Rick Wood joined the Etobicoke Olympium Masters Aquatic Club (EOMAC) in 1982. It was not long before he became involved in organizing his club's annual swim meet. This experience permitted him to play a pivotal role in helping to organize the swimming component of the first World Masters Games, which were held in Toronto in August 1985.
From there, he went on to become meet manager for the Ontario Masters Swimming Championship in 1986, and the Canadian Masters Swimming Championship in 1987, both hosted by his Etobicoke Masters swim club.
In 1987-1988, Rick was vice president and social convener of EOMAC. Throughout all this, he was training and competing, and was a member of a medal-winning mixed relay team at the second, and last, World Masters Games in Denmark in 1989.
In 1988, Rick participated on a gigantic relay team that swam across Lake Ontario as part of a fund-raising for Variety Village. This experience convinced him to challenge Lake Ontario with a solo swim, which he did and completed successfully in August 1989 in 21 hours 33 minutes.
The next year, in August 1990, Rick completed a 42 km double-crossing of Lake Erie in 16 hours 46 minutes. After this victory, Rick had the good sense to retire, undefeated, as a marathon swimming champion. And like a true champion, Rick was always ready and willing to give back to swimming which had given him so much. In l991, he joined the Board of Directors of Solo Swims of Ontario and became vice president in 1992. Rick was also a Swim Master for other marathon swimmers.
Rick Wood died of cancer at age 39 in January 1998. In his own quiet way, Rick was an intense, focused, and competitive athlete, but he never lost sight of the light-hearted side of life. He was a great inspiration to many of us in the swimming world, and for that we are truly grateful.