Marilyn Ramenofsky

In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.

Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.

Marilyn Ramenofsky


Marilyn Ramenofsky earned a silver medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in the 400-meter freestyle.

The Phoenix Central High School graduate was the heavy favorite heading into the event. She had the fastest qualifying time and had set the world record in the 400 three times in the months leading up to the Olympics.

Her fastest time was 4 minutes 39.5 seconds, set at the 1964 U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

At the Olympics, she finished second to teammate Ginny Duenkel with a time of 4:47.7.

"I broke the record three times and hit my peak early in 1964," Ramenofsky said.

"After the Olympic trials, it got very tough. There was a lot of pressure to perform and that was hard. I could maybe handle it now, but at the time, it was very difficult."

Ramenofsky attended Pamona College in California after the Olympics, but never swam there because there wasn't a women's team.

She often swam with the men's team to stay in shape.

Before the Olympics in 1964, Ramenofsky set the then U.S. record in the 220-yard freestyle in 2:17.3.

Currently, Ramenofsky is a professor and researcher at the University of California-Davis. She studies bird migration and also teaches a history of Olympics course with 1968 Olympic decathlon champion Bill Toomey.

Hometown; age

Davis, Calif.; 64

She said it

"When I got second place, I felt like I failed. I kept it under wraps after, because I wasn't proud of what I did. You go on with your life eventually, and now I enjoy talking about my experiences and I'm very proud."

Daniel Berk