Richard Thornton, 65, acclaimed swim coach and Olympian, dies surfing near Santa Cruz

Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News


Richard Thornton, head coach of San Ramon Valley Aquatics since 1984, died in a surfing accident off Santa Cruz, his family said Thursday.

Richard Thornton, a coach at San Ramon Valley Aquatics and a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, has died at 65. (Courtesy of SRVA)

Thornton, 65, was member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that boycotted the 1980 summer games in Moscow. He coached Olympic finalists, World Championship finalists, European Championship finalists and NCAA All-Americans.

Marc Thornton released a brief statement Thursday on Facebook announcing his brother’s death.

“Sorry for having to share this information, but Richard Thornton passed away surfing today at The Hook in Santa Cruz. Doing what he loved. More to follow, but wanted to let everyone know. Thanks, Marc Thornton.”

The Hook is a popular surfing location near Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz.

Richard Thornton’s father was Nort Thornton, the longtime UC Berkeley swimming coach who died in 2021.

Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News Featured News,Local News,accidental death,athletes,coaching,obituary,Olympics,Richard Thornton,San Ramon Valley Aquatics,Santa Cruz,sports,surfing

2024-01-07 09:00:00 , Local News Matters

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