Coach Murray Drudge died unexpectedly on February 17th in Toronto at the age of 61.
During his over 30 years in coaching Drudge held head coaching positions in Regina, Ottawa and North York. He has also spent the last 2 years working with the elite group at the High Performance Center – Ontario.At each stop he made an significant impact not only on the swimming community, but on the community as a whole.
In his first head coaching position with the Regina Optimist Dolphins he led the team of just over 100 swimmers in a city of 150,000 to the status of top age group team in Canada. During his time with the North York Aquatic Club (NYAC) he coached several athletes onto junior, youth and senior national teams. He helped guide both Stephanie Richardson (1996) and Kyle Smerdon (2000) to Olympic team berths.
He was also the age group coach of Michelle Toro (Williams) who earned an Olympic bronze in the women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Most recently Drudge coached Joshua Liendo who last summer at the age of 17 qualified for the Canadian World Championships team. Liendo also won a silver at the World Junior Championships in the 100 freestyle as well as bronze in both the mixed 4 x 100 medley relay and men’s 4 x 100 medley relay.
Several Canadian athletes and coaches posted on social media their memories of Drudge after the news of his death circulated.
Devastated to wake up to learn about the passing of Murray Drudge. Murray coached me as a swimmer at an important period of time in my swimming career, he was funny, he was a pro, he was a gentleman, he always had welcome advice, and I will miss him. RIP.
— Dave Ling (@CoachDLing) February 18, 2020
Always welcoming….always smiling….always driven…so very proud of his swimmers …rarely would a story go by without referring to Rosie… a class act who will be missed … there are few on deck who had the same respect/positive influence …. rest well Murray Drudge
— Jim Snow (@coach_jimsnow) February 18, 2020
RIP Murray Drudge. Thank you for being a positive part of my life growing up.
— Paul Nelson (@photochopaul) February 18, 2020