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Doug Frost, Thorpe's Mentor, Named Top Aussie Coach of 2001 -- May 5, 2002

By Ian Hanson

GOLD COAST, Australia, May 5. DOUG Frost, the man who guided Ian Thorpe to a record six gold medals at last year's World Championships in Japan, has been named the Telstra Coach of the Year at the annual Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association Annual Awards dinner on the Gold Coast.

Frost won the award for the second year running ahead of a host of outstanding candidates including Denis Cotterell, Mark Regan, Ken Wood and Ian Pope, who all coached individual world champions in what was a stellar year for Australian Swimming.

But it was the Doug Frost coached Thorpedo who dominated in Fukuoka, winning the 200, 400 and 800 metres freestyle world titles all in new world record times and who spearheaded Australia to gold in the 4x100 and 4x200m freestyle and the 4x100m medley relays to take his overall world championship gold medal tally to eight who was the guiding light.

Frost, head Australian men's coach and head coach at the Sutherland Leisure Centre Aquadot Club in Sydney had an all-conquering 2001, with the Aussie men dominating in Fukuoka and at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane.

He was again overwhelmed with his award, saying he was blessed to have such a very special athlete in his squad.

"I guess every coach prays that an Ian Thorpe is going to walk through their door one day, but I'm proud to say that Ian is a product of our system, a young guy who came into Padstow Indoor with his mum and his sister and joined our squad and our swim club," recalled Frost.

"He started to do the things all our other kids do but he always did them correctly and was also a big lump of a lad who all of a sudden started to swim just that much quicker than the others.

"We knew then we had someone pretty special on our hands and it's been an absolute dream ride ever since."

Other major awards on the night went to:

Greg McWhirter (The Hills, NSW) - Coach of the Year for Working with a swimmer with a Disability, for his work with Australian Swimmer with a Disability Award winner Alicia Aberley.

Open Water Coach of the Year - Glenda Radley (Commercial, Qld): who coached Hayley Lewis to a bronze medal in the 5km World Championship last year.

Rookie Coach of the Year - Glen Baker, for his work with the Southern Bay Club in Melbourne.

Age group coach of the year - Shannon Rollason (Chandler Qld) who won this award for the second successive year for the outstanding results achieved by his young sprint team.

The AUSSI Masters Coach of the Year which went to Jeff Price.

In what was a very moving award, the late Terry Gathercole AM, Olympian, Olympic coach and past president of Australian Swimming Inc. received posthumous recognition for his Outstanding Contributions to Australian Swimming.

One of his former swimmers, 1982 Commonwealth Games representative Richard Cahalan and popular National Team and AIS coach Barry Prime both paid tribute to a man who did so much for Australian Swimming and who died just 12 months ago.

Other Outstanding Contributions to Australian Swimming went to Australia's recently retired head coach Don Talbot; the executive director of ASCTA, Michael Ursu; and Australian Swimming principal sponsors Telstra and Swim Australia sponsors Nestle.

The Meritorious Service Award to the Teaching of Swimming in Australia went to Brisbane based coach and ASCTA President David Urquhart, while the Telstra Media Awards were presented to respected Brisbane- based swimming writer Wayne Smith from the Courier Mail in the print category and to Wide World of Sport and Fox Sports in the electronic category.