Roy Saari

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRoy Allen•Saari
Used nameRoy•Saari
Born26 February 1945 in Buffalo, New York (USA)
Died30 December 2008 in Mammoth Lakes, California (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 86 kg
AffiliationsUniversity of Southern California (USC) / El Segundo Swim Club
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2


Roy Saari won the first of his 17 AAU titles in 1959 when he won the long distance swim at the age of 13, equalling Jimmy McLane’s record of being the youngest ever AAU swimming champion. While at Southern Cal, Saari matched Jack Medica’s NCAA record of winning nine individual events – three events for three consecutive years – and was on two winning NCAA relay teams. At the 1964 U.S. Trials, Saari became the first man to break 17 minutes for the 1,500m freestyle, but at the Olympics, he could place no better than seventh, some 30 seconds outside his best. Saari was from a famous swimming family. His father, Urho “Whitey” Saari coached the 1964 Olympic water polo team, which included his son, and Roy’s brother, Robert Saari. Roy Saari later became an attorney (law school at Loyola Marymount) and then a real estate agent and planning commissioner in Mammoth Lakes, California.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA Roy Saari
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 4
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 7
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold
400 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver

Olympic family relations

Special Notes