​​​​​North Carolina Swimming

Hall of Fame


401 Harrison Oaks Blvd. Suite 210 Cary NC 27513 US

Franke Ann Bell

A graduate of Stephens College in Missouri, Franke Belle continued her education in North Carolina, working toward a career in medical research. While awaiting word on a medical research grant, she accepted a position to teach swimming to young children at the Richmond YMCA. From Richmond, she moved to the Johnston Memorial YMCA. There she began to work with the underprivileged and handicapped, where she organized a competitive swimming team. Bell quickly developed one of the most successful age group/senior teams in the Southeast. More than 100 of her pupils earned college scholarships. The Franke Bell Coach of the Year Award was named for her by fellow North Carolina coaches who also selected her to be the first recipient.

Nancy Hogshead

Nancy Hogshead was a world class swimmer from the age of 14 through age 23. She was among the first women in her spot to disprove the myth that girls peaked early and couldn't get better after entering college. She did just that and capped her career with three gold and one silver medals in the 1984 Olympic Games while a pre-law student at Duke University. Hogshead grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and trained in Gainesville. During this period she was an American record holder in the 100 butterfly and a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team. Following the 1980 Games in which the United States did not compete, she entered Duke as their first and only scholarship swimmer. In her freshman year, she responded with four ACC Championships and an ACC record in the 200 fly. Nancy left Duke to train for the 1984 Olympics. During this time she converted from a butterflyer and distance swimmer to a freestyle sprinter. In the 1984 Olympics, Nancy anchored two winning relays and placed second in the 200 meter IM to go along with her gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle (the fastest time in the world in 1984). 

Martha McKee

Martha McKee, a long time resident of Chapel Hill, has become known and appreciated by the swimming community throughout North Carolina and the beyond for her many years of dedicated service. Her first administrative office was that of NCAAU Age Group Swimming Chairman in 1966. She has served on United States Committees (Rules, Site Selection and Registration). Martha was a member of the first national board of directors of U.S. Swimming (1978-83), and she remains a member of the USS National Registration Committee. In 1987, McKee received the USS Woman's Award at the national convention. Martha has been a tireless volunteer and official with the Chapel Hill Swim League; at UNC meets; at North Carolina age group meets; as well as at regional, zone and national championship meets.

Bill Sonner

Bill, a native of Rhode Island, has set a splendid example of dedication and consistency during a competitive swimming career spanning 40 years. In his senior year in high school, he was named the number one backstroker in the United States. Bill entered Ohio State University in 1949 and went on to win one NCAA Championship (100 back in 1950) as well as a second and two third place finishes in NCAA competition. Bill was drafted into the Marine Corps in December 1950, where he was able to continue his training and competition. He won four All-Service Championships in two years, placed in the National AAU Championships, and was fourth in the 100 meter backstroke at the 1952 Olympic trials. Bill continued swimming and entered North Carolina State University in 1954, where he won the 100 back at the 1955 ACC Championships. In 1956, while swimming with the North Carolina Athletic Club, Sonner swam to a work record on the medley relay team. Bill stayed active in swimming through adulthood by competing in Masters Swimming.  Bill Sonner passed away in 2020.

Class of 1989