Sam Herford (USA)
Honor Coach (1992)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC COACH: Murray Rose (1956: 3 gold; 1960: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze); John Devitt (1956: 1 silver, 1 gold; 1960: 1 gold, 1 bronze); COMMONWEALTH GAMES COACH: 1958, 1962; Placed swimmers one very team from 1958 to 1966.
Australia produced all the Olympic Champions in men’s freestyle and backstroke during the 1956 Melbourne Games and the 1960 Rome Olympics. A great part of those champions were coached by the great Sam Herford. Two of his swimmers, Murray Rose and John Dewitt, won ten Olympic medals between them, six of them gold.
Herford’s background in swimming began with his own competitive career in which he won three Australian national titles, competing against Australian legend Andrew “Boy” Charlton in the freestyle events. He set over seven national records between 1931 and 1933. As a swimmer for the Manley Swim Club and the New South Wales Swimming Team, he won all the 880 and one-mile championships as well as winning the Open Surf Championships of Australia.
It was after his own swimming career ended in 1936 that Herford began coaching the New South Wales Team and developing Olympic Champions from novice swimmers. As coach of the 1956 and 1960 Australian Olympic Teams, he helped to lead Australia into and through her most prominent years on the international scene. His swimmers ranged from world record holder and Olympic champion Murray Rose in the 400-meter and 1500-meter events to John Dewitt in the 100-meter sprint event. Graham Hamilton and Gegania Bechette both competed on the 1956 team. Murray Garrity and Gary Windram were both national champions. Sam also coached the Commonwealth Game teams of 1958 and 1962 and his own swimmers earned medals on every Commonwealth team from 1958 at Cardiff to 1966 at Jamaica. His daughter Kim competed in the 400-meter freestyle in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, while son Gary was a rower on the same Olympic team.