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Terry Gathercole Bio

Terry Gathercole, Vice-President of Australian Swimming Inc, was born in West Wyalong (pop. 3000), a small country town in New South Wales. He first broke the Australian breaststroke record in 1953, without any previous coaching. Then Forbes Carlile sent him instructions through the mail, before he came to Sydney to train under Carlile in person.

During Gathercole's career, FINA was constantly changing the breaststroke rules, first allowing underwater breaststroke swimming, then finally disallowing it in May, 1957. Gathercole was a surface breaststroke swimmer, and, for most of his career was at a disadvantage when competing against expert underwater swimmers, with their double-length pull through to the hips. Nevertheless, in 1958, at the age of 23, he had his revenge when he broke the world breaststroke records six times within a two-month period.

Gathercole won two Commonwealth gold medals at the Cardiff Empire Games in 1954. In 1956, at the Melbourne Olympics, he came fifth in the 200 breaststroke, competing against rivals who spent most of their time completely submerged, surfacing only to take the occasional breath. A few months before the Rome Olympics, Gathercole was involved in a car crash. Nevertheless, he led the field into the final lap of the 200 breaststroke, when his lack of conditioning caught up with him. He finished unplaced after one of the most exciting races of the 1960 Olympics.

As a coach, Gathercole has produced two Olympic breaststroke champions, Ian O'Brien (1964) and Beverley Whitfield (1972). At the 1991 World Championships in Perth, Linley Frame, yet another Gathercole protege, won the 100 breaststroke.

Gathercole coached in Midland, Texas, for five years, and was president-elect of the American Swimming Coaches' Association, an unusual honour for a non-American. However, he decided to return home so that his children could be raised in Australia.

Terry Gathercole, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in 1985, is highly respected in Australian swimming for his knowledge and experience, not to mention his well-considered opinions on many aspects of the sport.

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