1960 double Olympic gold medalist Mike Troy has died, according to the Gold Medal Swim School that he founded over 20 years ago. He was 78.
Troy won the 200 fly individually and was a member of the 800 free relay at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. That was the second-ever year in which the 200 fly had been an Olympic event, and was part of a dominant run by the Americans in the early years of the event – they won 5 of the first 6 Olympic gold medals on offer in the event.
That was his first and only Olympic Games, at only 19 years old, and was part of a run that included breaking the World Record in the 200 butterfly 6 consecutive times before fellow American Carl Robie took the record in 1961. Troy is a 1971 inductee into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Troy attended Indiana University where he trained under Doc Counsilman. He was the 1960 NCAA Champion in the 100 yard fly (52.9), 200 yard fly (1:57.8), and as the butterflier on Indiana’s winning 400 medley relay. His 200 yard fly time that year was 4.7 seconds faster than any other time that had ever won the NCAA title, while his 100 fly was a full second faster than any previous NCAA winning time.
After college, he became an officer in the U.S. Navy and earned a Silver Star for his combat service during the Vietnam War. The Silver Star is the US Armed Forces’ third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat.
After leaving the military, he worked as a real estate agent and swim coach. Among the athletes he trained was 1972 Olympic gold medalist Mike Stamm. He also served as the National Director of the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team and accompanied that team to the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. Troy is the co-founder of the Gold Medal Swim School in Arizona. Troy was in Arizona at the time of his death.
“Mike was an Icon of USA Swimming; Olympic gold medalist, coach of Olympians, Navy Seal, teacher of thousands of children to swim,” said fellow Olympic medalist Gary Hall Senior on the passing of Troy. “I am proud and honored to have been considered his friend. He was a patient of mine, a mentor and a role model for me.
“It is a great loss to our country with the passing of true hero, Mike Troy. May he rest in peace.”
One of Troy’s best friends, his former teammate George Quigley, wrote this in tribute of his friend.
I am not sure what it is that builds such strong bonds among swimmers. Perhaps it is the years of diving in cold, super chlorinated water at 5 AM with only the suggestion of a brief swimming suit for protection and then exhausting oneself before going to school or work, but they develop. Those of us who began to swim with Mike Troy as teenagers retain that bond today. We are now 78-81 years old and our friendship is as strong as ever.Mike was our Pied Piper. He has been the epicenter of our continuing friendship for decades. His outgoing personality, loyalty and eagerness to venture into new areas have made our lives much more interesting than we could ever have imagined 65 years ago.My hope is that future generations of swimmers will have their Mike Troys. In the famous words of the Grateful Dead, “what a long strange trip it’s been.”May he rest in peace.