Richard McGeagh

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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

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.

Early life[edit]

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 life[edit]

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 also[edit]


  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.