Elizabeth McCleary (known as “Eli” to her Stanford teammates) began swimming at Lakewood and Clifton park Pools and joined the Knights of Columbus Team when she was six years old.
“Liz” splashed onto the local scene as a ten year old (1958) with a ten and under record in the Dundalk YMCA Invitational in the 40 yard Freestyle (the waves in that old gutter less pool were usually taller than any ten year old). Later that season Liz set a NAG Record in the 100 meter Individual Medley at 1:36.
By 1960 Liz was a multiple record breaker in local meets while also ranked in the top five in Middle Atlantic Age Group tennis. In 1962 Liz was a member of the Eastern All Star Team competing against the West German National Team.
On July 7, 1962 to prove she was not merely a sprinter, Liz won First Place in the initial Chesapeake Bay Swim. The following year Liz qualified for the Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Swimming with Donna DeVarona, Marjorie Templeton, Maddie Ellis, Liz broke the Pan American Games Record in winning the 400 Free Relay. For three consecutive years Liz was ranked in the top 20 times in the World. A versatile swimmer in 1964 her 2:39.0 for 200 meter Individual Medley was a Seventeenth place ranking. Also in 1964 Liz was Second in the National Championships in the 100 Back and Sixth at Olympic Trials in the 100 Back. She was also named as an all-American on the 1964, ‘65 and ’66 Women’s all-American Water Polo Team.
In her professional life Eli Primrose-Smith has chosen to excel in the heady world of international sports administration. Beginning with a career in marketing and fundraising, she managed the World Games in 1981 in Santa Clara. Then she was Associate Vice President for the 1984 Los Angeles Organizing Committee and most recently as Chief Administrative Officer for Word Cup USA 1994. Eli managed over 400 full time staff and 25,000 volunteers in nine cities.
Eli Primrose-Smith continues to expand the horizon of Maryland sports figures as she accepts a position with IBM to coordinate its efforts for the 1996 Games in Atlanta.