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Obituary Archive

Hall of Fame Swimmer Charlie Hickcox Dies From Cancer in San Diego


Charlie Hickcox,, who was chosen as the "World Swimmer of the Year" in 1968 after his performance at the Mexico City Olympic Games, has died at the age of 63.


Hickcox won three gold medals in Mexico City, including the 200m individual medley, the 400m individually medley and the 4x100 medley relay events. He also swam the 100m backstroke,  winning a silver medal. From 1967-1968, Hickcox set eight world records.



A Phoenix-native and all-around athlete, Hickcox played tennis and basketball for his high school but did not compete in swimming because his school did not have a team. To train for swimming, he primarily practiced at the Phoenix Country Club and the Paradise Valley Country Club. Hickcox first qualified for the Olympic trials in the 200 butterfly, at the age of 17, and earned a scholarship to swim at the University of Indiana under Hall of Fame coach Doc Counsilman.

In 1969, Counsilman told Sports Illustrated that Hickcox was the best all-around-swimmer of all time because he held the world records in 200m and 400m individually medley for so long.


"Charlie has an unusual amount of talent for swimming," said Counsilman. "It's easy to understand the concept of intelligence, but it's a more nebulous thing in athletes when you say a guy has ability. Ability is coordination, flexibility in the ankles, a big heart. Charlie varies from a lot of athletes with ability in that he works hard, too. He has the ability to punish himself. On top of this he's very coachable. I think he's the best all-round swimmer of all time."

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