Denis Cotterell has had an exceptional coaching career and has proven himself to be one of the world’s top swim coaches. On Thursday Cotterell will be recognized as one of the greats in Australian sport as he will be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
“I am very humbled and honoured to be recognized and inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame,” Cotterell said.
“It’s been a long journey, I’ve been very fortunate to be associated with some great athletes over my time and very proud of what they have achieved over the years.”
“For me it hasn’t just been swimming. I’ve had a long involvement with a large number of triathletes and all the best surf life savers over the last 20 to 30 years.”
“It usually comes down to the people you are involved with, you’re looking at the faces of kids with aspirations and ambitions and they’re looking back at you hoping you can help them achieve their potential and achieve those goals.”
Cotterell has been the Head Coach of the Miami Swimming Club since 1976. During that time he has coached swimmers such as multiple Olympic medalist Daniel Kowalski and the legendary Grant Hackett who collected gold in the 1500 freestyle at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
When Cotterell was asked about the more special moments in his career to this point he pointed to Hackett’s wins in Sydney and Athens, “Despite his form and his rankings going into most of those meets, he overcame severe challenges with his health to prevail on the day,” Cotterell said.
The latest Australian athlete to shine under Cotterell’s tutelage is Thomas Fraser-Holmes who won the 200 freestyle at both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.
“Queensland has produced many great swimmers, but few coaches match the achievements of the legendary Denis Cotterell,” said Robert de Castella, MBE, chair of the induction committee.
“Some coaches are blessed with great athletes ‘falling’ into their laps, whilst others create them from the ground up. Denis Cotterell has produced a seemingly never ending string of champions that attest to his wonderful coaching talents and his ability to inspire greatness.”
Cotterell has also had a hand in the success of Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, who won Olympic gold in both the 400 and 1500 freestyle at the 2012 Olympics.