Yutaka Terao Character in Coaching Award


Yutaka Terao was the first president of the World Swimming Coaches Association.  He cared for athletes, coaches, friends and the sport of swimming in a way that will always be remembered.  This award perpetuates his name and its recipients exemplify his caring attitude.  He died in Fort Lauderdale on May 13, 2001.  This award is presented in his memory to represent the enthusiasm, high spirit, leadership skills, sharing of knowledge and goodwill personified by others in their coaching endeavors.

Presenting the 2002  Yutaka Terao Award winner...

Cole Terry Gathercole

After 15 years of ill health following open-heart surgery, Australian coach Terry Gathercole, at the age of 65, passed away May 30, 2001, only 17 days after the passing of Yutaka Terao.  His progression from swimmer to professional coach to president of the national body of a major swimming nation was unprecedented in the history of the sport.  Terry rose through the ranks, first as an Olympic swimmer and a prolific world record breaker, later becoming a successful national coach of Olympic and world champions, then serving as president of the Australian Swimming Coaches Association and, finally, president of Australian Swimming during the 2000 Olympics.  He helped stage the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Terry took his swimming seriously, but never himself. He was a gregarious person who knew how to have fun.  His cheerful disposition was part of the Gathercole trademark.

Gathercole was a natural breaststroke swimmer who broke 10 world records and won Olympic and Commonwealth Games medals. He coached himself until he won his first national title in 1953, when he decided to use workouts sent to him in the mail by Hall of Fame coach Forbes Carlile.  Before national and international competitions, Terry trained in Sydney with Carlile, who was his only coach throughout his career.  Under Carlile’s guidance, Gathercole’s breaststroke technique became a model of the orthodox surface stroke as it was swum at that time.

After the 1960 Rome Olympics where his medley relay team won the silver medal, Terry became a full-time coach.  With his own two hands, he built an indoor short course pool.  During his coaching career he produced two Olympic breaststroke gold medalists – Ian O’Brien (1964) and Beverley Whitfield (1972).  At the 1991 World Championships in Perth, Linley Frame won the 100 meter breaststroke in world record time.  He coached nine other swimmers to Olympic competition.  Realizing the need to develop depth in Australia’s program, Gathercole helped other coaches by suggesting breaststroke training programs and staging specialized training camps for breaststroke swimmers only.

In 1968, Terry accepted an invitation to start a swimming team in Midland, Texas.  During his five years there, the team grew from 30 to more than 300 swimmers, four of whom qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.  Terry served on the board of the American Swimming Coaches Association, where he won high respect and was elected president.  However, he declined the office to return home to Australia.  Back in New South Wales, Terry helped develop a model constitution for the NSW and Australian Coaching Associations, which helped create the new Australian Swimming, Inc.   He eventually would serve as its president, becoming the first professional coach anywhere in the world to rise to such eminence in a national governing body. 

Through character and example, Terry filled the office of president of Australian Swimming with much of his own wisdom.  What you saw was what you got.  He was fair-minded, and he didn’t take sides for political reasons.  A natural leader, he was a keen and astute observer, a man of vision and values.  He understood the need for people to be coached in critical leadership skills.  He believed it possible to draw up marvelous plans but, without inspiring leadership, poor performance would result.  The real challenge was to maintain momentum once it was developed.

In addition to many notable contributions to the sport, Gathercole played a leading and successful role in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.  Gathercole’s career showed the great contribution to the sport of swimming that professional coaches can make at all levels.

Terry Gathercole possessed an inherent happiness and sense of humor that always managed to shine through even during his last five years, when he was obviously terribly ill and in great pain.  Throughout his life, Terry was always “The Happy Warrior”.

Terry Gathercole was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985.

Edited from transcript by Cecil Colwin.


Copyright ©   ISHOF | One Hall of Fame Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 | 954.462.6536 | All Rights Reserved |  Home |  Contact Us