Roy Saari

Roy Allen Saari (February 26, 1945 – December 30, 2008) was an American swimmer and water polo player. He qualified for the 1964 Summer Olympics in both disciplines, and chose swimming, as the Olympic rules of the time did not allow him to compete in two sports. He won a gold medal as a member of the first-place U.S. team in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, setting a new world record in the final with teammates Steve Clark, Gary Ilman and Don Schollander (7:52.1). Individually he earned a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley (4:47.1). He also advanced to the finals of the 400-meter freestyle and 1,500-meter freestyle, placing fourth and seventh, respectively. Before the Olympics Saari became the first person to break the 17 minute barrier over 1500 m, but in the Olympic final he was suffering from a cold and clocked a mere 17:29.2.[1][2]

Roy Saari
Saari in 1963
Personal information
Full nameRoy Allen Saari
National teamUnited States
Born(1945-02-26)February 26, 1945
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 30, 2008(2008-12-30) (aged 63)
Mammoth Lakes, California, U.S.
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Weight190 lb (86 kg)
ClubEl Segundo Swim Club
College teamUniversity of Southern California
CoachPeter Daland[2]

Roy was the middle of three children of Urho and Wanda Saari. His father coached the 1964 Olympic water polo team, which included his son and Roy's younger brother Robert. Roy attended the University of Southern California, and swam for the USC Trojans swimming and diving team. He also played water polo, at the national level. He graduated from USC in 1967, and received his law degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1973. Between 1973 and 1978 he practiced law in Orange County, California, and then worked as a real estate agent and planning commissioner in Mammoth Lakes, California.[1][2]

Saari died December 30, 2008 of heart failure, aged 63. He was survived by his wife of 41 years, Sheryl, his siblings Carol and Robert, daughter Joani and son Jeff.[2][3] Earlier in 1976 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.[4]

See also


  1. Roy Saari – Olympic athlete profile at
  2. Roy Saari Passes Away. International Swimming Hall of Fame
  3. Valerie J. Nelson (January 3, 2009) "Roy Saari, 63; USC swimming star won gold and silver in 1964 Olympics," Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  4. ROY SAARI (USA) 1976 Honor Swimmer. International Swimming Hall of Fame
Preceded by
John Konrads
Men's 1,500-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

August 17, 1963 – August 2, 1964
Succeeded by
Murray Rose
Preceded by
Murray Rose
Men's 1,500-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

September 2, 1964 – August 15, 1965
Succeeded by
Stephen Krause

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.