Georgia’s First National Champion Reid Patterson Passes Away

Photo Courtesy: Georgia Athletics

ATHENS, Georgia, January 17. REID Patterson, Georgia’s first national champion and Olympian in swimming, passed away earlier this week. He was 81.

“We lost a great man,” Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. “We lost one of the greatest athletes in the history of UGA and one of our greatest people. He was a humble gentleman and he was always quite competitive. He loved his Bulldogs and he had a wonderful relationship with our program. I will miss seeing him at all our events. He and (his wife) Anna never missed an opportunity to be in Athens.”

Patterson was a native of Pineville, Ky., and swam for the Bulldogs from 1951-54. He won the individual national title in the 100-yard freestyle in 1953, setting the American record during the meet. Patterson also claimed seven SEC titles, including three in the 100-yard freestyle.

Patterson represented the United States in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He finished fourth in the 100-meter freestyle final after setting the Olympic record in the event during the prelims. Patterson later held the world records in the 50-meter freestyle and on the 200-meter freestyle relay and the American records in the 400-meter freestyle and on the 400-meter medley relay.

During the 1950s, Patterson was dubbed “America’s Fastest Man In The Water.”

Patterson was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and Georgia’s Circle of Honor in 1997.

Patterson’s grandson, Nathan Bibliowicz, was a Georgia swimmer from 2005-08. Bibliowicz was a seven-time All-American for the Bulldogs.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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