El Universo, national newspaper, Saturday, January 15, 2011
Gaston Thoret, always in memory
None of those who were next to Gaston Thoret Marcos in swimming will ever forget his passion for our sport.
His dedication to his study, the training of men-athletes to good nature, the discovery of the national statistical erased by time, history, the application of processes of administrative organization of institutions and tournaments, the training of new coaches, the selfless delivery of technical findings could for his tireless lectures on the sport and the creation of a winning club; the “Thoret” swimming academy.
I met him one afternoon in May 1955 when I went to ask him to accept me as a swimmer. I waited outside the pool at my school, the Vicente Rocafuerte, where Gaston had started as a coach. His favorable reception allowed me to join the first group of pupils, including Pepe Ferretti, Stephen Sachs, Andrés Vasconcellos, César Barrezueta, Buenaventura Garcia, Gonzalo Peralta, Alfredo Mancilla, Abel Rendon, Cork Manuel Suarez, Ricardo Lopez, Santiago Cabrera, Nilo Rodriguez, Victor Aguirre and some more.
Among those who entered the team in 1955 were Jorge Jimenez, Oswaldo Mendez, Agustin Fuentes, Modesto Mackliff Raul Thoret, Guido and Gustavo Abad, Victor Castaneda, Armando Savinovich, Gonzalo and Marco Bastidas, David Suarez, Milton Franco, Carlos Montero, Eduardo Guerrero and Guillermo Medina. We are united and proud to have been his first students.
We notice every day in all its profundity his missing kindness, understanding, prone to council before the reprimand of character.
Thoret was uncompromising in one aspect only: “academic performance”. The bad notes, red, led to a closed door in training. By then we had already inoculated the passion for swimming and in our heart of hearts, not being able to train was worse than a dozen lashes.
He had retired as a competitor in 1954 with a silver medal in the 1,500 free in the first Grancolombiano tournament, he was an ideologist, and envisioned and dedicated his life to teaching. Such was his detachment that left a thriving family business.
He never deviated from his apostolate in sport. With the Vincentian team that elevated the blue and white national tricolor to the gold, and was a Grancolombiano runner-up in Cali 1958; champions in the same event in 1959, Caracas, and in 1961 in Guayaquil. It was a time filled with joy and medals, as it was in the 1961 Bolivarianos in Barranquilla.
Thanks to him the sport was on the right track in Ecuador, the national team he coached acquiring the first places in South American swimming.
He took Pepe Ferreti, Esteban Suarez Cura Elmo Sachs to the “South Americans Championships” in the years 1956, 1958 and 1960. In 1962, his new and rising pupil Jorge Jimenez got in Cali the South American silver medal in the 200m butterfly.
Since then there was only one glorious chapter over another in national swimming where his presence was always felt, he had a large influence.
He returned to Guayaquil in 1964, abandoning a promising career in the US, to coach the national team and underpin the organization of the “Sudamericano of Swimming” held in our city. He was the author of the great revolution of our sport because he modernized the systems by introducing the “interval training” techniques in 1958 and had to fight hard with traditionalists who liked outdated procedures like “swimming long and soft.” It was he, along with Alberto Vallarino and Andres Vasconcellos, as background leaders, the initiator of the second golden age of the Ecuadorian swimming, climaxed in the seventies with Luis Chiriboga Parra as the administrative and legal partner.
Male of multiple activities, Thoret was a Doctor of Law, a Civil judge and journalist. Many times we had to collaborate with him in the great magazine that he created to acknowledge the sport: “Latin Swimming”.
He left us unexpectedly a month ago and mourning in the pools has not ceased. He leaves the lacerated heart of his wife Toyita and his son Gaston.
It will be for those who knew him as a swimming teacher and as a “precursor” and modern lover of the sport, who knew only fair play, and liked journalism, an unforgettable character because as the poet Mario Benedetti said:
“Basically forgetting is a great drill that goes nowhere. No one knows or can, even if he wants to, forget. “
Yes, we will always miss his presence like we did in the long, exciting swimming discussions we used to have in times that are now part of a happy memory.
Not long ago we set out with Gaston and Lucho Chiriboga to realize the dream of the three: write the history of Ecuadorian swimming. For today is, as the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet said, “an unfinished song,” but if one day that book appears, on the first page there will be a unique dedication: to the memory of Gaston Thoret Marcos, the man who made his love swimming a Biblical Magisterial duty, and marked the lives of several generations of athletes.