|Year:||Class of 2014|
|Sport:||Water Polo, Swim & Dive|
Although Bob Justice’s first swim class at College of Marin involved an outside volley ball game because there was no pool, he soon became the heart and soul of a thriving and far-reaching aquatics program in his more than three decades at the College
“I’m an optimist,” Justice said. “When you start at the bottom of the hole there’s no way but up.”
Justice, 78, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Iowa where he was a standout on the gymnastics team, primarily on the trampoline and the tumbling mat, and in spring board diving for the swim team. His specialty was the triple twisting back somersault. He was one of only three people at the time able to pull that off.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in Physical Education at San Jose State in 1963 and began his teaching career at a Southern California high school before accepting an invitation from College of Marin to set up a swim program.
By the end of 1964, the College had a new pool and a swim team. Diving was his specialty but he worked with numerous All American swimmers over the year as well.
In the late 60s, after reading some books on water polo, he launched the College’s first waterpolo team so kids could swim year-round.
“The first waterpolo game I ever saw was the one I was coaching,” he says. “I knew a little bit about basketball and soccer and some of the ideas back in those days were similar.”
He grew the aquatics program to include life savings and water safety curriculum, spring board diving and, drawing on his early diving experience diving in the Iowa quarries in the mid-50s, he started a hugely poplar scuba certification program. He used to take his advance scuba class up to Lake Tahoe to practice high altitude compass courses at night in the clear waters. Then they would travel to Monterey to practice in waters with limited views.
His passion for diving took him on abalone and lobster dives along the entire West Coast, into Alaska and several international trips for underwater photography in the Caribbean.
As the public thirst for fitness grew in the 70s, he began to coach lap swimmers at the Indian Valley Campus pool, providing training techniques and workouts for amateur competitors.
In the last eight years he’s stayed near the water by coaching the dive teams at Drake High School. He still considers twisting a personal specialty.
He’s coached two state champion divers and several All American swimmers, but more importantly, he says are the lifelong friends he’s maintained with many athletes, including state champion and Hall of Fame member Dave Cotton and All Americans Kendra Jordon and Melissa Cox.
“I have loved it,” he says. I feel very lucky. I’ve stayed in contact with them over the years
Justice has four grown children and is married to June Lee, director of student Health at College of Marin.