Grant Stoelwinder, Who Coached Eamon Sullivan to World Records, Dies at 52

Australian swim coach Grant Stoelwinder died in January died on January 29. He was 52-years-old. His death came after a seven-year battle with neurological degenerative dementia.

Stoelwinder was the coach of a number of Australian international-caliber swimmers, including Eamon Sullivan as he rose to break World Records in the 50 free and 100 free in 2008. He also coached Libby Trickett when she broke the last of her 8 World Records, the 100 short course meters fly, in 2008.

Other well-known swimmers under his charge include Geoff HugillMatthew AboodAndrew Lauterstein, Jim Piper, Adam Lucas, Todd Pearson, and Tommaso D’Orsogna.

His longtime assistant Mel Tantrum, now the Technical Lead for Swimming Australia over Western Australian and South Australia, remembered his former boss fondly.

“Grant had the incredible ability to be vulnerable and ask for help if he didn’t know something,” Tantrum said. “That enabled people to want to help him, and he surrounded himself with a team of supportive, loyal and enthusiastic experts who were all keen to give 100% to the program.  The way he coached swimmers was authentic and genuine.  The athletes became better humans by working with Stolly.  As a mentor for me, he allowed me to grow and pursue my goals and dreams. His legacy is the thousands of people who are better for having worked with him.”

While working with Sullivan, he was named the Western Australia Coach of the Year consecutively from 2004 through 2008.

He earned his first international appointment in 2005 at the FINA World Championships before being appointed to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic coaching staffs. He was also named to the staffs for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.

Stoelwinder would eventually move east, working as the head coach at the New South Wales Institute of Sport and the University of Sydney.

“The contribution Grant made to swimming in WA was hugely significant as a coach, and our community sends deepest condolences to Grant’s family and friends at this very sad time,” Swimming Western Australia said in a press release.


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1 year ago

This is absolutely heartbreaking 💔. Does anyone know what type of illness caused the dementia?

Sincere condolences to his loved ones, family, and friends. It’s apparent that he touched the lives of many people. 💞

Reply to  Barbara
1 year ago

According to OpenAI:

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects memory, thinking and interferes with daily life. It is a progressive disease that damages brain cells and is the primary cause of dementia1.

The damage to brain cells can be caused by a variety of factors such as age, family history, damage to blood vessels of the brain, accumulation of clumps of protein in the brain, genetic disorders, mental and neurological disorders, traumatic brain injury or repetitive brain injury, infections which cause high fever, metabolic disorders, certain medications, vitamin deficiencies, poisoning with heavy metals or pesticides, alcohol abuse, brain tumor or cancer, and enlarged structures of the brain12.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have… Read more »

1 year ago

Absolutely tragic. Rest in peace, Grant.

1 year ago

To start being afflicted with dementia at 45 is so tragic

Lab Counter
1 year ago

😥. Way too young

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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