Two-Time Australian Olympic Swimmer Neil Rogers Dies at 70

Two-time Olympian and Australian swimming star Neil Rogers died recently at the age of 70. Renowned by many who knew him as an incredible coach and human being, Rogers was a fixture of the Australian swimming community his whole life.

Born in 1953, Rogers first represented his country at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh alongside his older brother Greg. Just 16 years old at the time, he took home a bronze medal in the 200 back and earned a silver medal as part of the 400 medley relay team.

Rogers returned to the Commonwealth Games in 1974, this time winning a gold medal and setting the Games record in the 100 fly in addition to bringing home two silver medals.

Rogers made his Olympic debut at the 1972 Munich Games, where his highest finish was 8th in the 100 fly. Greg also raced at the 1972 Olympics and had previously medaled at the 1968 Games in Mexico.

The 1976 Olympics in Montreal saw Rogers finish 6th in the 100 free and 8th in the 100 fly.

Outside of competitive swimming, Rogers stayed close to the water. His other brother, Ron, was an Australian surf belt champion before his death, leading to Neil and Greg spending plenty of time in the surf.

Between the three of them, the Rogers brothers hold two unique records. They are the only brothers to win an Australian Open Belt Race championship (Ron in 1972 and Neil in 1976) and the only brothers to win an Australian Open 100 free title (Greg in 1969 and Neil in 1974).

After stepping back from competing, Rogers became the manager and coach at the Bondi Icebergs swimming pool. He continued to coach for the remainder of his life and played a pivotal role in helping countless people to improve their swimming abilities.

Rogers returned to racing later in life, competing at the masters level and appearing in the World Masters Championships.

Neil Martin, co-chair of Swimming Australia and a former teammate of Rogers from the 1972 Olympics, spoke on the loss of Rogers.

“Neil Rogers was a much loved and talented athlete of the 1970s and an icon of Australian swimming including as a coach at Bondi Icebergs,” Martin said. “He was highly regarded by all who knew him and will be sorely missed by our sport.”

Rogers is remembered by his family, friends and all those who knew him in the Australian swimming community.

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1 month ago

If I’m not mistaken, swam for a time at University of Wisconsin under Jack Pettinger. Would have been early to mid 70’S. Had a Spitz-like mustache that drew a lot of attention; plus the fact he was good a butterflyer. Hope someone can back me up on this… RIP

Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

He did go to Wisconsin – mentioned in this article – but none of the photos show him with a mo.

Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Paul Jarvie and Nigel Cluer too. Forgot about the “Playgirl” thing. Thanks.

1 month ago

Vale Mr Rogers!