Globisch sisters

Sisters Marilyn, left, and Pauline Globisch were standout swimmers in the 1940s.

This story contains links that will take you to our archives site on newspapers.com. This content is free for LancasterOnline subscribers who are logged in. Click here for more information about how to subscribe.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Alfred W. Globisch was 14 when his parents brought him to Lancaster County a little more than a century ago. Among many accomplishments, Globisch went on to pioneer the teaching of physical education in Ephrata School District. He also navigated waters in the Conestoga Creek, learning the proficiencies of swimming. He later taught those proficiencies to daughters Marilyn and Pauline, mostly focusing on the breast stroke.

The Globisch sisters would go on to lead highly-successful, though short, swimming careers.

For a brief time as a world-class swimmer in her youth, Marilyn held the 1940 world record in the 50-yard breast stroke and later qualified for the 1944 Olympic, which was not held due to World War II. Marilyn also set numerous Middle Atlantic State records at the time. She would be done swimming by 17, graduating from McCaskey in 1942 as valedictorian. Her prowess in the pool apparently led to the formation of McCaskey's first swimming program.

Sister Pauline became a state champion in North Carolina and set many records in Middle Atlantic Junior Championship competitions.

Marilyn went on to attend Penn State, where she met Thomas Smith, who was an all-state basketball player at Indiana High School before becoming an All-American men's lacrosse player for the Nittany Lions. The two married in 1948 and settled in Lancaster, where Thomas Smith served as Franklin & Marshall College's first men's lacrosse coach from 1949 to 1952.

The couple later had two children, including Claudia Smith. Around this time 50 years ago, Claudia was in the beginnings of a Hall of Fame tennis career. At Hempfield, Claudia was undefeated in singles and doubles competition in 1972 and 1973. In 1973, the PIAA held a girls tennis championship for the first time, with Claudia coming out the victor, forever holding the distinction as the state's first girls tennis champ. She also won the District Three title and led Hempfield to a perfect season that year. Claudia went on to play at F&M and Wake Forest. By 1976, she had been rated in the top 25 junior rankings in the nation in her respective age group for eight years running.

Alfred Globisch is credited with teaching more than 10,000 boys how to swim during his 37 years as physical education teacher at the now former Lancaster YMCA - the natatorium there was designated in his honor in 1974. He died in 1979 at age 89.

Thomas Smith was later inducted into Lancaster County Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001, with the induction of daughter Claudia Smith Holtry following the next year.

Marilyn Globisch Smith worked 28 years as a health teacher at the former Wheatland Junior High School before retiring in 1985. She died in 2002 at age 77. Thomas Smith died in 2005 at age 79.

Claudia Smith Holtry was also inducted into the Hempfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

What to Read Next