Saturday, March 26, 2011
Hall of Fame - LeLei Fonoimoana BYU
LeLei Fonoimoana entered BYU in 1976 as a teenage phenomenon with a string of swimming honors. At age 15 she helped set an American record in the 400 medley relay, and at 17 she placed seventh in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, missing a medal by only five-tenths of a second.
Noted for her intense concentration and lengthy workouts in the Richards Building pools, LeLei subsequently put BYU on the national swimming charts.
She amassed a total of 11 All-America awards, nearly double the number earned by any other BYU female athlete. She has held or holds five school records ar sea level - 50, 100, and 200-meter butterfly as well as the 100 and 200-meter individual medley.
In her freshman season, LeLei scored all of BYU's 64 points at the AIAW National Championships. She collected five All-America awards in the butterfly and individual medley events while picking up an 18th-place finish for the team.
As a sophomore, she won three more All-America awards; as a junior, she won two; and then she sat out the 1979-80 collegiate season to practice in Florida for the Olympic trials.
During her senior season, LeLei, a pre-med major, won her eleventh All-America award in her specialty, the 100-meter butterfly. That year she was selected Outstanding Senior Female Athlete by the Cougar Club and was named to the AIAW All-Region Team. Although the conference did not award honors until her junior year, she headed the all-Conference list in her final two seasons.
Since leaving BYU, LeLei has enjoyed extensive professional employment as an assistant swim coach at UCLA, a senior lifeguard, a therapist, and a dance instructor.