Richard McGeagh

Richard Michael McGeagh (March 11, 1944 – September 9, 2021) was an American competition swimmer and water polo player. He was noted for swimming the backstroke leg for the U.S. team in the men's 4×100-meter medley relay during the preliminary heats of the event and establishing the Olympic record for a backstroke leg. However, he did not swim in the finals and was consequently not eligible for an Olympic medal under the rules in place at the time.

Richard McGeagh
Personal information
Full nameRichard Michael McGeagh
National teamUnited States
Born(1944-03-11)March 11, 1944
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedSeptember 9, 2021(2021-09-09) (aged 77)
Hermitage, Tennessee, U.S.
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg)
ClubLos Angeles Athletic Club
College teamUniversity of Southern California
Medal record
Men's swimming
Representing the United States
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1963 São Paulo 4×100 m medley

Early lifeEdit

McGeagh was born in Los Angeles on March 11, 1944.[1][2] He attended Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale,[3] where he won the 100-yard backstroke event at the CIF Southern Section championships three consecutive times from 1960 to 1962.[4] He also established the national high school record for that event in 1961 with a time of 51.8 seconds.[5] He went on to study at the University of Southern California from 1962 to 1967. He was involved in swimming and water polo for the USC Trojans and received All-American honors in both sports. He won the 400-yard individual medley at the 1964 NCAA championships during his sophomore year.[3][4]


McGeagh participated in the 1963 Pan American Games, winning a gold medal in the 4×100 m medley relay.[6] He was also part of the American team that established the long course world record of 4:00.1 in the same event at a meet in Osaka that year.[3][4] He took a semester off in order to get ready for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[4] He was selected to compete in the preliminary heats of the men's 4×100 m medley relay. Although McGeagh, Virgil Luken, Walter Richardson, and Bob Bennett were described by the Associated Press as "a second‐string team", they established an Olympic record of 4:05.1.[7] McGeagh's time of 1:01.1 was also an Olympic record for the backstroke leg of the relay.[4][5] He was ultimately omitted from the medal round and was consequently not awarded a medal.[4] This was because under the 1964 Olympic swimming rules, only swimmers who competed in the event final were eligible to receive a medal.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

McGeagh was married to Barbara for 55 years until his death. Together, they had two children: Michael and Karin.[3][4]

After retiring from competitive swimming, McGeagh became a real estate appraiser. He initially resided in La Crescenta-Montrose, California, before moving to Hermitage, Tennessee, in 2013. He died of complications from COVID-19 on September 9, 2021, in Hermitage, at the age of 77.[3][4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Richard McGeagh". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "Richard McGeagh Obituary". September 11, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "USC Olympian And NCAA Champion Swimmer Rich McGeagh Dies At 77". University of Southern California. September 10, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Grosbard, Adam (September 10, 2021). "USC All-American swimmer Rich McGeagh dies at 77". Orange County Register. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Richard Michael McGeagh". International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on September 12, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Olderr, Steven (July 11, 2015). The Pan American Games: A Statistical History, 1951–1999, bilingual edition. McFarland. p. 244. ISBN 9781476604688.
  7. ^ "Hayes, Oerter and Schollander Help U.S. Take Eight Olympic Gold Medals". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 16, 1964. p. 46. Retrieved September 12, 2021.