Australian swimming rocked by death of coaching legend Don Talbot

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Don Talbot, pictured here at the FINA World Cup of Swimming in 2000.
Don Talbot at the FINA World Cup of Swimming in 2000. (AAP PHOTO/Dean Lewins)

Australian swimming has been rocked by the death of coaching legend Don Talbot.

As first reported by Swimming World, Talbot died on Tuesday at the age of 87.

Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979, Talbot is widely regarded as one of the country’s finest coaches.

‘NO ACCIDENT’: Brutal truth about Melbourne Cup horse death

BRUTAL: Jockey cops record fine over Melbourne Cup ride

He worked with the likes of Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim, and was the driving force behind Australia’s dominance in the pool throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Talbot was head coach of the Australian men’s Olympic team from 1964 to 1972, helping his country win 14 medals over three Olympic campaigns.

Due to a lack of funding in Australia, Talbot moved to Canada and took over as head coach of their national team.

Don Talbot, pictured here with Michael Klim and Samantha Riley in 1998.
Don Talbot with Michael Klim and Samantha Riley in 1998. (AP Photo/Steve Holland)

Then in 1978 he moved to America and helped train the US team for the 1980 Olympic Games, which they would ultimately boycott.

He was reappointed head coach of the Australian team in 1989, staying in the role for 12 years.

He was at the helm as Australia won 18 medals at the Sydney Olympics.

Australia also topped the medal tally at the 2001 World Championships in Japan before Talbot retired.

Talbot also coached in the UK and was appointed the inaugural director of the Australian Institute of Sport.

He was also inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1990, made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1981, and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007.

His son, Scott Talbot-Cameron, represented New Zealand at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004.

Tributes flow after death of Don Talbot

Swimming Australia president John Bertrand led the tributes on Wednesday, remembering a “fiercely loyal and supportive” coach who transformed his domain.

“Don Talbot was at the helm of Australia’s golden swimming era,” he said.

“A coaching magician who returned the Australian national squad to its best results in over 30 years at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, he changed the way people thought about high performance.

“We have much to thank Don for and his legacy will remain as one of Australia's most successful swimming coaches and a true inspiration.

“He will be missed by all, in and out of the pool around the world.”

Swimming Canada wrote on Twitter: “We are sorry to hear about the passing of Don Talbot. We send our thoughts to his family and friends.”

Former sports journalist Nicole Jeffrey wrote: “Vale Don Talbot, Australia’s greatest swimming coach and a force of nature.

“You always knew where you stood with Don - penthouse or outhouse.

“If you worked with him often you experienced both. But his passion & commitment drove Australian swimming to its millennial golden era.

“He was fiercely uncompromising. He demanded the best of everyone he worked with.

“Sometimes that was tough, but it was also inspiring. Everyone lifted their game around him.”

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.