Robert Windle

Athlete Biography

1944 -

Bob Windle’s victory in the 1500 metres freestyle at the Tokyo Games in 1964 was the Australia’s third in a row in that event - after those of Murray Rose in 1956 and John Konrads in 1960. Windle was a swimmer of rare versatility, representing Australia and winning medals at distances from the (then) shortest, 100 metres, to the longest, 1500 metres. He was chosen in the team for the 1960 Olympics at the age of 15 mainly for experience - and did not compete. Under the coaching of Don Talbot, he won his first national title, the 1650 yards, in 1961, and took the 220-440-1650 yards treble the following year.

At the Tokyo Olympics, he misjudged his timing in the 400 metres in an attempt to conserve energy for the final - and missed the final completely. That experience caused him to settle on a simple plan for the 1500 metres: to clear out early and treat the race as a sprint. He led all the way to set an Olympic record. At the same Games he won bronze in the 4 x 1500 metres relay team. After the Games he enrolled at Indiana University, where the great “Doc” Counsilman became his coach. He won three gold medals at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica (the 440 yards and both freestyle relays). He returned to the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968, winning medals in both freestyle relays: bronze in the 4 x 100m and silver in the 4 x 200m. 

Harry Gordon, AOC Historian