FINANCIAL CRISIS: Peter Gartrell says he will have to move in search of a job. It would mean splitting with the teenager he has steered to the Commonwealth Games.
FINANCIAL CRISIS: Peter Gartrell says he will have to move in search of a job. It would mean splitting with the teenager he has steered to the Commonwealth Games. Iain Curry

Remy and lifelong coach set to split up

THE MAN man behind Coolum teenager Remy Fairweather's phenomenal Commonwealth Games qualification has conceded that he will have to leave the Sunshine Coast in search of a full-time coaching role.

Peter Gartrell has coached Fairweather since she was just nine years old, but nine months of unemployment has finally taken its toll.

The respected former Kawana Aquatic Centre coach said he will take the first good offer that comes his way, meaning he will likely have to abandon the Commonwealth Games campaign he has spent eight years developing.

"I've spoken to Remy and her family and she understands," Gartrell said.

"We are very close and I would really love to stay here and help her prepare for the Games, but I just can't.

"Fortunately I have Remy to keep working with and that has sort of filled in my time, but I can't go on forever like that.

"I'm at a point where financially I've lost a lot of money and I need a job quickly. As soon as I can find a good position some where I'm off."

Gartrell, who coached dual Olympian Samantha Hamill and Olympic bronze medallists Julie McDonald and Justin Lemberg, has tutored the 400m freestyle specialist for free since his council contract at the Stockland Park Aquatic Centre ended last June.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said in February there was not a large enough demand to justify Gartrell's salary.

The coach has been unable to find other opportunities on the Coast.

The uncertainty over his future comes as his star pupil should be celebrating her greatest race and looking forward to the biggest challenge of her life.

Instead, the 17-year-old is facing the prospect of preparing for the biggest meeting of her career without the only coach she has ever known.

"There's no way I'd ever want to train with anyone else," Fairweather said yesterday.

"We've come so far together and I'd be devastated if he had to leave.

"Everything I've achieved is down to him. He's the one who has got me this far.

"I could not have done it without him."

As for what is next, Fairweather is in the dark.

"I really have no idea what to do," she said.

"Honestly, I would not have a clue."