June 21, 2001
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech head swimming and diving coach Seth Baron has been named the head coach for the United States Maccabiah Swim Team, which will compete at the 16th World Maccabiah Games, July 16-26, 2001, in Israel. The swim team will be one of 26 United States sports teams that will compete at the world’s fourth-largest international, Olympic-style event, according to Jordan Weinstein, chairman of the U.S. 16th Maccabiah Steering Committee.
Baron, who recently completed his fourth season as the Yellow Jackets’ head swimming and diving coach will be serving as the U.S. team’s head coach for the second-straight World Maccabiah Games, after serving in the same role in 1997 at the 15th running of the games.
Under Baron’s guidance, Georgia Tech completed the most successful season in the history of its swimming and diving program in 2001, with two swimmers earning All-America honors and four swimmers earning All-ACC recognition. The Jackets finished 29th at the NCAA Championships, scoring at that meet for the first time in school history and Tech placed third at the ACC meet, with the highest finish and point total in school history. At the ACCs, the Jackets scored 434.50 points, surpassing the teams previous best of 289 points set in 2000.
At the NCAA meet, sophomores Shilo Ayalon (Kfar Hanassi, Israel) and Tomonori Tsuji (Osaka, Japan) earned honorable mention All-America honors, as Ayalon finished 11th in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:01.76, and Tsuji placed 13th in the 200 breaststroke with a school-record time of 1:58.37. Both swimmers also were named to the All-ACC team, and were joined by junior David Laitala (Richardson, Texas) on that list.
A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Baron received a degree in Marketing/Public Relations from Auburn University in 1987. He was a two time All-American for the Tigers during his career, earning four letters and serving as the team’s captain as a senior. He also competed at the World Maccabiah Games in 1985, winning six gold medals and a silver. Baron and his wife Susan have a 1-year-old son, Joshua Robert.
Over 5,000 athletes representing more than 50 countries will take part in the 16th edition of the Maccabiah, a quadrennial athletic competition for Jewish athletes.
“The United States is expecting to send a contingent of 700 athletes and coaches, which would make it the largest U.S. Maccabiah Team in history,” reported Weinstein. “Members of the United States Organizing Committee are committed to ensuring that all members of the U.S. Team come to Israel as Jewish athletes and return as athletic Jews,” Jordan Weinstein said.
Previously, the U.S. Maccabiah Team has included such sports greats as basketball stars Ernie Grunfeld, and Danny and Dolph Schayes, golfer Bruce Fleisher, gymnast Mitch Gaylord, swimmer Mark Spitz, tennis pros Brad Gilbert and Dick Savitt.
The quadrennial World Maccabiah Games, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, brings Jewish athletes from around the world together for competition in three categories, juniors, masters and open. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for July 16, 2001 at Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem, and closing ceremonies will take place in Jerusalem on July 26, 2001.
“Our formulas remains consistent,” said Weinstein. “Sports is the attraction. The Land of Israel is the vehicle. Jewish continuity is our primary goal.”
“I am very honored to have been appointed a head coach for the Maccabiah Games,” said Baron. “Though this will be my second opportunity as a head coach, it is always a wonderful experience to represent your country in international competition. “
Baron added, “The U.S. team is always one of the strongest teams at the Maccabiah Games. We look forward to having three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lenny Krayzelburg joining the team this summer. Lenny is the current World Record holder in the 100 & 200 meter backstroke and will be the first Olympian, since Mark Spitz, to be a member of the U.S. swimming team at the Maccabiah Games.”
The U.S. Maccabiah team is sponsored by Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, which is a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that seeks to enrich the lives of Jewish youth in the U.S., Israel and throughout the Diaspora through cultural, athletic and educational programs.
More information about the Maccabiah Games is available at the official website of the 16th World Games, www.maccabiah.org, and at the U.S. website, www.maccabiusa.com