Andy O’Grady was a good friend of mine. We met when I swam for Paramus Red Wave during my senior year in high school when I lived in New Jersey for a short period of time.
He was the first person on the team that introduced himself and took me in with the main training group. He was a great guy with an awesome “happy go lucky” personality.
The Paramus Red Wave practices were extremely difficult (as was the New Jersey cold!) but he made them go by quickly with his jokes and one liners. (We only had time for one liners!)
After an outstanding high school swim career, Andy went on to swim at UCLA where he was an NCAA qualifier three out of the four years, and was captain on the college team his senior year. Throughout that time, we were able to keep in touch whenever we’d see each other at the large meets around the country.
Andy lost his life on 9-11, while working in the south tower.
He was on the 104Th Floor of the first building to collapse. He was a stockbroker at Sandler O’Neil and Partners. He was successful in his career and was being offered a Partner position.
I heard he had continued to swim a few times a week with the Masters team at New York Athletic Club.
I have also heard his hometown now gives an Andy O’Grady Award to the swimmer or coach who is “dynamic, determined and dedicated.” All three adjectives you would use to describe Andy.
15 years later I am still thinking of you, Andy. I know you are keeping the ones we lost in comfort.