The Swimming Community Sends their Thoughts and Prayers to Richard Quick

Feature by Kristen Heiss

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, January 19. WHEN the news that Richard Quick had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor became public, the swimming world was in shock: Quick has been an icon of USA swimming for the past 30 years. He was the coach of 12NCAA Championship teams and has served as a coach for the U.S. Olympic team on six occasions. His current and formers swimmers and fellow coaches respect Quick both as a coach and an individual. Members of the swimming community would like to send out their thoughts and prayers to Richard Quick, his family, and his Auburn team during this difficult time.

"I just talked to Richard and I was inspired by his positive attitude and his ability to laugh. I admire his courage as he faces this challenge. I hope he hears us cheering for him with that indelible and powerful "Go" that pushed many, many people to see their dreams come to fruition." -Lea Maurer, head women's coach at Stanford

"Richard is the consummate enthusiast. I don't know anyone more passionate about our sport. If you can't get excited about swimming when you are around Richard then you are a hopeless blob." –Dave Salo, head swimming coach at the University of Southern California

"Richard is not only a great coach, but he also has been a great friend and an unselfish mentor to hundreds of fellow coaches and, of course, to his swimmers. He has overcome countless challenges in his life and I am certain he will confront this, his greatest challenge, with the same unbowed spirit that characterizes everything he does." –Phil Whitten, Executive Director of the CSCAA

"Richard has done so much for swimming the US, and he has touched so many people's lives and I'm sure he is in their thoughts and prayers. It will be tough, but if anyone can beat this, it's Richard." –Steve Bultman, head women's swim coach at Texas A&M

"What I love about Richard is his enthusiasm. I remember watching him across the deck at one of our dual meets. He was jumping up and down and running the full length of the pool cheering on his athletes, so focused on what they were doing. The more he ran, the faster they swam. His love for the sport, his passion for competition and his energy was contagious. By the end of the meet, there I was, running up and down the length of the pool cheering on my athletes! Richard makes everyone around him a better person, a better athlete and a better coach. When I think of Richard, I can't help but smile!" – Cyndi Gallagher, head women's swim coach at UCLA

"Richard is both a great coach and a great human being. He will be in our thoughts and prayers every day as he fights this terrible affliction, and we ask the entire swimming community to keep him in their prayers as well." –George Kennedy, President of the CSCAA

"I can't imagine Richard needs anymore tests in his life but, for some reason he, been given one. I can only picture Richard as positive, energetic and in control of anything he faces; I am sure his battle against this tumor won't be any different. His entire career has been about teaching young people to believe in their goals and to work smartly towards them. As a young coach, he challenged me to do the same. I hope that all the people he has touched continue to pray for him and send him all that same positive energy back." –Kim Brackin, head women's swim coach at the University of Texas

"I had the privilege of coaching with Richard for a year at Stanford. I was only in my third year of coaching, and one of the things that was most striking to me about his coaching was that he was always tied in to a vision for each swimmer and how they were going to get better. Everything obviously "counted" – there was no time or need for poor swimming. He cheered during "warm-up". He never let up. He injected energy into every practice.

Richard truly believed that anything was possible. I remember him talking about how Janet Evans used to "sneak" a third practice (per day) in without her coach knowing. I made some naive comment like "and she still swam fast!", and he looked at me and said, "We don't know whether the third workout helped or hurt, but I'll tell you this. People are capable of much more than we think. The human body can absorb incredible stress and then adapt to it. Our job as coaches is to help athletes realize this."

About 10 years later, after he had coached a string of NCAA Team Champions, he had a team that wasn't ranked as highly and that wasn't being given much chance to win. I asked him how he talked to his team about goals – were they aiming for Top 5, Top 3, or anything. He said, "I tell them the same thing that I've always told them. Be open to the possibilities – and anything is possible."

Richard has been successful because he's incredibly bright and talented, but also because of his outlook. These attitudes have been transferred to hundreds of people – coaches and all of the athletes that they in turn have coached, athletes who have gone on to be parents and professionals, and countless people that he's touched through his personal and professional life. No one who has been touched by Richard will be surprised when he outlives this cancer, and we all will continue to be inspired by his outlook – be open to the possibilities, and anything is possible." – Matt Kredich, head women's coach at the University of Tennessee.

"Coach Quick continues to be one of the most innovative people in swimming. He has led the way in many swimming and dryland techniques which have led to time breakthroughs over the last 30 years." –Ray Looze, head swimming coach at Indiana University

"Richard is not only a superb coach but he is also one of those rare individuals who is willing to share his insights and techniques with fellow coaches, including his rivals. The greater good of the sport has always been foremost on his priority list." –Bob Groseth, President-Elect of the CSCAA

"Richard is one of the most amazing individuals I know. The swimming community knows him not only as a brilliant coach but as a truly inspiring person. Something that I have realized more and more during my career at Auburn is that life is truly about living…its about finding the good in everyday, leading by example, and serving others. Richard gets this and I am thankful for his example." –Emile Ewing, senior swimmer for Auburn

"Richard is an amazing coach, but more importantly he is an amazing human being. He honestly cares about his athletes as people first, then as swimmers. Richard smiles all the time! And it is contagious on the pool deck and away. I really respect him a lot and I am so grateful to know him." -Julianne Mclane, senior swimmer for Auburn

Thanks to coach Lea Maurer for contributing the following quotes on Richard Quick from his Stanford retirement tribute

"My first memory is of a commanding presence who could push us beyond out limits, refining us into world class athletes and powerful women. But there was a goofy side to Richard as well – I'll always giggle thinking of Richard's awful country singing and dancing, and being baffled at how someone could be so energetic and positive at 5:45 in the morning. THANKS for helping to create a family, a home away from home, during my four memorable years as a Stanford swimmer!"

"He was so darn zippy in the morning, in the pitch dark taking off covers! dancing around, cheering, clapping, dolling out devastatingly difficult sets with a smile, an expectation, a quiet certainty that we would achieve (or exceed) what he had in mind…I feel like I have to be that zippy role model for my high school students who come dragging in the door in the early morning. I'm trying to bring light, awareness, and an understanding to kids of their own potential. Now is the time to develop it, expand it, apply it! I look back and see that that was Richard's wake up call to us each morning."

"His continuous, totally predictable, interminable, gigantic spirit motivated us to dream, to work towards our dreams, to be our dreams. For me it was about the team, and Richard knew that each one of us was in some important way attached to all the others."

"Richard, I thank the Lord for the special friendship we have shared over the years. You have played such an influential role in my life. Thank you for helping shape me into the person I am today. I love you so much and wish you all the very best."

"My favorite thing about Richard is his dancing. Sometimes, at meets he would just open the door the van, do a little dance, and slam it shut before anyone could react. Other types you could see him dancing around on deck, yelling "woohoo" when someone did something great. On the deck at Texas before dual meets, when they would play country songs he would grab us and swing us into a country dance. And at weddings he has to dance with every single swimmer. It's funnybecause all of us are the be in charge type and Richard is always saying ‘let me lead'."

"Thank you Richard for all of your hilarious, quirky things you said during our team meetings…but most of all, THANK YOU for teaching me to really believe in myself. You taught me to never doubt or set limits and it is something I will carry with me forever."

"Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Your faith in me has led to so many wonderful experiences…in AND out of the pool.

You gave me the confidence to face every challenge. You gave me the incentive to seek MORE challenges. It is an honor to know you and celebrate your wonderful career, life, and friendship. I am proud to be a part of your Team…forever!"

"Richard, thank you for your constant passion which I first witnessed as a freshman during morning workouts when you would cheer us on so loudly at 6am that the other girls in the old football weight room could hear you (and probably the rest of campus too!). And thank you for your infectious enthusiasm which really hit me at our Tuesday morning workouts – just you and me. At first I thought I would hate them (all of that paddles and parachute insanity), but you always showed up with your scary green shake raring to go and it became impossible to be less than motivated. For this passion and enthusiasm, and for so much more, I am eternally grateful to you."

"Richard, I thank the Lord for the special friendship we have shared over the years. You have played such an influential role in my life. Thank you for helping shape me into the person I am today. I love you so much and wish you all the very best."

"Richard always used to say "Get caught up in the team" and no one I've ever been coached by, showed me more by example how to value every single person's contributions (in whatever form) to a team better than Richard. For me, more important than all the victories, all the national championships, and all the personal achievements during my four years on the swim team, are the friendships and love I developed as a part of that "family". The farther away I get from my college sports experience, the more I cherish the rarity of that "family" environment and the profundity of that gift from Richard. To be surrounded by and loved by Great people is the highest achievement of my life, and to achieve common goals (like winning) with people you truly respect and love is even more incredible. This "family" is a gift that keeps on giving, and one for which I will always be in debt to Richard for his part in creating, and of which he will always be a part."