Duncan Todd – Director of Swimming & Head Coach
Duncan has lived and breathed swimming his entire life. Thrown in to Mother & Babies lessons before he could walk, Duncan grew up in the pool. In 1992, having just turned 17, Duncan competed at the Barcelona Olympic Games being the youngest male competitor at that meet. Not content with racing himself, Duncan obtained his first Coaching Qualification the following year and started coaching part time as he studied Business at University.
“I was tired of sweating chlorine and had a knack for connecting with kids. As a lifelong swimmer, I understood all the pitfalls that kids encountered and I quickly realised that I could be a better coach than I was a swimmer.”
Since then Duncan has enjoyed a coaching career that has seen him help win a world championship gold medal, play a role in snaffling a small bag of Olympic medals and work with some of the legends of the sport including Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones, Ryosuke Irie and Tae Hwan Park.
“Having the opportunity to work with such super-talented people like Leisel Jones has been such a privilege. It has not only provided me with first hand insight into the best techniques in the world but has given me the opportunity to understand what makes winners tick on a psychological level. And, at the very top, racing is a mind game.”
Duncan has had ample opportunity to refine those thoughts having coached at the 2011 World Champs, the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Having a coaching mentor list that reads like a who’s-who of swimming coaching has also made a massive difference. “I’ve been fortunate to work closely with some of the very best in the business. Bill Sweetenham has taught me so much about good old fashioned grit and toughness. Vince Raleigh is a master technician and Michael Bohl is the best man-manager/psychologist I will ever meet. I’ve taken so much from them and their advice and experience has undoubtedly raised my coaching game. I’m not ashamed to admit that I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Today Duncan is enjoying his return to age-group coaching. “I love challenging swimmers and watching their disbelief when they do things I knew they could but they thought they couldn’t. The looks on their faces are always pure gold. It’s what makes coaching such a great job!”