Terry Gulliver

Terry Gulliver was one of the Australians who came to South Africa in the 1970's, where he coached in Durban for a while. His swimmers included Paula Newby-Fraser, Jaques Marais, Graham Perleman, Kevin Robertson, Gary Robertson, Peter le Roux, Paul Blackbeard, Gay Harker, John Harker, Bruce Butler, Anne Edwards, Mike Gittings, Veronica Gittings.


An extract from the history of Queens Park Swimming Club:

Then in 1969 there occurred an event which was to have a profound and long lasting effect on the fortunes of Queen's Park. In the Spring of that year a young Australian, Terry Gulliver, arrived on the scene and started coaching a small band of swimmers at the Durban North Municipal Bath. He was ambitious and a go-getterbut he had a brash approach which later caused several eruptions amongst the swimming hierarchy and Corporation officials. However, he possessed an undoubted flair for coaching swimming and motivating youngsters, and these attributes were soon recognised by a number of parents in the neighbourhood.  Within a relatively short space of time he had built up a large squad of enthusiastic and dedicated young swimmers, many of whom had hitherto been unknown, but all were members of Queen's Park and soon began to make their presence felt in competition. Fortunately the Club committee had the foresight to realise that here at last was the catalyst which would enable the Club to stage a significant recovery, so, despite the unpopularity of professional coaches amongst the "powers that be" at the time, the committee decided the following season that Mr Gulliver, who already had about 60 members of the Club under his direction, should be appointed official coach to the Club.

From this point, the progress made by Queen's Park was quite phenomenal and within two seasons the Club could justifiably claim to be the premier club in Natal, and a year later the strongest in South Africa. Over this short period we saw Terry Gulliver develop such swimmers as Paul Blackbeard, John Harker, Peter le Roux, Gary and Kevin Robertson, Derek Buck, Chris Peinke, Linda Clokie, Jill Duncan, Anne Stretch, Glynnis Vaughan, Heather Biddington and Susan Monaghan, all of whom won Natal senior and junior championship titles and who also represented Natal - some for a great many years.

Just when the Club was starting to reap meaningful benefits at top levels and all seemed rosy for the future with an upsurge of talent right down to the most junior levels, Terry Gulliver announced at the end of the 1973 season that he would be returning to his home country. This was extremely disappointing news for the Club, but Gulliver was a restless and enterprising man and, with South Africa being suspended by FINA that year, he saw his next goal of taking his top swimmers into world competition as being firmly blocked. His loss both to Queen's Park and Natal was greater than many realised at the time, for there was no doubt that it was Gulliver who had been the prime cause of the revival of swimming in Natal. Before his arrival Natal was a weak swimming province, and it was only after he had brought Queen's Park to the fore that Natal again started to become a force at National level.

His real strength lay more in his motivating powers than in his coaching ability, and (sadly) the atmosphere at the galas has never been the same since his departure. Who will ever forget his shrill whistles of encouragement, the enthusiasm of his swimmers and his conspicuously striped green and yellow windbreaker' He really knew how to get youngsters immensely excited about their swimming, how to make them feel proud about being competitive swimmers and how to urge them on to ever improving goals. Admittedly, he frequently gave the Natal officials a hard time and also caused a fair degree of consternation within the Club as well, for he revelled in conflict, but few will deny the immense impact his involvement had on the standard of swimming in Natal, And here it is worth noting that of his original 1969 squad, Paul Blackbeard, John Harker, Peter le Roux, Alan Furniss and Jacques Marais all became Springbok swimmers, Alison Cuttings and Alison Blackbeard both earned Springbok colours for synchronised swimming, whilst others such as Quirin Kohler, Mike Gittings, Derek Buck and Gaye Harker all gained Provincial honours and have continued their involvement in the sport to the present time. 

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