Bob Gillett, Hall Of Fame Coach, Passes Away – Swimming World News
Swimming World has learned from multiple sources that Coach Bob Gillette passed away this morning in Phoenix, Arizona after suffering a heart attack. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. His wife was at his side when he passed away. Swimming World will update this article as more information is learned.Gillett was a pioneer and leader in the application of underwater butterfly kicking in swim racing. He was instrumental in the development of the monofin and making extended underwater breakouts a cornerstone of competitive racing. Gillett is probably most famous for leading Misty Hyman to her Gold medal-winning upset of “Madame Butterfly II” Susie O’Neill at the 2000 Olympics on O’Neill’s home turf in Sydney, Australia. Hyman introduced Gillett in the ASCA Hall of Fame with an impassioned and touching tribute as a coach and mentor. Under Gillett’s guidance, Hyman was also a Jr National and National butterfly champion as well as the National High School record holder in the 100 yard butterfly.Reflecting on the loss of Gillett, Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s Executive Director, explained,I still call Misty Hyman’s incredible gold medal in Sydney one of the Olympics’ most memorable moments. How Bob and Misty worked together to accomplish what most people thought couldn’t happen was simply amazing.Gillett’s swimmers have won 20 national championships and 50 junior national championships – mostly at Arizona Desert Fox. Featuring world-class underwater kicking, Gillett swimmer Cindy Tran was a national high school record holder in the 100 yard backstroke, becoming the first high school female to break 52.Wielgus added,When you think of the true innovators in the sport of swimming, Bob Gillett immediately comes to mind. He was constantly looking forward and creating new ways to help his swimmers improve. He was also always willing to share his knowledge with other coaches to help them work with their swimmers better. Bob will be missed by all of us in the swimming community. Always known as an innovator, Gillett was ahead of the game in bringing swimming into the computer age. In 1965 he developed the wheel calculator; in the early 70’s he developed a computer program to show simulated race analysis; in 1978 he was the first to bring a micro-computer to the pool deck with his database system known as CAREPAK (Computer-Assisted Race Evaluation Package). In 2010 the first prototypes of his Sprint Trainer were developed.Gillett is the founder of NCSA (National Club Swimming Association), whose Spring Junior National Championship meets have grown to over 1600 athletes. Through NCSA, Gillett has implemented all-expense-paid trips for a NCSA team to international competition – the first team competing in Ireland in 2010.Gillett is a mentor coach in USA Swimming’s Master Coach program – visiting clubs and sharing his expertise with clubs and college teams across the country.