The history of Carlile Swimming is intertwined with the history of modern swimming in Australia. Before Forbes and Ursula Carlile opened the doors of their very first swim school in Sydney’s Drummoyne in 1955, they were laying the foundations for their progressive approach to swimming education.
A lifelong swimmer and coach, Forbes earned a Master of Science degree before working closely with legendary sports scientist, Professor Frank Cotton at the University of Sydney. From there, he and Ursula set about revolutionising training methods.
Forbes invented the pace clock – an iconic innovation now found on pool decks worldwide – and the Carliles were the first to introduce lane ropes and goggles as training aids for competitive swimmers. The Carliles also pioneered new training methods, such as interval training and heart rate monitoring, that are now widely used by coaches around the world. And the results speak for themselves, with Carlile athletes winning numerous national, Commonwealth and Olympic titles, and Forbes and Ursula having been recognised around the world for their unprecedented contributions to the sport of swimming.
But it was introducing children to the joys of swimming and the impact of teaching a potentially life saving skill that really motivated the Carliles and led them to open Australia’s first commercial swim school in Drummoyne in 1955; and to build Sydney’s first indoor swim school in Ryde in 1962.
Through the swim schools and seeing first hand the positive impact swimming had on his student’s lives, Forbes was inspired to coin the phrase “To swim well is an asset for life” ; a saying which has become commonly used in the swimming community and which has proved so true for many Australians.