Bruce Hopping

From Openwaterpedia

Bruce Hopping (nicknamed Brucey or Mr. B, born in 1921 in Saigon, Vietnam, died 17 May 2018 at the age of 96 years in California) is an American open water swimmer from Laguna Beach, California.


  • He is an Emeritus patron of the ISHOF, patron of the AAU, FINA, ISA, CIF, OCC Rowing, and a two-time Olympic swimming judge.
  • He has been formally acknowledged by various officials, governors, ambassadors, diplomats, provincial administrators, tribal chiefs, warrior clans, and others. Since 1968, Bruce also has worked tirelessly through the Kalos Kagathos foundation to ensure that Laguna Beach retains its historical legacy as an international destination promoting water sports, arts, and the environment.
  • He was honored as an Honor Contributor by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014.

International Swimming Hall of Fame


He was born in 1921 in Saigon and grew up in the islands of the Pacific. At 13, he studied at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana, USA. At 18, he entered the U.S. Army and was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas and worked in Shepphard Airfield Base in Texas, Westover Air Base in Massachusetts, El Toro in California, Kaneohe Naval Air Station in Hawaii, and Clark Air Base in the Philippines where he served as a swimming coach at the U.S. Navy.

In World War II, he served as a med-evacuation pilot who retrieved the wounded bodies of soldiers from various Pacific theaters and returned them to the base hospital for treatment. One day, he was sent up with a spotter in typhoon conditions to locate a downed C 47 that later ran out of gas and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. For the next several weeks, they floated on a one-man raft in the ocean, enduring violent storms, tumultuous waves, and shark-infested waters, before eventually washing up on the Polillo Islands in the eastern Philippines. After a series of difficult setbacks, and with the help of locals in canoes, they eventually made it back safely to Manila, despite the presence of Japanese soldiers in the area.

Hopping inherited a sum of money from his parents and created the New Jersey Foundation in 1953 and later moved to Laguna Beach, California around 1960. In 1968, he renamed his foundation the Kalos Kagathos Foundation in 1968.

For 50 years, Hopping and the Foundation have been recognized for numerous contributions to water sports, arts, and the environment. His cultural exchanges for swim, surf, and water polo teams have included multiple events on every continent except Antarctica.

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