Class of 1954
Inducted in 2005
Ron was inducted into the Packer Sports Greats in 2005.
Ron was an outstanding swimmer, representing SHS alone at a time when there was no formal swimming program at the school, or even a pool. We believe he was SHS's first State Swimming Champion. He won the 100 yard Breaststroke State Championship three years. In his Senior year, he recorded one of the five fastest high school times in the country that year. He won the coveted AAU National Junior 220 yard Breaststroke Indoor Championship for Men in 1953. He received another AAU National Junior Championship as a member of the Medley Relay Team that year also.
Ron was voted Omaha Swimmer of the Year by the Omaha YMCA in 1954 and received the Pete Wendell Trophy recognizing the Midwest Swimmer of the Year in 1954. He also held numerous pool and meet records throughout the State and Midwest.
Upon graduation he accepted an swimming scholarship to Iowa State University where he lettered three years. He was Big 7 Conference Champion in the 100 yard Breaststroke and co-captain of the team for two years. During that time, he was a member of a 400 yard Medley Relay team that broke the American Record in that event.
It wasn't until 2019 (65 years later) that his 100 yard breaststroke record (1:04.00) was broken. On January 17, 2019, at a dual meet in South Sioux City High sophomore Terin Frodyma swam it in with a 1:03.45. The day before the meet, Coach Todd LeMense had emailed Ron and informed him that he still had the record, but it was in danger of falling. Twenty minutes before the meet, Todd received a phone call from a Phoenix, AZ area code where Ron lives, "Hello Todd? This is Ron Mlnarik." Coach grabbed Terin and they had a nice conversation and "Pep Talk" from the then 83 year old Mr. Mlnarik.