Former USA President Jim Wood has died at the age of 68 ©USA Swimming

Former USA Swimming President Jim Wood passed has died at the age of 68, it has been announced.

"Jim Wood was a true professional and always respectfully represented the most important constituents in our sport - our athletes," USA Swimming Board of Directors Chair Bob Vincent said. 

A member of the USA Swimming Board of Directors for almost three decades, Wood served the national governing body in various capacities, including President from 2006 to 2010. 

He was the first active swimming coach to be elected to this position. 

Wood was also a part of the USA Swimming delegation to the Olympic Games at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. 

He was the International Operations Committee Coordinator from 1992-2004 and chair of theTime Standards Committee.

Other roles included being chairman of the USA Swimming Steering Committee and President of United States Aquatic Sports. 

"Jim Wood was one of the first people to reach out and welcome me to USA Swimming and offer his guidance," said USA Swimming President and chief executive Tim Hinchey III told the organisation's website. 

Hinchey added: "I met with him during my first few months, and gratefully listened to the wisdom and insight he offered. 

"It was easy to see how important his voice was for the sport. 

"We had many engaging discussions and I understood early on that he was driven to do what he felt was best for USA Swimming and I respected that dearly. 

"We will miss his leadership but his legacy will be with us forever."

Wood began his career as a coach at the New Providence Community Pool in 1970. 

He attended college at Johns Hopkins, where he was assistant coach from 1971 to 1972. 

Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins, Wood attended grad school at the University of North Carolina, where he was assistant men’s coach from 1972 to 1974 and the head men’s coach from 1975 to 1977.

In 1977, he founded the Berkeley Aquatic Club in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where he coached until his death two days ago.