Our People: Swim star and award-winning coach Jonty Skinner
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
One of the most celebrated and widely respected swim coaches in the world, ex-Selborne College swimmer Jonty Skinner, has been appointed the Associate Head Sprint Coach of Indiana University in the US, tasked with preparing the university's swim stars for the 2020 Olympics.
Though never able to compete at the Olympics himself due to South Africa's apartheid-era sporting boycott, Jonty was one of the most successful freestyle swimmers in the world during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Jonty set a new world record for the 100m freestyle on 14 August 1976 - breaking the 20-day old record held by American Jim Montgomery, winner of this event at the recent Montreal Olympic Games - by 0.55 seconds.
He also set the first recognised WR time of 23,86 seconds for the 50m freestyle at that event, which was his split in the 100m event.
Jonty held the 100m freestyle world record from 1976 to 1981 and in 1985, he become only the third swimmer from South Africa to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame after Karen Muir (1980) and our own Joan Harrison (1982). (The only other South African who has joined this elite group since 1985 is Penny Heyns, inducted in 2007.)
After his brilliant career in the pool, Jonty followed in his father, Doug Skinner's footsteps by becoming a swim coach - an area in which he has continued to excel.
He has coached an incredible 21 Olympic medalists, including 17 gold-medal winning athletes, and was the US national team's Director of Technical Support for eight years.
Jonty Skinner is one of the most respected and accomplished sprint coaches in the world. - RAY LOOZE
"Jonty Skinner is one of the most respected and accomplished sprint coaches in the world,” says Indiana University head swimming coach Ray Looze.
"We are certainly humbled that Indiana could attract such a wise and successful coach. The fact that his athletes have 21 Olympic medals (17 gold) speaks for itself. One of his best attributes has been his ability to develop and teach. We will certainly rely on his experience as we continue to pursue national championships and Olympic success.”