Duncan Laing

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Andrew James Duncan Laing CNZM OBE (20 June 1933 – 13 September 2008), generally known as Duncan Laing, was a New Zealand swimming coach based in Dunedin. He coached Olympian Danyon Loader, winner of two gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and a silver medal at Barcelona in 1992,[1][2] and Philip Rush, current world record holder for the fastest two and three way swim of the English Channel.[3] He began teaching at Moana Pool in 1966, and over forty years training in Dunedin included 11 Olympic athletes.[2][4] In 2003, Michael Phelps visited New Zealand to train under Laing.[5] He had since retired from professional coaching, and received treatment in 2006 for melanoma on his leg and a brain tumour.[6]

He married Betty Burgess in 1951, and they had six children, four sons and two daughters (one deceased).[7] Besides coaching he was an Otago rugby selector in the 1980s, and ran the Moana House rehabilitation centre with his wife.[3]

Laing was awarded the OBE in 1993, and made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2006.[8][9]

He was born in New Plymouth on 20 June 1933 and died in Dunedin on 13 September 2008 at the age of 77.[7][10]


  1. ^ "Another great honour for Duncan Laing, CNZM, OBE". Swimming New Zealand. 6 June 2006. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  2. ^ a b McMurran, Alistair (6 March 2008). "Swimming: Plaque in honour of Laing's legacy". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Edwards, Brent (15 September 2008). "Champion coach was an inspiration". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "Swim Coach Duncan Laing to have Tumor Surgery". Timed Finals. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  5. ^ "How Phelps got his edge in NZ". 18 August 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008. 
  6. ^ "Swimming: Testimonial dinner for iconic coach Laing". New Zealand Herald. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Obituary in Dominion Post 18 September 2008 page B3
  8. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours: Laing on honours list – again". New Zealand Herald. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  9. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2006". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  10. ^ "Master coach Duncan Laing dies". Otago Daily Times. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2008.