USC Olympian & NCAA champion swimmer Rich McGeagh dies of COVID-19 complications

Rich McGeagh, a 1964 Olympian and NCAA swim champion at USC, has died of COVID-19 complications, the university announced.

McGeagh, who was 77, died Thursday in Hermitage, Tennessee.

A longtime resident of La Crescenta who worked as a real estate appraiser, he relocated to Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, eight years ago.

McGeagh came to USC from Hoover High in Glendale. He was a three-time (1964-66) All-American at USC on teams that won the NCAA championship each year. As a sophomore in 1964, he won the NCAA 400-yard individual medley in 4:16.4. He also won four conference titles (two individual, two relay) in his Trojan career.

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, he swam the opening backstroke leg of the 400-meter medley relay for the U.S. in the preliminary heats, but did not swim in the final that the Americans won. Under Olympic swimming rules at the time, only those who competed in the final were eligible for medals.

In 1963, he helped the U.S. 400-meter medley relay team set a long course world record of 4:00.1 while swimming the opening backstroke leg in a meet in Osaka, Japan. He also won a gold medal at the 1963 Pan Am Games in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

McGeagh is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barbara, his son, Michael, daughter, Karin, and several grandchildren.

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