Australia Mourns Gathercole

By Ian Hanson

SYDNEY, May 30. AUSTRALIAN Swimming is today mourning the loss of one of its greatest administrators, former Olympian, master coach and fierce anti-drugs campaigner Terry Gathercole, who died in Canberra this morning, aged 65.

Gathercole, died of a heart attack after a long illness and was surrounded by his wife Carol, son Ben and daughter Gai. His youngest son Tim will fly home from the United States to join the family in Canberra this week.

A funeral in West Wyalong and a Memorial Service at the Australan Institute of Sport in Canberra, are expected to be held next week.

"Coach" as he was affectionately known throughout Australia and by the thousands of swimmers who have graduated through the "Gathercole school" will be sadly missed by the swimming fraternity world wide.

Gathercole served as Australian Swimming president between 1997 and 2000 and he led a very public campaign in the fight against drugs in swimming.

Born in West Wyalong and bred in the NSW country town, Gathercole, was a country kid with a passion for swimming and in particular breaststroke swimming.

A man who lived for his sport and a man who was determined, through ailing health, to survive the 2000 Sydney Olympics and stand tall as the president of one of the great swimmers powers.

Gathercole convinced the Sydney Olympic Torch Relay organisers to re-route his leg of the relay past the West Wyalong Olympic Pool, where he so proudly carried the torch on its way to Sydney.

Australian Swimming president, life long friend and Olympic teammate, John Devitt said from Osaka today, where he has been officiating as Australia's Chef de Mission at the 3rd East Asian Games, that Australian Swimming had lost one of its greats.

Mr Devitt said: "My family and my personal loss is immense, so is the loss to Australian Swimming of one of the great administrators and master coaches of our sport.

"Terry was fiercely loyal, passionate and he believed that an even playing field was the only path that swimming world wide should follow. He wanted and achieved the removal of drug takers and cheats from our sport.

"To all of us who have lost a motivator and importantly a true friend, we should be well comforted that we had him amongst us for such a long while.

"We indeed have lost a great mate, one we cannot replace."

One of his prized pupils, Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Lisa Forrest said she was with
"Coach" two weeks ago.

"He was chirpy and full of beans right to the end, working on projects to make sure swimming was always on the move," said Forrest, who went on to become an actress and author.

"I will always remember him as one of the toughest men I have ever met, a great coach, a great man, a wonderful friend to us all."

Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association president and former Olympian and Australian head coach Tery Buck said: "Terry Gathercole was a pioneer in the world of swimming. He was in the Australian team in its peak in the 50s and 60s, saw the sport at its worst in the 70s and was there at the helm in the position as president when the Australian team finished second in world at the Sydney Olympics in 2000

"He has seen it all. What a lucky man, to have the talent to be there, what a marvellous innings from a very special man who was passionionate about swimming, his contribution was immeasurable."

Gathercole was the Australian 100 and 200 metre and 110 and 220 yards breaststroke champion from 1954 to 1960 which for many years was listed in the Guinness book of records as the most consecutive National Titles won by a male competitor.

He represented Australia at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, where he won silver in the Australian medley relay team.

He was also a Commonwealth Games representative and gold medallist and world record holder in the Australian medley team.

Gathercole was the world record holder in 200m, 110 yards and 220 yards Breaststroke from 1958 to 1961, a record regained in 1964 by Olympic gold medalist Ian O'Brien who was coached by Terry Gathercole at that time.

He was a member of Australian medley relay teams with freestylers John Devitt, Jon Henricks, Geoff Shipton, butterflyers Brian Wilkinson and Neville Hayes and backstrokers John Monckton and the great David Theile over a seven year consecutive period.

He represented West Wyalong Amateur Swimming Club throughout his entire swimming career and joined training squads coached by Forbes Carlisle when selected for Olympic, Commonwealth or National Training Squads or Tours.

Gathercole commenced swim coaching in December 1960 and among his most prominent pupils who gained Olympic Games selection were: Gold medallists Ian O'Brien (1964 & 1968) and Beverley Whitfield (1972; Graham Dunn (1968); Denise Langford (1968)); Mark Kerry (1976, 1980, 1984)); Peter Dawson (1976); Paul Jarvie (1976); Georgina Parkes (1980); Lisa Forrest (1980); Ian McAdam (1988); Linley Frame (1992) Phillip Rogers (1992, 1996, 2000).

He was an Australian Olympic Swim Team Coach – Tokyo 1964; Montreal 1976; Australian Commonwealth Games Swim Team Coach – Jamaica 1966; World Championship Swim Team Coach – Columbia 1975; Pan Pacific Swim Meet Coach – Japan 1983; The Australian World Championship team inn 1991 and Barcrelona Olympic team in 1992.

He built the first heated Indoor Swimming Pool at Castle Cove, Sydney NSW in 1961

In 1968 he accepted the Head Coach position with the city of Midland, Texas, USA to form a swim team to national competitive level. The team grew from an original 29 members to 320 competitive swimmers and in the five years contract period qualified four swimmers for the American Olympic Trials.

He was presented with a Senate resolution by the President of the Senate for the state of Texas in recognition of the contribution made to the Team and the youth of the Community and the State of Texas.

Beyond the Local level, he was instrumental in standardising swimming rules and administration; achieved nationwide recognition by serving on American Swimming Coaches Association board of Directors and later became first non-American to be elected as the President of American Swim Coaches Association.

He was the head Coach of WIN A.S.C who won the Australian National Point Score, February 1981.

Gathercole was named NSW and Australian Coach of the Year by Australian Swim Coaches 1981 and after selling Killarney Heights Pool in October 1985 was named Senior Coach Men Swimming at Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra January 1986.

In August 1987 he was made a life member of Australian Swim Coaches Association and at the Australian Swim Coaches Conference in 1987 awarded the title of Master Coach Award.

He was inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions In 1980 and was made a Life Member of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Swimming Coaches Association and Life Member of the Australian Swimming Coaches Association.

He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA in 1985 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1988 and made a life member of Australian Swimming in 1999 and an associate Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

He was Chairman of the Australian Swim Coaches Association (until 1990); Board member and past Treasurer and Board Member of Australian Swimming Inc. (as Chairman of the Coaching Co-ordination Committee).

Australian Swim Coaches Committee Member on National Accreditation for Swim Coaches and the Development of the curriculum for submission to the National Coaching Council and implementation of Coaches Accreditation.

Representative of the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia and Board member to the Confederation of Australian Sport Coaches Assembly (CASCA).

Vice-President of Australian Swimming Inc 1992 & 1996 and President of Australian Swimming Inc 1997 -2000

He wads a Member of the Organising Committee 1998 VIII World Swimming Championships, Perth, Western Australia. (January 1998) and Chairman of the Organising Committee 1998 World Cup Swim Meet. Sydney, January 1998.

Member of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association Committee in 1997; Chairman of the Organising Committee 1999 World Cup Swim Meet. Sydney, January 1999; Chairman of the Pan Pacific Organising Committee 1999; Chairman of the Organising Committee 2000 World Cup Swim Meet. Sydney, January 2000. The Immediate Past President Australian Swimming October 2000

Mr Gathercole is survived by his wife Carol and children Ben, Gai and Tim.


ASI Office Bearer

1992-1996 Vice President
1996-2000 President

Olympic Placed

1960 Rome 2nd 4:12.00 4 x 100m Men's Medley Relay Terry Gathercole,
David Theile, Neville Hayes, Geoff Shipton
Olympic Representative

1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome

Olympic Coach

1964 Tokyo, 1992 Barcelona

1976 ? Chief swimming coach

Commonwealth Games Champion

1958 Cardiff 220yards Breaststroke 2:41.6

1958 Cardiff 440yards Medley Relay 4:14.20 Terry Gathercole, John Monckton,
Brian Wilkinson, John Devitt

World Records

1958 200m Breaststroke 2:36.5

Australian Open Records

1956 100m Breaststroke 1:13.60

1958 100m Breaststroke 1:12.40

1954 200m Breaststroke 2:55.60

1955 200m Breaststroke 2:47.00

1956 200m Breaststroke 2:37.40

1957 200m Breaststroke 2:40.90

1958 200m Breaststroke 2:36.50

1956 110y Breaststroke 1:13.6

1958 110y Breaststroke 1:12.4

1954 220y Breaststroke 2:55.6

1955 220y Breaststroke 2:55.6

1956 220y Breaststroke 2:41.4

1957 220y Breaststroke 2:04.9 ?

1958 220y Breaststroke 2:36.5

Australian Open Champion

1959 110y Breaststroke 1:14.11

1960 110y Breaststroke 1:15.40

1954 220y Breaststroke 2:56.20

1955 220y Breaststroke 2:47.00

1956 220y Breaststroke 2:45.40

1957 220y Breaststroke 2:40.90

1958 220y Breaststroke 2:44.70

1959 220y Breaststroke 2:47.10

1960 220y Breaststroke 2:43.00