PIERREFONDS, Canada, August 19. CANADIAN swimming pioneer George Gate died at the age of 89 at his home after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease according to the Montreal Gazette.
Gate, originally a champion swimmer in Great Britain, moved to Canada in 1947 after World War II and began swimming for fellow Hall of Famer Percy Norman. During his service with the British Royal Navy, Gate fourth in the North Atlantic, the Pacific and as well as British convoys in Russia. Once his time in the Navy came to an end, he moved to Canada and became a logger on Vancouver Island. In 1950, he took his first aquatics job as a pool manager in Ocean Falls, British Columbia, and wound up coaching swimmers to 26 national championships as well as half of the 1964 Canadian Olympic team.
Gate went on to coach the 1968 Olympic team for Canada as well as coached the 1954 Commonwealth Games, 1963 Pan American Games and 1973 World Championships teams. Gate remained at Ocean Falls for 14 years, and during that time period produced greats like Jack Kelso, Lenore Fisher, Richard Pound, and Ralph Hutton.
Later on, Gate moved to the Montreal Athletic Association and at Point Claire produced world record holders Wendy Quirk and Peter Szmidt. In sum, Gate coached 33 swimmers to Commonwealth, Pan-American, World Championship or Olympic Games rosters with 10 of them from Ocean Falls and 23 from Montreal.
Gate was named to the 1982 Aquatic Hall of Fame in Canada, then Canada’s All Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1989, Gate earned a spot in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.