Forbes Carlile passes away
Legendary Australian swimming coach and the country’s oldest Olympian, Forbes Carlile, has died at the age of 95.
His widow Ursula has revealed he passed away this morning after a short illness, just days before our Aussie swim team competes in the Rio Olympics.
The Australian Olympic Committee today said Carlile died after spending three weeks in a Sydney hospital. He had “left an enormous legacy on the world of swimming and will be remembered by former and current swimmers and coaches from all around the world today and especially when the Olympic swimming competition starts in Rio on Aug. 6.”
The AOC said the 52 swimmers Carlile coached to an elite international level combined for 12 Olympic gold medals.
Carlile was Australia’s first Olympics swimming coach after World War II, and he became the nation’s first modern pentathlon competitor when he took part in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
He first coached the Australian swimming team at the London Olympics in 1948.
Carlile played a key role in producing a number of notable Australian swimmers, including Shane Gould, Karen Moras and Terry Gathercole.
He produced a book in 1963, Forbes Carlile on Swimming, which was the first to study tapering for athletes and the development of the freestyle stroke.
We were honoured to have Forbes Carlile visit Nepean Aquatic Centre shortly after its completion in March 2011. Mr Carlile called the centre ‘an outstanding facility’, saying “I can see Olympic swimmers could easily graduate from his Learn to Swim right through to their final preparation in this complex”. Forbes Carlile went on to compliment the centres design, use of technology, construction, and water quality, calling them “supervisionary” and calling the people responsible for designing and constructing the centre “remarkable”, adding that “he wished he had” a centre like the Nepean Aquatic Centre to work from.
Forbes Carlile also had a special connection to Eva Borys Swim School, as they were very close friends. Eva Bory was Carlile Forbes first swimming instructor when he built Sydney’s first ever indoor LTS facility at his house in Cross Street Ryde in 1961 – 12 years before Eva Bory would open Eva Bory’s Swim School in Emu Plains.
The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association issued the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that ASCTA announce the passing of our legend and Number one swimming coach Forbes Carlile.
“Forbes Carlile MBE was born in Armadale Victoria on 3 June 1921. Growing up in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Forbes, like most Australians, had an early need to learn to swim. He was at first an unwilling student in his lessons at the nearby Balmoral rock pool, but swimming soon became his boyhood hobby and sport of choice.
“Carlile was Australia’s first post-World War II Olympics swimming coach in 1948. He was also Australia’s first competitor in the modern pentathlon at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
“Carlile studied at the University of Sydney under Professor Frank Cotton, graduating and later lecturing there in human physiology. His pioneering work on elite athlete training methods included interval workouts, pace clocks and log books, heart rate tests, training under stress and T Wave studies of the ventricles. He developed techniques such as even paced swimming and the use of two-beat kicks for long-distance events.
“His book, Forbes Carlile on Swimming, was the first modern book on competitive swimming with its study of tapering and the historical development of the crawl. Other books by Carlile include A History of Crawl Stroke Techniques to the 1960s.
“In 1977 Carlile was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, USA. Other awards include the Queens Jubilee Medal (1977), ASI Life Member (2003) and NSSA Hall of Fame (2003). In 1977, Carlile was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to swimming. In 1984 Carlile was inducted as a Life Member of the Australian Swim Coaches Association.
“In 1987 he was inducted as a Master Coach with the association. In 1989 Carlile, was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame.
“For many year Carlile was an integral member of the ASCTA Conference and was always seated in the front row beside his wife of Ursula.
“He will be sadly missed by the whole swimming community.
“On behalf of the ASCTA Board, staff and all members we send our best wishes and strongest support to Ursula in this time of sadness.”
Only last week he became Australia’s oldest living Olympian, when former fencer Helen Joy Hardon died on the Central Coast. She was two days older than Carlile.