In Memory of Hammy Smith

Posted on July 12, 2017

Just a little over a week ago saw the passing of another swimming stalwart. 

The funeral for Hugh Hamilton Smith, better known as 'Hammy', will take place on Friday 21st July at 2.15pm, Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh. Our thoughts are with his wife, Frances and sons Neil and Andrew at this time.

Smith swam for Paisley and Scotland in the 1950s and was Scotland's chief coach at the 1970 Commonwealth Games. He was also a coach on the Great Britain 1964 Olympic team and went on to coach ten Olympians and thirty internationals.

Smith taught PE in Paisley and coached the school's swimmers after graduating from Jordanhill College. He went on to teach in Canada and was to become England's first national swimming coach with the English Swimming Association (ASA), working closely with the great Bert Kinnear.

He also lectured physical education at what is now the University of Edinburgh, was Scotland's swimming director for ten years and won GB's 'Coach of the Year' in 1975. In 2002 received a lifetime achievement award from the British Swimming Coaches Association.

In a lifetime spent in the sport, he coached at Havering Killerwhales, Beckenham, Reading and the British Columbia Dolphins in Vancouver. He placed several swimmers on the 1976 Olympic Team including medalists David Dunn and Gordon Downie.

His tenure as Scottish Swimming’s Director was one of its most successful when the team won multiple 8-Nations Championships and regularly placed 6 to 8 swimmers on Olympic and other British Teams.

In the 1990’s he was consigned by Canadian Swimming to write their Swimming teaching plan, much of which is still used today. On his return from Canada, he worked closely with John Lawton (ASA Director of Education) to write and publish the ASA National Teaching plan. This was a comprehensive and innovative model to structure and standardize the teaching of swimming throughout the country (and is now sold internationally). 

Hammy was involved in Coach Education throughout his career, both as an active figure in the certification process (ASA Coach Certificate) and the professional development of many of our National Team coaches. He was the original ‘check and challenge’ to our coaches and while he was firm in his approach, he was always fair and provided follow up help. It is this role that many will remember and thank him for as an educator, mentor and friend.


By Mike Peyrebrune

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