Catie Ball

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Catie Ball
Personal information
Full name Catherine Northcutt Ball Condon
Nickname(s) "Catie"
Nationality  United States
Born (1951-09-30) September 30, 1951 (age 62)
Jacksonville, Florida
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 128 lb (58 kg)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Breaststroke, medley
Club J.E.T.S.
College team University of Florida
(Head coach)

Catherine Northcutt Ball Condon (born September 30, 1951), née Catherine Northcutt Ball, is a former American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in multiple events. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. 4x100-meter medley relay team. Ball is a former world record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events, and is remembered as a teenage star who was the dominant female breaststroke swimmer of her generation.

Early years[edit]

Catie Ball was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1951.[1] As a teenager, she swam for the J.E.T.S. swim team in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition and attended Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville.[2] In December 1966, she tied the world record of 1:15.7 in the 100-meter breaststroke at the international swim meet at the Hall of Fame pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[3] While swimming for the Lee High School Generals swim team, she won the 1967 Florida 2A state high school championships in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke events, setting Florida state records in both.[4][5] Her Florida record in the 100-yard breaststroke stood for eleven years.[4][5]

International swimming career[edit]

At the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ball won three gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events, and by swimming the breaststroke leg for the winning U.S. team in the 4x100-meter medley relay.[6][7] In the process, she set a new world records in all three events.[7] During the course of 1967, she set world records in all four individual breaststroke events as a 15-year-old.[8]

Despite having to overcome mononucleosis and missing several scheduled meets in early 1968,[9][10] Ball was the favorite to win three gold medals at the 1968 Olympics.[4] She was the reigning world record holder in all four breaststroke distances and bettered her own world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in August 1968.[11][12] She arrived at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, however, with a case of influenza.[4] She won her only Olympic medal, a gold, as a member of the winning U.S. 4x100-meter medley relay team by swimming the breaststroke leg of the four-person relay.[13] Sharing the gold medal honors were her relay teammates Kaye Hall (backstroke), Ellie Daniel (butterfly) and Susan Pedersen (freestyle).[14] In the 100-meter breaststroke final, Ball led close to the finish but physical exhaustion overwhelmed her,[4] and she finished fifth.[1] She was too ill to swim in the subsequent preliminary heats of the 200-meter breaststroke and was scratched from the event.[4][10]

College coaching career[edit]

After the Olympics, Ball received a special scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida,[15] but effectively dropped out of competition swimming because there were no women's college swim teams at the time and because of her desire to lead a more "normal" life.[4] As an undergraduate senior at the University of Florida, she was hired by athletic director Ray Graves to be the first head coach of the newly organized women's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) competition during the 1972–73 school year. In their first year of intercollegiate competition, Ball's Lady Gators swimmers were undefeated in dual meets and placed second at the AIAW national championship during her single-season tenure.[16]

Ball graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in education in 1973.

Life after swimming[edit]

Ball currently resides in Pensacola, Florida.[4] In the time since retiring from competition swimming at the age of 17, she has been a college swim coach, kindergarten teacher, junior swim coach, housewife and interior decorator.[4][17] Ball and her business partner have operated a successful interior decorating business, "Beside the Point," for the past decade.[2] She and her husband Tom Condon have three children and two grandchildren.[4]

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1976,[18] and the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.[4][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b, Olympic Sports, Athletes, Catie Ball. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Gene Frenette, "Where are they now? Olympic swimmer Catie Ball-Condon," The Florida Times-Union (July 22, 2011). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Associated Press, "Catie Ball Equals World Swim Mark; Her 1:15.7 Ties Record in Breast-Stroke Event," The New York Times, p. S38 (December 29, 1966). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jamie Secola, "Hall of Fame induction cements Ball-Condon's swimming legacy," Pensacola News-Journal (July 4, 2010). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  5. ^ a b FHSAA Girls Swimming & Diving 2009–10 Championship Records, Florida High School Athletic Association, Tallahassee, Florida, pp. 13 & 15 (2009). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Spitz and Catie Ball Shatter World Swim Records at Pan-American Games," The New York Times, p. S36 (August 1, 1967). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Murray Rose, "American Swimmers Garner 28 Titles," The Evening News, p. 4D (August 2, 1967). Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  8. ^ "Swimming; Pan Am Games," The New York Times, p. S121 (December 24, 1967). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  9. ^ "Illness Sidelines Swimmer Ball," St. Petersburg Times, p. 2C (February 10, 1968). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Associated Press, "U.S.–Yugoslavia in Cage Finals," The Evening Independent, p. 2C (October 23, 1968). Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  11. ^ United Press International, "Catie Ball Clips World Swim Mark," The New York Times, p. 50 (August 27, 2010). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  12. ^ Bob Ottum, "The Encore Will be in Mexico," Sports Illustrated (September 16, 1968). Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  13. ^, Athletes, Catie Ball. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  14. ^, Olympic Sports, United States Swimming at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  15. ^ Associated Press, "Florida To Seek Catie Ball," Sarasota Journal, p. 16 (January 22, 1969). Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Inductees, Catie Ball (2010). Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  17. ^ United Press International, "Catie Ball Still Active in Swimming," The Palm Beach Post, p. D6 (January 28, 1974). Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  18. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Catie Ball (USA). Retrieved July 13, 2010.

External links[edit]

  • Catie Ball – Olympic athlete profile at
  • Catie Ball (USA) – Honor Swimmer profile at International Swimming Hall of Fame

Preceded by
Soviet Union Galina Prozumenshchikova
Women's 100-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

December 28, 1966 – September 2, 1972
Succeeded by
United States Cathy Carr
Preceded by
Soviet Union Galina Prozumenshchikova
Women's 200-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

July 9, 1968 – April 7, 1971
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Julia Bogdanova