Unlike many of her generation, Priscilla Logan's problem when husband Tom retired from the armed forces more than 30 years ago wasn't getting him out of the house. It was slowing him down.

Priscilla is happy to admits defeat on all fronts as Logan, who left the Navy in 1977 as the first New Zealand dentist to attain the rank of Surgeon Captain, used retirement to really get busy.

He died shortly before Christmas after a brief illness, aged 84, leaving a massive hole in the local and national swimming fraternity, particularly the masters movement, who will be forever indebted to his drive, enthusiasm and passion.

"Tom remained a very fit man and every morning he'd disappear into our back shed," Priscilla said, "where he'd set up his own gym with a walker, rowing machine, bike and bench press, for an early-morning workout. Then it was up to Baywave [pool], where he'd wait for all the kids to get out, chomping at the bit to get in and get swimming."


Logan was head boy and first XV rugby captain at New Plymouth Boys' High, graduating from Otago University as a dentist in 1951, where his rugby teammates included future All Black captains Ponty Reid, John Graham and Ron Elvidge.

An outstanding oral surgeon, in 1976 he was appointed honorary dental surgeon to the Queen and the following year was awarded a Queen's Birthday medal, shortly before being granted early retirement from the Navy and moving to the Western Bay.

But it was as a sportsman that Logan became best known.

Inspired by Johnny Weismuller, Olympic swimming champion in the 1920s and the orginal Tarzan, Logan was the first Taranaki swimmer to break 60 seconds for 100 yards, was a champion surf lifesaver with the Fitzroy club - winning the national championship in 1951 - captained the New Zealand University swim team to Australia in 1949 and was twice national breaststroke champion and New Zealand individual medley champion and record holder.

Logan captained the New Zealand waterpolo team to the 1950 British Empire Games, although he counted his greatest achievement in waterpolo coaching and playing in the Navy team that won the Ryan Cup New Zealand club championship in 1967, the only service team to have had that distinction in any sport.

In was after his retirement, and a 10-year stint in horticulture, that Logan's masters swimming really took off. A multiple New Zealand and world recordholder, he was a driving force behind the formation and success of the Durham Light masters club in Tauranga, national secretary/treasurer of New Zealand masters swimming from 1989-94, director of Oceania for masters swimming international for eight years before in 1987 being elected onto the first Fina Masters committee, a position he would hold for a decade.

In 1995 he was awarded Fina's silver pin four outstanding service. At 77 it was a Swimming NZ national service award and in 2005 he was awarded NZ masters swimming's first life membership.

He won four golds in 2001 in the 75-79 years age group at the world masters swimming champs in Melbourne, and more recently gold in the 400m individual medley and bronze and another New Zealand record in the 200m medley at the Fina world masters swimming champs in Perth three years ago.

The Logans' children, Patricia, James and Peter (they also have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren), all swam but were perhaps best known for their achievements as basketballers, with Peter playing for the Tall Blacks and James a successful coach at national league level.