Ray Essick
USA Swimming Ray Essick

Ray Essick, the first executive director of USA Swimming, passed away in late May. He was 82.

Essick held his position at USA Swimming from its inception in 1980 until his retirement in 1997. The torch was then passed to present executive director Chuck Wielgus.

Essick’s professional swimming career dates back to 1960, when he started the Lake Forest Swim Club in Lake Forest, Ill. He later became the head swim coach at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. and then went on to serve as head swim coach at Harvard University from 1973-76.

Essick enjoyed several honors throughout his career, including his recent induction into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Toni, and children Ray, Annie, Brad and Kate.