How They Swim – Richard "Tod" Spieker

A tribute to a legend: Richard “Tod” Spieker
I know this post is somewhat overdue, but I still would like you to inform you on this great moment. Last year, in 2016, The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) awarded the organization’s Gold Medallion Awards to Richard “Tod” Spieker, the renown swimmer and now a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and real estate investor. The ceremonies took place in Santa Clara, California, on October 29th.

The Gold Medallion is ISHOF’s highest honor and since 1983, the award has been conferred annually upon a person who has contributed competitively to the world of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, or water polo playing. The recipients may also have achieved recognition for their accomplishments in the fields of government, science, education, business, or entertainment, and their lives must be positive role models for youth.

Former recipients of the Gold Medallion Award include, for example, US President Ronald Reagan, H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, US Senator Barry Goldwater, Olympic and Baseball boss Peter Ueberroth, US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young, entertainer Esther Williams, and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon.

While Tod Spieker may not be known to the American public as a prior Award recipient, the organization was honored to share the great story of this reserved and humble man’s path to glory and success in business and life, something Tod attributes to the important lessons he was taught in his years he was a swimmer. Tod Spieker began swimming competitively at the age of eight, but it was not until he was twelve that he won his first race.

Richard “Tod” Spieker started to swim competitively when he was eight years old, but he had to wait until he reached the age of twelve before he started to win races. Tod was mentored and trained by legendary coaches such as Bob Gaughran, Bob Horn, Nort Thornton, and Della and Al Sehorn, and Tod became an All-American Swimmer during his years at Menlo-Atherton High School and UCLA. Unlike most athletes, the gifted swimmer began to plan for his post-athletic life already when he was still active as a competing swimmer.

At UCLA, Tod majored in geography, and during his senior year, he also took an extra course in real estate at Santa Monica College. Tod graduated in 1971 and over the following ten years he gained a lot of experience, so in 1981, he established his own enterprise, Spieker Companies. In that year, Tod acquired his first apartment units complex in Campbell, Calif., and today, the Spieker business is based in Palo Alto. It is an entirely privately-held and owned property management and investment company that employs over 200 staff and handles more than 4,000 rental apartments, predominantly in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Tod Spieker got involved in adult age group swimming n 1977 and came back to the pool to burn his way through the world record books of the FINA Masters for the following decades to swim so good that in 2005, he was inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame. Tod is not competing anymore, but he still starts off his days with an extensive swim workout before he sets out to his office.  He says that his years of training and swimming have provided the tools and the lessons to become successful in the real estate business, and as a husband, father, and grandfather. These experiences additionally endowed him with a great desire to give so much back to society and family. Over the decades, Tod has generously and actively supported several aquatic organizations and projects, such as the UCLA campus Spieker Aquatic Center, the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and USA Masters Swimming. Tod is also still serving on various Boards, including the UCLA Foundation, and the Ziman Center for Real Estate.

About the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
The International Swimming Hall of Fame & Museum was founded in 1965 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a nonprofit educational agency. The organization was recognized in 1968 by FINA, the international official organization for Olympic aquatic sports. It is ISHOF’s mission to preserve and celebrate aquatic history, to inform and educate the public about the relevance and importance of watersports in general, and swimming in particular, as a major factor towards water safety, to prevent drowning, to inspire the public for swimming, and to reach a better quality of life and better health in general. ISHOF features an impressive collection art, photos, swimming memorabilia, and films, and there are many archival documents and pretty rare books on display in ISHOF’s Henning Library. This makes the organization the most important resource for repository and academic research regarding aquatic history and swimming across the world.