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Guest Character Profiles > Don Cotter John Adam

Don Cotter 2013
Occupation: Swimming Coach

Having worked at the Australian Institute of Sport between 1991 and 2000, and trained two Olympic medal-winning swimmers, Don continued his work in later years as a private coach. He was working with young swimmer Leo Sharp at the Erinsborough Aquatic Centre one day, when he spotted newcomer Joshua Willis and attempted to give some tips to Josh and his coach, and father, Brad. Brad wasn't keen on hearing what Don had to say, as he'd been working with his son for years and felt that he knew what was best. But Joshua was intrigued by Don's suggestions, later looking up his website and beginning to wonder if changing coaches might be a good idea.

After bumping into Don at the gym, Josh got chatting to him about his ideas and went for a training session with him, before going home and announcing that he'd decided to sign up Don as his new trainer. Brad was very unhappy with the idea, but agreed to go and meet with Don, who suggested that they try to find sponsorship for Josh, to help with the training fees and travel expenses for competitions. With Josh so enthusiastic for the idea, and knowing that there'd be a lot of resentment if he didn't let it go ahead, Brad agreed, but suggested that there should be an escape clause written into the contract for Josh, should things not work out. When Josh presented this idea to Don, he made it clear that he expected 100% commitment from his swimmers, and an escape clause seemed to suggest the opposite, and he persuaded Josh to sign the contract without one.

When Josh was then late to one of his first training sessions, and then Don noticed the name Amber appear on his phone, he told Josh that he wouldn't be able to commit properly to his training if he had a girlfriend. Josh was then forced to choose between the girl and the swimming, but unable to give up either of them, he lied to Don that he'd dumped her and attempted to continue seeing her in secret. As Don was discussing some sponsorship opportunities with Josh and another swimmer, Hudson Walsh, Amber innocently wandered by, unaware of Josh's lies, and he ran over to her, telling her that he'd see her later. Back at their table, Josh told Don that he'd already dumped Amber, but she was refusing to leave him alone, and had turned into a stalker. Later that day, when Josh got held up at the aquatic centre, where he and Hudson were having some photos taken for their sponsorship deal, Amber decided to go down there and surprise him. Outside, she bumped into Don, who warned her to stay away from Josh and to stop stalking him - Josh was then forced to tell her the truth and she ended the relationship.

When Hudson went on a date with Chris Pappas, not realising that Chris was a neighbour of the Willis family, he mentioned that his trainer had recently taken on another swimmer, but had put him on middle distance, so he wasn't a threat to Hudson. When Hudson mentioned that the other swimmer was Josh Willis, Chris decided that he had to tell Brad, who was furious. He confronted Don, who denied everything, and told Josh, who couldn't believe it either. He decided to deliberately swim slower at training, to see if Don was being honest with him. When Don then told him that he'd swum another personal best, Josh realised that it was all true, and that Don was sacrificing him in favour of Hudson. He and Brad agreed not to say anything, until they could find proof and see if there was a way out of Josh's contract. Things only got worse when Hudson found out that Chris had spoken to the Willises, but as they argued, Hudson suddenly had trouble breathing. He claimed that it was just a panic attack, but it happened again later that day, and Chris was forced to call an ambulance. When the paramedic mentioned to Chris that Hudson had all the symptoms of a drug taker, and then Chris found some tablets, Hudson was forced to admit that he'd started taking performance enhancing drugs. Though Hudson wouldn't say it directly, Chris realised that Don had put him up to it and then passed the information on to Josh.

A furious Josh could no longer keep quiet, and confronted Don about the drugs, and his lies about Josh's timings. Don warned Josh that, if he said anything, his reputation would be damaged too. Later, however, Don came to his senses, and he ended his contract with Hudson. He then met with Brad and explained that he'd be doing the same with Josh - he said that he'd been working with Hudson for years, and they'd become like father and son, so he was willing to try anything to help with his performance, which he could see was slipping in recent weeks. Don insisted that it was the first and only time he'd ever done anything like this, that it was out of desperation, and that he was quitting coaching. Brad agreed not to report him, more for Hudson's sake than for Don's, but warned him that if they ever crossed paths again, and he found out that Don was still training, he'd go straight to the police.

Later that year, Don agreed to give Hudson an alibi for the night that Robbo Slade was knocked down in a hit-and-run. When Robbo later died, Hudson was questioned, but Don confirmed that the young swimmer had been visiting him that night. A few weeks later, however, Brad was visiting Don to get some advice on Hudson, who had been acting oddly and had decided to quit swimming, when Don admitted that he'd lied - Brad went to the police with this information, and Hudson was brought in again, and confessed that he'd been driving the car that had hit Robbo.

Trivia Notes
Don's website (shown on-screen) stated that he had trained 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Ben Ludlow and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Grace Tan

Episodes Featured
6657, 6665, 6666, 6671, 6675, 6676, 6677, 6680, 6682

Biography by Steve

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