LOS ANGELES, May 2. CHARLES "Chuck" Bittick, one of USC's greatest two-sport aquatic athletes, died on Thursday, April 28, in Yorba Linda, Calif., of cancer. He was 65.
Services will be held on Wednesday, May 4, at 11 a.m. at Yorba Linda Friends Church, 5211 Lakeview Ave., Yorba Linda, Calif. 92886. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Chuck Bittick Colon Cancer Research Fund at the USC Norris Cancer Center, 1441 Eastlake Ave. #8302, Los Angeles, Calif. 90033.
This past October, Bittick was selected into the 2005 class of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. The induction dinner for his class is May 7 and he will be honored posthumously.
Bittick was highly decorated in both swimming and water polo. A three-time (1959-61) All-American in swimming at USC, he won four NCAA individual titles (the 100- and 200-yard backstroke both in 1960 and in American record times in 1961). He helped the Trojans win the 1960 NCAA championship and then captained the 1961 squad which placed second. He also won six AAU individual crowns and five Pacific Coast Conference titles. He was the silver medalist in the 100 backstroke at the 1959 and 1963 Pan Am Games.
He set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke in 1960. In his career, he set 30 American marks in the back and individual medley. In water polo, he won All-Conference honors three times (1959-61) at USC. He participated with the United States team in the 1960 Olympics (the U.S. placed seventh) and the 1963 Pan Am Games (the U.S. was second).
A three-time (1959-61) AAU All-American in water polo, Bittick was the MVP in 1960. He was inducted into the International Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1980.
With his silver medals at the 1963 Pan Am Games in swimming and water polo, he is believed to be the last American athlete to medal in two different sports in a single international competition.
Bittick came to USC from Long Beach City College, where he was a J.C. All-American. He was in the U.S. Navy in the mid-1960s, then owned a transportation company and sold insurance in Orange County. He also was a past president and member of the board of directors of the Southern California Olympians alumni organization, where he helped establish the Koroibos Foundation that awarded financial grants to deserving Olympic hopefuls from the area.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, sons Jason and Matthew and daughter Paige, as well as three brothers, a sister and four grandchildren.