Former UGA swimming champion Patterson dies at 81

Reid Patterson, the first in a long line of national champions and Olympians to come out of the Georgia swimming program, died last Wednesday at the age of 81.

The Pineville, Ky., native won a national title in the 100-yard freestyle in 1953 with an American record. During his time with the Bulldogs from 1951-54, he swam to seven Southeastern Conference titles, three in the 100-free.

“We lost a great man,” Georgia swimming 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 of our events. He and (wife) Anna never missed an opportunity to be in Athens.”

Patterson was an Olympian for the U.S. in the 1956 games in Melbourne, Australia, finishing fourth in the 100-meters after breaking the Olympic record in the event in the preliminaries. He later held world records in the 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle relay.

He 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 seven-time All-American at Georgia from 2005-08.

Reid Patterson is survived by Anna, his wife of 56 years and four daughters.

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