By Lawrence Machado
Nathan Doyle, the high-performance coach with the Australian Paralympic team in Tokyo, has strong links with Castle Hill. Nathan, who has an identical twin Brendan, worked at CHRG’s Aquatic Centre for many years.
For long considered one of the top swim coaches in Australia, Nathan Doyle is at his second successive Paralympic Games. Incidentally, his wife Daniele is a biomechanist with the Australian team and is on maternity leave after the birth of their first daughter, Matilda.
Along with his mum Michelle Doyle, the manager at the CHRG Aquatic Centre, Nathan has been a great influence on many young swimmers at the centre.
“I am very proud of Nathan, who moved to Queensland in 2017 to work with the Paralympians at the University of Sunshine Coast,” said Michelle, whose other children, Kahlee and Olivia are also swimmers.
Nathan was instrumental in getting Australia’s top Paralympic swimmer Ellie Cole back into competition after the 2012 London Olympics. Ellie was a coach and a member of the CHRG Dolphins squad after the 2012 London Games and until the 2016 Rio Olympics
In an interview with the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News, Nathan Doyle said he came close to joining the NSW Police before diving headlong into coaching.
“If I had not become a coach, I would probably have been a police officer,” Nathan Doyle said from Tokyo. “I was going to join the academy in NSW and had a job offer to be a head coach at the same time.
“It was only by chance, it was a sliding doors moment that I could have headed out to Goulburn and joined the Police Academy. I took an opportunity and had a go. So here I am sitting in the Tokyo village and not at some police station in the city CBD. So, I think I lucked out.
“The Paralympic Village is a hive of activity, it’s been a long time coming. Everyone is excited to finally put on the green and gold and start competing.
“The most challenging part is logistically and having all these moving parts, having a team of this size and it’s always going to have difficulties. But we are very fortunate in having a professional team of people at Paralympics Australia and as well as the organising team here in Tokyo.”
Nathan’s athletes in Tokyo are Blake Cochrane, Keira Stephens, Ruby Storm, Braedan Jason, Katja Dedekind and Ben Hance.
Asked if he ever thought he would be the high-performance coach for the Paralympic team, Nathan Doyle said: “No one sets out to have big end goals; it started for me as a swimmer earning an income, progressing to coaching and into a more professional role.
“My intention, to begin with, was to teach kids to swim and it is some small way, I am still doing the same, though I am teaching bigger kids who I am training to swim a little bit faster. It is the reason I got involved and the reason I am still involved today.”
Nathan Doyle said his role models are fellow coaches Jan Cameron (who died in 2018) and Brendan Keogh, who taught him a lot. Brendan, he noted, had turned the amateur Paralympic team to a professional group over many years.
He said his biggest achievement in life is having a group of athletes who work hard and backs him as much as he backs them. “I think I always instil in my athletes that they have to be self-driven,” Nathan said.
“Any sport is hard and difficult but especially for swimming, we have lots of training and we have maybe six competitions a year. To turn up and do 10 sessions a week to wait for maybe a 30-second race at the end of the year is a hard slog. You have to be self-driven and take charge of your destiny.”