- Duenkel was the 1996 recipient of the Glen S. Hummer Award, an award given to the individual who makes the greatest contribution to open water swimming in the United States.
- In 1996, he was named in Aquatic’s Magazine’s Who’s Who in Aquatics.
- In 1998, he was elected Treasurer of the International Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fames.
- In 1999, he was inducted into the Orange, New Jersey Athletics Hall of Fame.
- He received the 2004 International Swimming Hall of Fame Presidential Award.
- He was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Contributor in the Class of 2019.
- He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020.
- He began swimming for the YMCA of New Jersey, went on to swim through high school where in 1960, he was a state record holder, a New Jersey AAU junior champion, and a New Jersey AAU senior champion.
- He attended Kansas State University where he was a many-time record holder and multi-award winner in swimming and played on the first-ever Kansas State water polo team.
- While working at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Duenkel competed in masters swimming where he was a Florida State champion and an AAU All-American.
- He was an All-American pool swimmer.
- In 1960, his two-man relay team swam in the 24 Heures La Tuque, completed a total of 48 miles and took 6th place.
Teaching & Coaching Career
- After graduating from Kansas State with a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Physical Education, he moved to South Florida, where he got his State of Florida Teachers Certificate.
- He taught at Northeast High School as a Physical Education teacher.
- He worked as a water safety instructor and for the Fort Lauderdale Beach Patrol.
- In 1966, he began coaching swimming at Broward Community College and in 1968 was named National Junior College Swimming Coach of the Year.
- In 1966, he took over the running of Camp Chikopi, a boy's Sports and Wilderness Camp in Ontario, Canada, the world’s first swimming camps founded in 1920 by U.S. Olympic Swim Coach Matt Mann II. He and his wife, Colette, still own and run Camp Chikopi.
- He was named in 1968 as the National Junior College Swimming Coach of the Year.
- In 1988, he coached the USA to a Team Championship victory in the FINA Long Distance Swimming World Cup team in Evian, France.
- His Camp Chikopi teams have participated and won A.A.U. and U.S. Swimming National Championships.
International Swimming Hall of Fame
- He started as a staff member in 1966 and retired as the Executive Director & Curator of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- He was the Co-Chairman of the 2012 International Aquatic History Symposium & Film Festival.
- He served as a member of the board of directors of both the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
- He has extensive knowledge of aquatics and personal networks throughout the swimming world. He has worked hand-in-hand with Buck Dawson, Sam Freas and Bruce Wigo for decades, helping build the reputation, archives and artifacts of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
- He is a driving force behind the growth of open water swimming throughout the world. He is the key element in the conduct of many Hall of Fame activities and is the de facto meet manager for most events hosted by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is the administrative liaison with the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and established a process of recording the marathon swims not under the jurisdictional authority of another body.
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