By Forbes Carlile
The funeral of Terry Gathercole A.M was held in the small country town of West Wylong, in South Western NSW, where Terry was buried beside his father and
mother. The local Anglican church was packed with townspeople honouring its famous son and with many swimming friends who had travelled far to mourn a man who had reached the height of success in swimming.
Terry was a world record holder, an Olympic swimmer and medal winner, a coach of two Olympic champions and a World Championship winner, and finally served with distinction as President of Australian Swimming in Australia's Olympic year.
On the following day, Thursday June 7th at noon, in the AIS pool in Canberra where Terry had last coached with outstanding success from 1991 until 1996, a
wonderful Memorial service was held.
The Daily Telegraph well summed up the thoughts of around a thousand, who included the Prime Minister, two ministers of the Commonwealth Government and representatives from the USA and New Zealand Swimming, Carol Zaleski and Bill Madsen, both of whom also represented FINA.
This was written in this morning's paper……..
"Passionate, loyal, honest, dedicated and a cheerful soul is how former Swimming president Terry Gathercole was remembered yesterday.
"The memorial was also attended by the Prime Minister John Howard,who said Gathercole had been a great Family man and a beacon to young swimmers."
All the above characteristics, the humanity, and laughter,of Terry who had passionately served his swimmers and swimming for nearly 50 years were echoed in eloquent and heart-felt eulogies given by his great friend John Devitt, his daughter Gai, former pupils Richard Cahalan, Lisa Forrest, and Linley Frame, by Kieren Perkins on behalf of the Australian Sports
Commission, Professor Dr. Peter Fricker, and Barry Prime a fellow AIS coach.
Terry's fortitude during 15 years of complex recurring illnesses after his first open heart surgery in 1986 was praised. Many aspects of Terry's fruitful life came up for review: his 5 years in the USA at Midland, Texas, where had he not decided to bring his family back to Australia, although an Australian, he was marked as President Elect of the American Swimming Coaches Association. Spoken of continually was his
devotion to wife Carol and his family, Ben, Gai and Tim. Also recalled was Terry's love for his Harley Davidson motorcycle, and for American country and western music — and his particular favourite was played. It was Pecos Promenade, a song with a Texas flavor sung by Tania Tucker.
His fondness for a cigar and an occasional sip of a good red wine "for medicinal purposes" were also mentioned.
The strains of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, another favourite of Terry's, performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra rang out as his many friends filed out of the area and on the way, as invited, patted the head of an elegant member of one of his treasured plaster frog collections.
Breaststrokers with their "frog" kicks —as Terry so many times pointed out with a chuckle, represented the cream of the crop.