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Vale Harry Gallagher OAM
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Vale Harry Gallagher OAM
Esteemed Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

12/08/1924 – 21/01/2021

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) is mourning the passing of our esteemed Member Harry Gallagher OAM (Coach – Swimming) who passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

Harry taught himself to swim so as to save himself from drowning, having once fallen into a polluted river in Sydney. He went on to become one of Australia’s most astute and successful swimming coaches and is credited with first recognising Dawn Fraser’s swimming potential.

Gallagher became a swimming coach by chance in the army, teaching his comrades how to save themselves in the slurries and flurries up in the tropics, because most of the soldiers he was with couldn’t swim.

Working with exercise physiologists as early as 1953, Gallagher went on to coach some of the biggest names in Australian swimming, including Dawn Fraser, Jon Henricks, Lorraine Crapp, Michael Wenden, Brad Cooper, and Lyn McClements among others. He coached the 100m gold medallist at four successive Olympics to amass a total of nine gold, six silver and three bronze Olympic medals.

Had the 50m and the 200m freestyle events been included in the Olympics, his total could have been many more. At the British Empire and Commonwealth Games his pupils won 12 gold, six silver, and three bronze medals. His pupils also went on to win 201 Australian titles and create 52 world records. Gallagher was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale in 1984 and in 1986, received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to swimming

SAHOF Chair John Bertrand AO said; “Harry, a man who began his swimming career by teaching himself to swim went on and stamped his name in Australian history. A Member of Sport Australia Hall of Fame and International Swimming Hall of Famer, Harry coached the best of the best including the likes of Dawn Fraser, Jon Henricks, Lorraine Crapp and Michael Wenden. Harry played a large role in Australia’s swimming success and will remain an icon in the swimming world and Australian sport. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and broader swimming community.”

Harry Gallagher was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as a General Member for his contribution to coaching within sport of swimming in 1989.

Read Harry Gallagher’s full biography here.


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