Dr. Jane Katz
On The Web
Jane Katz and Eve Ellis are two Jewish women who have made significant contributions to the furtherance of women in competitive sports, and to the Maccabiah Games--sometimes called the Jewish Olympics.
Jane Katz first gained national attention when she was chosen, at the age of 14, to compete at the 1957 Maccabiah Games in Israel She studied physical education at the City College of New York, then earned an M.A. in Education Administration and Organization from New York University in 1966, as well as an M.Ed. degree in Therapeutic Recreation for Aging, in 1972 and her doctorate in Gerontology in 1978, both from Columbia University.
Katz credits her parents for their influence in her becoming a professional athlete and teacher. Dorothea and Leon Katz founded the Lower East Side Neighborhood Association in 1957, giving many minority children, including Jane and her sister who grew up in this neighborhood, the opportunity to learn and compete in swimming and track-and-field events. Her father still teaches swimming on the Lower East Side.
She was a member of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Performance Team at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and is one of the professional swimmers responsible for the acceptance of synchronized swimming as an Olympic event. As a world class competitive, long distance and synchronized swimmer she has competed in numerous races all over the world. In 1989 she finished first in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meter freestyle at the Second World Masters Games in Denmark. Out of 40,000 master swimmers in the U.S., she currently ranks sixth.
She has been a faculty member at City University of New York since 1964. Now at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Professor Katz teaches fitness and swimming to hundreds of students, including New York City's police and firefighters. She serves as a consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and is a member of the Congress of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of many awards, among them the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur Certificate of Merit awarded for her dedication to the sport of swimming at the XXVII Olympiad in Australia in 2000 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aquatic Fitness Association.
Following a major auto accident in 1979, Katz created her own aquatic rehabilitation program that led to her writing about fitness training. She is the author of Fitness Works (1988), Swimming for Total Fitness (1993), Water Fitness During Your Pregnancy (1995); The All-American Aquatic Handbook: Your Passport to Lifetime Fitness (1996); and The New W.E.T. Workout (1996).
Both Jane Katz and Eve Ellis are concerned that physical education, like music and art, are slowly disappearing from the public schools, especially now when students spend so much of their time sitting in front of computers. They feel there should be more, not less, emphasis on sports as it can be a democratic unifying factor for all.
Appearances on CUNY TV
- Living Arts
February 9, 2011
Criminal Justice Matters
- Home from the War: Aquatics for Vets
September 7, 2016
Jewish Women in America
- Jane Katz, swimmer, and Eve Ellis, tennis player
February 18, 2004