Richard Max Ritter (November 7, 1886 – May 24, 1974) was born in Magdeburg, Germany and competed for Germany in the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympics. He was educated in London from 1906 to 1909 and in 1910 he immigrated to the United States. He was one of the 8 founders of FINA on July 19, 1908 where the group set uniform international rules for swimming, diving, water polo and established world records for swimming.
Ritter was the only person to have served in each of the three officer positions within FINA. Ritter served as FINA Honorary Secretary and FINA Honorary Treasurer. In 1960 he was elected FINA President, the first American to serve in a FINA leadership position. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, under Ritter's leadership, FINA membership grew to more than 90 National Federations. He served as the treasurer of the US Olympic Committee and was active for more than 50 years in the Amateur Athletic Union. In 1965 he was inducted as an Honor Contributor in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
The R. Max Ritter Award is donated by the Ritter Family and is presented annually by United States Aquatic Sports to the organization or individual of a FINA member country who has contributed the most to the advancement of understanding and good will among nations through international participation in amateur aquatic sports.