Edward M. Solotar, 76, the founder and head coach of the Solotar Swim Team, whose most famous pupil was Melissa Belote, a three-time gold medal winner in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, died Nov. 3 at Suburban Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Bethesda.
Mr. Solotar was born in New York City. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education at New York University. There he specialized in swimming the freestyle and backstroke. He was a teacher-coach in New York before moving to the Washington area about 1943.
He operated an automobile paint shop and taught in the D.C. public schools before returning to coaching in the late 1950s at the Jewish Community Center in Rockville. He joined the Starlit Swim Team and Aquatic Club in Fairfax during the 1960s.
In 1971, he organized the Solotar Swim Team and became one of the area's top coaches of competitive swimmers. For many years, he sponsored a meet between swimmers from Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Washington area. He also had coached American swimmers during events in South America, Israel and Mexico. He continued to coach part time until his death.
He was a past president of the D.C. Association of the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States. He also was a Mason and a past member of the U.S. Olympics Committee. His hobbies included bird watching.
His wife Sophie died in 1984. Survivors include two daughters, Anne Solotar of Rockville and Phyllis Oster of Portland, Ore.