Ken Wood, Coach of Multiple World Record Breakers, Dies in Australia

Legendary Australian swim coach Ken Wood has died, the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association has posted on their Facebok page.

Wood was the coach of many of Australia’s (and China’s) best swimmers of the 21st century, including 2017 International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Leisel Jones.

Wood also coached:

  • Geoff Huegill from age 12 through the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, which included a pair of medals at the 2000 Olympics;
  • 2009 open water World Champion Melissa Gorman;
  • Dual Olympic 800 free relay medalist Kylie Palmer, who won silver in the 200 free individually at the 2011 World Championships;
  • Jessica Schipper, whom he coached for a decade from childhood through the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, which included 2 relay gold medals and 2 bronze medals in the 100 and 200 butterflies in Beijing;
  • China’s Ye Shiwen, former World Record holder in the 400 IM; and
  • China’s Liu Zige, current holder of the 200 fly World Record who won gold in the event at both the 2008 Olympic Games and 2013 World Championships.

Schipper famously split with Wood in 2008 after he coached Chinese swimmer Liu Zige, who would then beat Schipper in the 200 fly at the 2008 Olympic Games. Schipper denied in an interview at the time that there was a connection between Wood’s coaching of international swimmers, in spite of media speculation to the opposite, and the two expressed an amicable split.

In total, Woods swimmers earned over 85 National Champions, 152 Age Group National Championships, 61 international gold medals, and broke 15 individual World Records and 110 Australian Records. Wood coached on 28 Australian Teams, including at the 1984 Olympic Games. He put swimmers on at least 4 consecutive Australian Olympic Teams from 2000-2012.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

3 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

He sold out to the Chinese just like Cotterell..

Mini Bus

Show some respect verram.

Ken served his local community and country with his coaching expertise for a long time, his good humour and great generosity will be missed. if Australia swimming doesn’t want to pay coaches what they deserve that’s their problem.



Rumour has it cotterell made hardly any coin. I’m sure Ken would of been the same, so who can begrudge them taking their talents elsewhere. RIP Ken. Sad day for swimming.


Still doesn’t negate the fact he sold out to the Chinese to the detriment of his Aussie chargers in Beijing 2008.. RIP but let’s be honest about it

Jack Simon

One of the worlds great coaches. A long and successful life, he will be missed by many.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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, …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!