Madera Athletic Hall of Fame swimmer passes

January 1, 2020

Madera Tribune File Photo

Madera Athletic Hall of Fame 2016 inductee Art Ruble, right, holds his plaque after he was introduced by teammate Steve Willford.

One of the most decorated swimmers in Madera Coyotes history, Mr. Arthur Ruble, passed away on Christmas day. He was 65-years-old.

 

Mr. Ruble, who swam in the in the early 1970’s, is still has top 10 swimming times in a few disciplines. 

 

Mr. Ruble was inducted into the Madera Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 and his honor was long-awaited.

 

“It’s a great honor to be inducted,” he said at the time. “I don’t want to sound snobbish. I think I should be there and I’m glad I’m there. It was my hometown where I developed into a swimmer that was able to go to the next level.”

 

Mr. Ruble grew up in Woodlake and moved to Madera in the fourth grade when his father got a teaching and coaching job at Madera High School. He swam with an AAU program and entered open events against 18-year-olds and beat them. 

 

When he was a sophomore Mr. Ruble set school records in the 50-yard butterfly and 100-yard individual medley.  He also was an All-American in the 50-yard and 100-yard feestyle events while winning and setting a Central Section records as a junior.

 

“I was allowed three events and one relay in high school,” Mr. Ruble said. “My dad placed me in whatever events I would be most effective. My dad was a strategist. He would take me out of an event and put me in another event he thought I could beat their best guy.” 

 

He was an All-American as a senior in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle while winning Central Section championships in all three events. He earned a full-ride scholarship to Fresno State.

 

“My dad made me work out in every stroke,” Mr. Ruble said. “My best event was the individual medley, but my favorite was the 100-yard freestyle. It wasn’t the all-out sprint like the 50. It was a very controlled sprint. You’re just at the verge of going all-out. After you’re coming off the turn, it’s all you got.”

 

By the time Mr. Ruble was done at Fresno State, he held every swim record for the Bulldogs.

 

He also was the Big West 50-yard freestyle champion in 1975 and 1976 and the 100-yard champion in 1974 and 1976. He placed fifth in the NCAA championships and was the Fresno State Athlete of the Year in 1976.

 

At Fresno state, he swam in 76 individual events and lost just twice, both to future Olympians.

 

Mr. Ruble also won the gold medal in the 100-freestyle relay at the Pan Am Games and won an unofficial gold medal for the 50-meter freestyle. He missed out of going to the Olympics by one-hundreths of a second. 

 

After he was done swimming, Mr. Ruble spent his adult years working in agriculture. 

 

“I worked for Blue Diamond Almonds for a while,” he said. “I received almonds from the growers, weighed them, evaluated them and put them by variety in the right storage.”

 

He then worked with his uncle grafting trees and got a job for eight years for UC Davis as an ag technician. 

 

He worked for Dave Wilson Nursery selling almond trees.

 

He is survived by his wife Diane and has three daughters who are all nurses. He is proceeded in death by his son, who passed away at 4 1/2 years old. 

 

Funeral arrangements are taken care by Boice Funeral Home. A public visitation will be held Jan. 9 from 2-6 p.m. at Boice Funeral Home (308 Pollasky Ave. in Clovis).

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