June 23, 1952–Jan. 7, 2024
Richard M. Ludemann of Bridgeport died Jan. 7, 2024 following a courageous battle with cancer.
He was 71.
Born June 23, 1952 in Queens, N.Y. to Herbert and Mary (Widmeyer) Ludemann, he was a beloved father, grandfather, brother, son and friend, as well as an influential mentor and swim coach to countless athletes in Connecticut and beyond.
Fondly known by many as “Doc,” he began swimming competitively at age 13 and attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens before going to Fulton-Montgomery College in Johnstown, N.Y. There, he continued his swimming career and achieved the prestigious ranking of being named a three-time All-American and Outstanding College Athlete of the Year.
Throughout his life he became well known as a swim coach, boat captain, mentor, father and friend. He had an impressive resume including coaching for the Wilton YMCA, Darien YMCA 1974-1978, UCLA starting in 1978 under his own mentor, the late great Ron Ballatore (the team won NCAA’s in 1982), conditioning coach for the U.S. and Canadian water polo teams, Yale Swim team, New Canaan YMCA, Sacred Heart University, Kauai Swimming Program, Assumption College, University of Bridgeport and New Canaan Field Club along with many more.
Richard made an indelible mark on swimmers and coaches alike. He won many championships and coached national athletes. Deeply loved by his swimmers and teams, he was tough, honest, uncompromising and fair, and he never took a day off from helping his swimmers improve. He was much more than a swim coach. Every day he taught his team about competing, being prepared, having daily discipline, being unselfish and serving your teammates—life lessons that touched his athletes in profound ways.
Richard was very cultured. He loved to read and would regularly finish a book a day. He would often travel into New York City to visit museums and plays. He enjoyed traveling, especially to warmer climates and took his children with him to many sandy beaches. He shared his passion for fishing with his son Jake and they would show each other pictures of their latest catch. He loved visiting with his daughter Cait “Bubba” and grandchildren, Benny and Amelia, and did not hesitate to get on the floor to play cars with them. He took his dog wherever he went, even the pool deck. His most recent pet “Fin” aka “Dog” was his best companion. He loved a good bottle of red wine as well as a Cuban cigar.
Richard had fond memories that he shared about growing up at the Brooklyn Naval yard with his grandfather. He was devoted to his mother, Mary. Richard and his former spouse, Audrey Ludemann, had two children together and they remained friendly. Rich Corso and Al Fiore were two of his best comrades and Jennifer Runnette has been one of his closest friends for the past 15 years.
We will miss Richard every day. He is survived by his brother, Robert Ludemann (Jennifer); his sister, Kathryn Cassidy (Bob); his former wife Audrey Ludemann; his daughter, Caitlin Holguin (Nik), grandchildren Arthur and Amelia whom he loved dearly and with whom he spent as much time as possible; his son Jake Ludemann (Jess); and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents.
Service will be held at St. Aloysius Church in New Canaan on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 12:30 p.m.
Reception to follow at One Twenty Three Restaurant in South Salem, N.Y.