YMCA Water Rats Mourn Bill Krumm

The Westport Weston Family YMCA — particularly its extended Water Rats family — was stunned to learn of the death of Bill Krumm.

The 61-year-old — who served as western zone sports development consultant for USA swimming, after retiring in 2007 after 27 years as Water Rats head coach — suffered a heart attack in San Diego on Friday night.

Tributes poured in from former swimmers and their parents. Many echoed the same words: “constant,” “kind,” “caring.” One woman said, “He created the kind of community you wanted your child to be in.”

Bob Knoebel — who hired him in 1980 — said, “Bill was incredibly organized and detail-oriented. We hosted some very complex events, with hundreds of swimmers. He was always there first, to make sure everything was in place to run a successful meet.”


Bill Krumm

Knoebel gave Krumm his first Westport Y job, as coach of the 9-12-year-olds. But his talents were quickly apparent. Within 2 years, Knoebel made him head coach for the entire program. Many of his swimmers went on to set team, state and zone records.

On its website, the Y called Krumm “the anchor of our program.” It added:

Bill was an exacting coach with a stern façade, who got the best out of his swimmers.  Underneath that curmudgeon-like exterior, however, was a kind and gentle soul who had a great sense of humor and devoted his life to our team when he was its coach.

The Connecticut native graduated in 1977 from Southern Connecticut State University, where he was a nationally ranked swimmer and water polo player. He won the Robert B. Muir Award as New England’s top senior swimmer, and in 1995 was inducted into SCSU’s Sports Hall of Fame.

YMCA logoKrumm held many leadership positions as a volunteer in the swimming community. He was YMCA League President, a member of the USA Swimming Safety Education Committee, and was general chairman of Connecticut Swimming.

He relished his final consultant position with USA Swimming. From his home in Colorado Springs, he traveled throughout the west — including Alaska and Hawaii — advising swim clubs on best practices.

A celebration of his life is planned for this spring, in Westport.

12 responses to “YMCA Water Rats Mourn Bill Krumm

  1. Bill was only my coach briefly and I was no star but he treated me the same as everyone else, “Evan! Get in the water and swim the intervals!”

    I loved being part of a team and my favorite thing about every team I was a part of in Westport were the leaders!

  2. Everyday I open my phone or newspaper only to realize the old adage is true. – the Good sadly die young
    Bill was one of those good

  3. Susan Iseman

    Such a sweet guy – sorry to hear about this. I remember a funny story – I went with him to a Knicks game in the city. The weather report called for snow, but he was game as was I, never expecting it would be cancelled. Of course it was, after we’d driven through what amounted to over a foot. We had dinner in the city and drove back that evening. Bill had a great sense of humor about the whole thing . He was a great driver and a perfect gentleman!

  4. I couldn’t think of a better description of Bill than in the words you wrote.
    We all enjoyed our Water Wrat experience and those years with Bill.
    I never knew we were the same age. It certainly gave me pause. So sad. I look forward to the celebration of his life.

  5. Teresa Paternoster

    What a talent he shared with an entire community of swimmers, from all over! A wonderful man who inspired so many kids to push harder and never give up…life skills that they will uphold forever. He will never be forgotten.

  6. Cathy Walsh

    This makes my heart sad. Bill was a great coach and a wonderful person. Bill was the first person to enter our lives when we moved to westport in 1990.

  7. Wendy Crowther

    Bill was among a great bunch of dedicated colleagues that I had the privilege of working with during my 11 years of employment at the Westport Y. He had a way of coming up with one-liners that, when combined with his impish grin and the twinkle in his eye, made me laugh out loud. Twenty-five years later, especially when reminiscing with my old Y buddies, we still use the phrases he coined and we still laugh out loud. He will be missed by all the swimmers he coached, the coaches he advised, and the friends he made along the way.

  8. Meghan Vogt (Fenn)

    To say that learning yesterday of Bills passing was devastating would be an understatement. Bill was more than a swim coach to me and my siblings and I know I speak for us all when I say how much we cared for him. I have been able to keep up with him through Facebook and have seen how incredibly happy Bill has been over the past few years. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. He was such a wonderful man.

  9. Thomas Carey

    I was very sad to hear of Bill’s passing. Bill was an excellent coach to my son Brian and I enjoyed working with him as Co-President of the Wrat Swim Club oh those many years ago.

  10. Claire Sacramone

    Why does God take the good ones? Bill was a great coach,a hard worker and a great addition to our Y staff. I worked with Bill for fourteen years,he and Bob K were like sons to me. Bill was fun to be with and I am so grateful to have known him.

  11. Amy Hahnfeldt Hios

    I was so sad to hear the news of Bill’s passing – I was a Water Rat and will forever remember my years swimming at the Westport Y. Thought it was really amazing when so many years later, I brought my son to learn to swim at the Y and the same 2 guys were sitting in the office, as they were when I was a child. I’m sure Bill will be missed by the Y community.

  12. Andrew Edelstein

    As a 9 year-old, I remember being more than intimidated by Bill’s “stern façade” and “curmudgeon-like exterior.” However, his profound warmth and wry sense of humor quickly won me over. He was perfectly placed as a coach for young adolescents: someone with high standards that you never wanted to disappoint, but could always rely on to support you. Until hearing about his death, I hadn’t thought about just how integral he was to my growth as a person, and I am sure to hundreds of other Water Rats who swam under him.