Forbes Carlile

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Forbes Carlile MBE (born 3 June 1921) was Australia's first post-World War II Olympics swimming coach and later Australia's first competitor in the modern pentathlon at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He remains the only person to have coached and later competed at the Olympic Games.

Born in Armadale, Victoria, Carlile is best known as a pioneer in swimming coaching. Together with his wife, Ursula, and their assistant, Tom Green, he produced many notable olympians such as Shane Gould, Karen Moras, Gail Neall, John Davies, Terry Gathercole, John Ryan and Ian O'Brien. In 1972, 15-year-old Gould held world records simultaneously in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle and the 200m individual medley.

Carlile started testing his physiological knowledge in 1944 at the Enfield pool with two young schoolboys from Canterbury Boys High School. He first started coaching in 1946 at the Palm Beach rock pool, north of Sydney. Success there led to him being appointed as the Australian swimming coach for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London and he then went on to be head Australian coach again at the 1956 Games in Melbourne and Scientific Advisor in the 1960 Games in Rome. At the 1964 Games he was head coach for the Dutch Olympic team. He was head Australian swimming coach at the FINA World Championships in Belgrade in 1973 which produced nine Australian World Champions. He withdrew as head coach at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.


His book, Forbes Carlile on Swimming (London. 1963), 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: An Australian Perspective and A History of Australian Swimming Training.


In 1977, Carlile was awarded an MBE and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Other awards include the Queens Jubilee Medal (1977), Sport Australia Hall of Fame (1989),[3] ASI Life Member (2003) and NSSA Hall of Fame (2003).

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