In memoriam: Nicholas M. Armington - 10/19/2003
Nicholas Armington took to scuba diving "like a fish" after he tried it while vacationing on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas about eight years ago.

"He loved the serenity of the ocean," said Armington's wife, Sari Armington. "Actually he said he felt very close to God, and he's not a religious person.''

On Saturday, Nick Armington, a filmmaker from San Rafael, died after being pulled from the waters of the Pacific near Ventura.

He died of asphyxiation due to drowning, the Ventura County Coroner's Office told his family. He had turned 41 last Wednesday.

Armington and his wife had recently begun to make documentaries for public television. Earlier this year, their production, "The Plunge: Time Laps Through History," aired on KQED. The profile of a grand public swimming hall in Richmond that mirrored the city's history was well received.

The couple's next production for KQED was to be called "The Funnies: Life in the Comics," a look at the history of newspaper comic strips shot in high- definition.

"It's a terrible loss," said Bayley Silleck, a director of IMAX films who lives in New York and worked with Armington on several projects. "Nick is one of those very positive, vibrant guys. He'd just begun to flex his professional muscles."....

"He lived every day like it was his last,'' Sari Armington said Sunday. "He was an optimist who believed in the goodness of the human spirit, but not na?vely.''

Sari Armington described her husband as a hard-working filmmaker who composed his own keyboard music and pushed the limits of video technology.

"Nick took his work very seriously, but he did not take life seriously. He had a great sense of humor, and he motivated and inspired people," she said.

Armington was born in Manhattan, an only child who followed his late father into filmmaking. He attended Dartmouth, making spending money as a disc jockey and by giving sailing lessons. He worked for many years for Westvaco, the large paper and packaging company, as an in-house media producer, friends and family members said.

Nick met Sari at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. After they married, he moved from Manhattan to California. Together, they started Alchemedia Ltd. in Point Richmond with a motto of "We tell stories on screens."

"Above all, he had enormous talent -- like his father did," said Armington's mother, Dr. Irene Meister-Armington of New York....

From Cyber Diver News Network
October 20, 2003

Natatorium Laps the Miles
Story by Margaret Foster / June 17, 2003

In the summer of 2001, a wall of the Municipal Natatorium in Richmond, Calif., seven miles northeast of San Francisco, bulged unexpectedly. So the city closed the indoor pool, nicknamed "the Plunge," a two-story building constructed in 1926.

Ever since, residents have been fighting for the building's restoration. Tonight, their cause will be spotlighted when a documentary called "The Plunge: Time Laps Through History" airs on California public television. The 30-minute documentary profiles 12 swimmers whose ages range from two to 92 years old.

"As filmmakers, we believed there was an interesting story not only in the building itself but in the hundreds of thousands of people who had swum there," says Nick Armington, president of San Rafael-based Alchemedia Ltd., which co-produced the film pro bono. "It's the story of a city growing up."

Although the city has never restored the Plunge, it recently pledged money to study its potential for rehabilitation. In the past year, the city has held public hearings on the project, working closely with a group called Richmond Friends of Recreation, founded in 1979. The nonprofit created the Save the Richmond Plunge Trust in 1997 and has raised $150,000 toward restoration, which architects estimate will cost $8-$11 million.

"We hope [the film] will spur the city of Richmond to action," Armington says. "We think it will raise awareness of the treasure they have in their community."

Co-produced by Alchemedia Ltd. and KQED Public Television, "The Plunge: Time Laps Through History" will also air on KQED on Saturday, June 21 at 3:00 p.m. For more information, visit Save the Richmond Plunge Trust.

From Preservation Online