View Full Version : Rick Meier-Windes 1955-2004

March 16th, 2004, 01:51 AM
It is with deep sorrow that I announce the passing of Rick Meier- Windes. Rick had been a stalward of Pacific Masters Swimming for many years, having served in many of the leadership positions including chair of Pacific Masters.

Rick also served on United States Masters Swimming committees including Officials and Legislation. He has been the only person to be awarded the distinguished Pacific Masters "Contributor of the Year Award" twice ( 1988 and 1992).

A gifted long distance swimmer, Rick swam in the Olympic trials in 1972. When he could no longer swim as well as he had in the past, Rick became a deck official. He worked many Pacific Masters meets and age groups meets. He became a National Championship Certified deck official (one of the highest rankings).

Rick continued to swim when his health would let him. He would enter the 500 and 1000 yard events with really no help of winning just to participate (his times would be double of what he swam when he was in condition). He swam just for the joy of the competition.

A founding member of Tsunami Swim Club, Rick served on its board and worked very hard getting all the records correct for Tsunami and for the International Gay Lesbian Aquatics group.

Rick was a tireless advocate for swimming. He was known for his forceful yet reasoned approach.

When information on a celebration of Rick's life is available, it will be posted on the Pacific Masters Web site. For those who would like to send a note to Rick's partner Cris Meier Windes the address is:
1543 LaSalle
San Francisco, CA 94124
I know he would love to hear from friends.

michael moore, chairman
Pacific Masters Swimming

March 16th, 2004, 07:47 AM
Rick and I swam for the same club in Oklahoma in the very early 70's He was one of the big fast guys when I was still figuring it all out. I'm sorry to hear he's passed away. Thanks for letting us know.

March 16th, 2004, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the tribute Michael and rest in peace Rick.

Frank Thompson
March 16th, 2004, 06:06 PM
Nice words Michael. I will reminisce about what I remember of Rick. I met him back in 1987 at the SCN in Stanford and I believe he was just getting back into swimming in masters. I do remember reading about him in Swimming World back in the 1970's and he was perhaps one of the great distance swimmers of that time. As Michael said he made the 1972 Olympic Trials when he was 16 and he was in the conlsolation heat of the 1500 Free at Portage Park in Chicago. When Mark Schubert went to Mission Viejo in 1972, Rick was the first swimmer to swim in the so called "animal lane". Physically he had to take the punishement of 9000 meters in a practice, two practices a day with no rest days. Most swimmers would be completely exhausted by this which was standard fare for the distance swimmers at Mission. In talking with Mark at a US Open Meet in Ann Arbor in 1993, he said that Rick was one of the hardest working swimmers he has ever coached. He said he set examples for people like Brian Goodell, Taylor Howe, Casey Converse, and latter Paul Asmuth and Mike O'Brien. In fact it is documented on page 32 in the book Four Champions One Gold Medal that says "The individual on the Nadadores with the strongest work ethic and the greatest work capacity was 16 year old Rick Windes". Now that is saying something when a coach like that says those things.

In 1975 or 1976, Rick had an injury that kept him from competing in the 1976 Olympic Trials. In 1990 I saw him at the SCN at USC and I believe that was is best swimming year in Masters. He took a 3rd in the 1500 Free and made several top tens. He was starting to drop time and just getting back into his old form. Rick was a big guy back then close to 200 lbs. He started to lose weight and was getting faster. We competed in the same age group and always talked swimming when we could. I also worked out with Rick at the USAS conventions and at that time he was swimming in the fastest lanes with the fasest people. I have a picture of him from those days at a practice with Rob Copeland, Clay Evans, and Larry Wood. As Michael said he was very active as a volunteer for the service of masters swimming.

Its was around 1993 that I believe he contacted the HIV virus. As the years went by until now his health began to deteriorate but he always maintained a positive and enthusiastic attittude about life and swimming. I would see him every year at the convention and he was always the same Rick, working hard and living his life to the best that he knew how. In San Diego this year, Rick was walking with a cane and was not doing very well. I got chance to visit with him in the hospitality room one night when the other delegates were having races in the hotel pool. He told me that sometimes life is a physical struggle but he tries to live with the pain just like the days when he swam in the annimal lane. I told him that I was truly sorry for what he has to go through daily.

How will I remember Rick. As a great person, great volunteer, geat swimmer, and a person who did not let adversity get in the way of his life. As Michael said he was known for his forceful yet reasoned uncompromising approach. The last thing I remember Rick talking about was in a House of Delegates session about FINA pool measurement. He said that the USA should not try to rule the world when it comes to this rule even though we rule the world in every thing else. RIP my friend.

Tom Ellison
March 29th, 2004, 10:48 PM
Reading the warm tributes written here gives me pause in how I think about life, issues and dealing with serious adversity. Rest in peace my fellow swimmer….and a warm thanks to those who shared their memories and thoughts about Rick…I never knew this man…but after reading your posts…I wish I had.

March 30th, 2004, 10:43 AM
Thank you, Michael, for sharing the sad news about Rick. I had begun to think that Rick would continue to "beat the odds" forever. He was a wonderful example of the many swimmers who give back to the organization as much or more than he got out of it.

I remember noticing Rick when he was young and healthy at the USMS Conventions. I admired his willingness to speak out and ask the hard questions. When he became ill and quit coming to convention, I found I missed his comments. A few years later, I was amazed to find him at the convention again. Radically different physically, but the same mentally. His attitude was refreshing because he knew he was on borrowed time. He seemed to appreciate the good in his life and minimize the bad.

I considered Rick a good friend and mourn his death.
Betsy Durrant

March 30th, 2004, 11:05 AM
Michael and Skip,

Thank you for your tributes to Rick. I missed your original post, Michael, for some reason, and am grateful to you Skip for adding yours so that this thread popped up on my screen again.

Every time I saw Rick the last few years I marveled that he was still able to attend convention and contribute to USMS. I never knew him when he was healthy, and didn't realize what a big strapping man he once was until I was looking at one of the "remember when" issues of the Tsunami newsletter. It breaks my heart to think of what AIDS did to this wonderful human being. I always wondered, every time I saw him, if it would be the last time I saw him. But then he'd be there next year. I can't say I'm surprised it finally happened, but I sure wish that day hadn't come so soon. I am however glad that Rick is released from his struggle. My fondest memory of Rick will be the sight of him and Cris in their matching white dinner jackets, all dressed up for the banquet at the convention. They were both so handsome!

Rick really was a wonderful person. Friendly, witty, reasonable, generous. I will really miss him, and my heart goes out to Cris.