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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

GEORGE GATE

Inducted in 1983

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 11, 1924
Place of Birth: Carlisle, Cumberland
Sport: Swimming
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1954

National Swim Team Coach, Canada Games

1963

National Swim Team Coach, Pan-Am Games

1966-1998

Aquatic Director, Coach, and President, Pointe Claire Swim Club

1968

National Swim Team Coach, Olympics

1973

National Swim Team Coach, World Championships

1989

Inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Honoured Member GEORGE GATE
Inspire

Story

George Gate has had an enormous impact on swimming in Canada. Over the last half-century, his pioneering coaching techniques, innovative swim programs, and lifelong dedication to the sport have helped produce some of the nation's finest swimmers and coaches. As a teenager, Gate was a local swimming champion in his native England. He served in the British Navy during the Second World War and would pass his time in port reading books on swimming techniques. Gate came to Canada in the late 1940s with the intention of making a career in the logging industry, but he was soon drawn back into the pool. Gate was hired as pool manager at the amateur swim club in the tiny B.C. town of Ocean Falls. Coaching was not in the job description, but Gate readily took on the extra responsibilities. Over the next 14 years, he pioneered a number of different coaching methods. For example, he integrated running, weight-training, and other dry-land activities into his swimmers' training schedules. In swimming technique, he brought to light the importance of the body roll and two and four-beat leg kicks in freestyle distance swimming. Above all, Gate was a rigid disciplinarian, determined to bring out the best in every swimmer. Gate's innovative coaching techniques proved to be highly effective. Between 1962 and 1965, his teams dominated the national finals, earning the highest point scores in competition. By the time he left Ocean Falls in 1964, half of Canada's Olympic swim team hailed from the tiny lumber town of 3,000 people. Some of his most famous champions include Richard Pound, Ralph Hutton, Jack Kelso, Lenora Fisher, Brian Griffiths, and Sandy Gilchrist. In 1964, Gate moved to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. Two years later, he became aquatic director and head swim coach at the Pointe Claire Swim Club and promptly developed another wildly successful swim program. Gate's swimmers once again dominated national swim meets and brought glory to Canada in international competition. Among his finest protégés were Peter Szmidt, John Hawes, Anne Jardin, Wendy Quirk, Robin Cosiglia, Julie Daigneault, and Chantal Venne. Gate also developed a system in which the senior athletes were given the opportunity to teach the juniors. Because of Gate, Pointe Claire not only generated champion swimmers but also top coaches. In recognition of his fine coaching skills, Gate was chosen time and again to lead Canada's national swim team in international competition. He was poolside at the 1954 Canada Games, the 1963 Pan-American Games, the 1968 Olympics, the 1973 World Championships, and the 1977 and 1981 Maccabiah Games. For his brilliant aquatic achievements, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1989.


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