Australian swimming coach Don Talbot dies



Former Australian Olympic Team swimming coach Don Talbot AO OBE following news he passed away yesterday at the age of 87.


AOC President John Coates AC has described Don Talbot as a “coaches’ coach” whose contribution to the success of the Australian swim team was immense.


“Don was a special kind of man. He demanded a lot of his charges but he returned the favour with loyalty and commitment. The net result was success.


“While the Sydney 2000 Games represents the pinnacle, with Australia’s swimming tally of five gold, nine silver and four bronze our greatest ever, everywhere you look with Don, there was achievement.


“Australia was the top nation at the World Championships in 2001.

“As a young coach, he launched the careers of the great John and Ilsa Konrads in the early 1950s, before steering Australian swimmers to Olympic success from 1964 to 1972.


“Critically, after a stint coaching in Canada he returned to Australia as the first full-time Director of the new Australian Institute of Sport in 1980.


“While subsequently he went on to coach the Canadian Team to success at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics, his return to Australia as our head coach in 1989 heralded that golden era.


“Our success in Atlanta 1996 and subsequently Sydney 2000 provided a fitting tribute to his commitment and innovation.”


Don Talbot was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 for his contribution to coaching swimming.


“I valued Don’s input beyond the pool. He cared about Australian sport and he was a good bloke. We will miss him,“ Mr Coates concluded.