Gateway Class of 1988
Like Hall of Famers Michelle Chow and Melanie Morgan before her, Anne Spaeder was a High School Champion that competed at the local, state and national levels. She is the only swimmer in the rich tradition of Gateway Swimming who can lay claim to scoring points on all three Gateway PIAA Championship Swim Teams. Anne Spaeder optimized the Gateway tradition. As the backbone of the power years of Gator swimming, her dedication to training and her support to her teammates exemplifies the term MVP. Her contributions to the team and her many individual accomplishments confirm that Anne Spaeder was a special MVP to everyone who had the privilege to compete with her. She was always the quiet one in the group that always kept things in perspective. The Gateway Sports Hall Of Fame is proud to induct Anne Spaeder here this evening as the third individual member from Gateway’s glory swim days of the 80’s.
Anne Spaeder had a simply stellar swimming career during her years at Gateway High School. She was a four time WPIAL Champion in the 200 Individual Medley earning Gold Medals each of her four years at Gateway. She placed 2nd in the 100 Butterfly at the WPIAL Championships her senior year. The 200 Individual Medley her senior year at the PIAA Championships would be the fastest ever accomplished by a Gateway swimmer. Anne is the only Gateway swimmer to hold three PIAA State Team Swimming Championships; 1985, 1986 and 1988. She is also the current record holder in the 200 Individual Medley, the 100 Butterfly and the 400 Freestyle Relay.
Anne earned eleven PIAA State Medals over her four year swimming career at Gateway. She was the recipient of the Gateway Girls “Outstanding Swimmer Award” her freshman, sophomore and junior years. Her senior year, 1988, she was awarded the prestigious “Michelle Chow Award” presented to the Outstanding Senior Swimmer. Her senior year she was elected Co-Captain. Anne received the High School All American Award in the 200 Individual Medley placing in the top five in the country in 1988. She qualified for the Junior National Championships in 1985 in the 200 Individual Medley at the WPIAL Championship meet. She swam in eight Junior National Championships from 1985 to 1988 and placed 3rd overall at the 1988 Spring National Meet in the 400 Individual Medley.
As a member of 4×100 Relay Team, Anne won four Gold Medals at the WPIAL Championships from 1985 to 1988. At the PIAA State Championship meets, the team won Gold Medals in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay her freshman, sophomore and senior years. Anne’s teams won the PIAA State Team Championships three of her four years at Gateway. In 1987, her team won the Silver Medal in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay and her team earned a 2nd place finish overall at the State Swimming Meet. The time in that relay still stands on the record board today even though not winning the 1987 team championship was a disappointing loss to the team and for Gateway High School. In her four years at Gateway, Anne Spaeder made an impact. She was an integral part of girls swimming throughout her amazing career.
After her senior year, Anne was offered a full scholarship to Florida State University to continue her swimming career. She swam for the Seminoles all four years, 1988 to 1992, and earned letters each year. While at Florida State, she was the recipient of the prestigious “No Pain No Gain” Award her freshman and senior years. She placed 2nd in the 400 Individual Medley at the Metro Conference Championships her freshman year and a 2nd place finish in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay the same year. After six months of shoulder rehabilitation from surgery in 1990, Anne placed 3rd in the 400 Individual Medley and 2nd in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay her junior year.
Anne was a member of the Metro Conference Championship Team her junior year which in fact is the only year in Florida State history that the women’s swimming team ever won a conference championship. She was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference all academic and athletic list her senior year. This was the first year that Florida State joined the ACC. Anne was named to the prestigious “Athletic Council” at Florida State her senior year under Athletic Director Bob Goin. She was the recipient of the “N.B. Stultz Award” given to the outstanding senior swimmer at Florida State based on leadership, academics and athletics. She was named Team Captain her senior year at Florida State. She currently holds the 4th fastest time ever recorded at Florida State in the 400 Individual Medley.
Upon completion of her swimming career at Florida State, Anne became a tri-athlete. She placed 2nd in her age group at the Sandestin Elephant Walk Triathlon in 1992. This was her first competition at this level and she continued to compete at the local and state levels in triathlons. In 1997, Anne swam in the United States Master’s National Swimming Championships and won a 2nd place in the 800 Freestyle, a 3rd place in the 400 Individual Medley and a 4th place in the 200 Individual Medley in the 25 to 29 age group. She is currently training with the Master’s Swim Team in Tallahassee, FL.
In May of 1993, Anne graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Special Education along with an Early Childhood Pre-Handicapped Endorsement. She is currently certified to teach pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Anne was appointed to design and implement an Early Childhood Special Education Program for disadvantaged children by Leon County Schools in 1993. Anne is currently teaching part time in the local preschool and she volunteers in the local elementary school. She swims and trains regularly. She currently lives in Tallahassee, FL with her husband Joe Kelley and their three children; Katelin age 9, Ian age 7 and Joey age 5. Anne feels blessed with her busy life as a wife and mother.
We asked Anne about her most vivid memory during her days at Gateway:
“Reflecting back on the memories of Gateway High School trigger many incredible moments in my life. There are the personal memories and the team memories but probably the most profound team moment came at the state meet in 1985.
I’ll never forget that there were only six girls representing Gateway High School at the meet. Mr. Petrillo sat us down at dinner the eve before our first swims and told us that we were picked to win the state championship after he left a coaches meeting that evening. We were a young and small team, but powerful. Keep in mind that this was my first experience swimming at the state level and I had just come off an amazing and surprising win at the WPIAL championships…no pressure, right? We took the challenge and with the adrenaline pumping and the nerves transformed into positive energy, we began to dream of the possibilities of earning that prestigious trophy for ourselves and for Gateway. We wanted that victory for Mr. P and all of the coaches, too!
We all swam our hearts out for two days with the six of us placing in each of our events scoring the necessary points. It came down to the 4×100 relay for the victory…the very last event of the whole meet. Our relay team consisted of senior Donna Ledgerwood, junior Michelle Chow, sophomore Celeste Makiel and myself a novice freshman. We swam to an exciting victory, a team record, and most importantly, the State Swimming Championship! The moment was spectacular…we cried, we cheered, we laughed, we hugged and it was awesome. At that moment, Gateway High School made history and I felt extremely proud and humbled for our amazing and surprising victory.
I went on to participate in three more state meets in which we won two more state titles! Each year was unique with diverse teams sharing common goals, accomplishing our dreams and displaying team spirit beyond imagination with memories to last a lifetime!
My most vivid personal memory is still fresh after 15 years. Winning the state championship in the 200 Individual Medley was the highlight of my swimming career. I can still remember the feelings and emotions as I touched the wall, glanced over to Mr. P and all of my teammates and realized that my dream became reality.. I did it…I was the new State Champion representing Gateway High School and it felt incredible! It’s an amazing memory because I never ever swam that fast again in my career. It was an emotional moment and one that I’ll cherish forever.
An individual who was instrumental in the success of the team over those four years was “Mr. P” (Petrillo). He will forever remain one of the most influential coaches in my life as he is a man of integrity and an inspiration to so many young people. His passion for teaching and his love for coaching will forever remain a gift to Gateway High School. Thank You for this honor as an inductee into the 2003 Hall of Fame as I take pride in Gateway High School and all of the lifetime achievements accomplished…GO GATORS!”Anne Spaeder