Anita Nall Richesson – Honor Athlete

Born Nadia Anita Louis Nall in July 1976, she was named in part for Romanian Gymnast Nadia Comaneci, whose spectacular perfect 10 routines were being broadcast as Anita’s mother Marilyn was in labor. Anita was the fourth of John and Marilyn Nall’s children. Anita’s first exposure to water was following her older sister’s to swim practice every day in the summer. Passing the “deep water” test at age six, she became a member of the swim team with her dad catching her head in her first backstroke race. Graduated to year round swimming around age eight, she swam first for Rusty Owens at the Harrisburg Aquatic Club, breaking records at various meets in the Mid-Atlantic Local Swim Committee. When John’s job relocated to the Baltimore area, then coach Ed Frasier pointed the talented swimmer in the direction of NBAC. At the time the top ranked 12 year old breaststroker in the country, Anita soon found a home in the Senior level of NBAC, where head coachMurray Stephens was looking to return to Olympic heights in 1992. In April 1991, at age 14, she shattered the American Record in the 200 Breaststroke twice by nearly two seconds. Less than a year later as a 15 years old, she bettered the World Record by equally as dramatic a drop twice in one day. Qualifying for the Olympic Games in Barcelona Spainin both the 100 and 200 M Breaststroke events, Anita was favored to medal in her first international meet. She swam for the cycle, winning a Gold (400 M Medley Relay), a Silver (100 M Breast) and a Bronze (200 M Breast). Anita’s 200 Breast record time still ranks as the fourth fastest American of all time. Anita graduated from Towson Catholic High School and attended Towson University while dealing with health challenges which hampered her attempts to return to the Olympic level. Retiring after the 2000 Trials, Anita moved to Arizona and finished her studies at Arizona State University. Always ready with a smile, Anita remains popular giving numerous clinics for young and old, bringing her love and enthusiasm for swimming to those she teaches. Married to Luke Richesson since 2002, Anita has begun her own life-coaching business. The couple have two children, Luther and Sunny. Anita will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in July, 2008 during Olympic Trials. For her record shattering swims while breaking new ground in American and indeed, women’s breaststroke worldwide, Anita Nall Richesson is inducted into the Maryland Swimming Hall of Fame.