In all too short a life span, just short of 26 years, Herbert (Skip) Charles packed in a remarkable aquatics career as competitor, instructor and official.
A standout swimmer for Deering High School, specializing in the butterfly and later a University of Miami letterman, the precocious Portlander, early-on, began a spectacular career in water-skiing that gained broad State, regional and even international acclaim.
Skip proved a natural in the boat-towed event from the outset, operating from his family's camp on Sebago Lake. As a junior-to-be at Deering, Charles won the boy's State slalom and was second in the tricks phase in 1959. Skip added Pine Tree laurels in the men's slalom in 1960 and '61.
As a Miami Hurricane, Charles gained the sport's pinnacle by winning the men's overall title at Lake Placid, NY in 1962. Next summer, 1963, brought mixed fortune. Charles won the overall Massachusetts championship but later that summer a practice accident on Sebago left him with a dislocated hip that was to sideline him from skiing for nearly three years.
Skip remained very much on the scene, however, in the critically important and often contentious field of judging. He had already been serving as an assistant judge at age 18 and a regular judge at age 20. At age 25 he became a senior judge, the youngest at that level in the history of the American Water Ski Association. He also served as a water skiing instructor at summer camps on Sebago.
Charles likewise made a deep impression on charges not many years removed from himself as acting head swim coach at Deering while on leave from Miami during his recuperation from his hip injury.
One of those Rams, Bill Moses, credits Skip's personal example and coaching principles as a strong influence in Moses' later marked success as Deering swimming and soccer coach. Skip was a teacher in the Portland school system at the time of his death from Hodgkin's Disease in October, 1968. A scholarship to go to a Deering swimmer was established in his name. "Skip" was the son of Arthur and Helen Charles.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2619
South Portland, ME 04116
Phone (207) 272-2178
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1972 for the purpose of: 1) appointing and bestowing recognition awards and scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes; and, 2) to formally honor and memorialize Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state of Maine.