MELBOURNE, Australia. March 15. LEGENDARY Australian swim coach, Forbes Carlile, was honored yesterday with an award for his influence in coach development.
Already a Member of the British Empire (MBE), Carlile received the Eunice Gill Memorial Award at the inaugural Ausport Awards in Melbourne.
Carlile is credited with changing the nature of swimming coaching over his 60 years in the sport, helping develop scientific techniques to enhance individual performance.
He was among the first to apply tapering to swimmers' preparations and to use the two-beat or broken tempo kicks for distance events. Concepts now considered essential in coaching, such as logbooks and pace clocks, were all developed by Carlile.
"The award is a great honor," said Carlile. "About 60 years ago I started off and there you are," he said.
Carlile paid respect to Professor Frank Cotton, widely considered to be the father of sports science in Australia.
"After the World War II, we introduced a scientific approach to swimming. Before that coaches flew by the seat of their pants and there was no scientific background to it," he said.
"I pay great respect to him (Cotton) … I was brought up under him at the University of Sydney as a lecturer of physiology. I was his vice-president for swimming, so to speak. We did a lot of experiments."
Carlile believes Australian swimming is leading the world today in terms of technique and coaching.
"The whole world is trying to get the particular technique they (Australian swimmers) use," Carlile said.
Swimmers of the calibre of Ian Thorpe and the now-retired Susie O'Neill led Australia to a third major peak in the sport worldwide after dominating in the early 1900s and again in the 1950s and early '60s, Carlile added.
He said the biggest change to the sport came with the introduction of money in the 1980s.
"The big change was in 1984 at the Los Angeles (Olympic) Games with professionalism – they called off the idea of amateur status," he said.
"The big difference nowadays is that instead of having people retiring at 16 or 17, which the girls did, now they can be as old as 30 and still improving.
"It has been made possible for people to stay in the sport."