Jim made possibly the single greatest volunteer contribution to U.S. Masters Swimming by creating the USMS website,” Sarasota Sharks member Nancy Kryka, Florida Aquatic Combined Team member Meegan Wilson, and Rochester Area Masters Swimming member Kay Turner wrote in their nomination letter. “The website’s thousands of pages of useful history and information would not exist without Jim Matysek. The website became the public face of USMS, with the home page receiving over one million views per year. This increased USMS visibility, motivated and engaged USMS members, and encouraged organizations to establish and sponsor swimming programs.”
Anna Lea began volunteering with Missouri Valley Masters as registrar and treasurer in 1989 before her mentor, Mike Calwell, persuaded her to go to the 1993 annual meeting, the first of 24 consecutive annual meetings she attended.
Matysek, who received a USMS Rule Book dedication in 2018, served on the Finance Committee from 1994–2009 and the Registration Committee from 1997–2009. She received a Dorothy Donnelly Service Award in 2004 and served on USMS’s Board of Directors 2005–2008.
Matysek currently serves on the History and Archives Committee and recently updated the online swimmer profiles for all members who served on national committees from 1989–2019. This required her to perform more than 3,000 data-entry transactions.
“Anna Lea Matysek’s three-plus decades of volunteer work has touched thousands of USMS members,” Kryka, Wilson, and MOVY Masters member Anthony Thompson wrote in their nomination letter. “Any task she’s undertaken has resulted in more members getting more from their USMS experience. Her deep love, understanding, and knowledge of our organization has driven her to excel and perform beyond the criteria for this award.”