William ("Bill") Ashley Kirby is a Perth born and bred lover of water. After completing school at Christ Church Grammar School he went on to study Science at UWA majoring in Human Movement. After completing his degree he finally decided to give swimming his 100% attention with his mind set on the Sydney 2000 Olympics, moving to the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) to train under best coaches available.
He is now a father of three, and with help of his wife, Saskia, and the rest of the Kirby Swim Team focuses on offering the best swimming tuition possible.
Kirby made his debut at the 1993 Pan Pacific Championships before competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada and the 1994 World Aquatics Championships in Rome as a butterfly swimmer. After missing selection for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, due to glandular fever, he contemplated quitting the sport.
Kirby found his way back into the national team at the 1997 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Although he missed selection for the 1998 World Aquatics Championships in his home town, he bounced back to qualify for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, where he won a silver medal in the 200m butterfly. At the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney, he was a member of the 4x200m freestyle relay team (along with Michael Klim, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett) that lowered the world record, at the time, to 7m 8.79s. Training at the Australian Institute of Sport, he earned an Olympic berth the following year, anchoring the Australian 4x200m relay team of Thorpe, Klim and Todd Pearson to another world record of 7m 7.05s.
Kirby's final international competition was at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, where along with Klim, Hackett and Thorpe, he lowered the 4x200m freestyle relay world record to 7m 4.66s. That record held firm for nearly six years until United States relay team clocked in at 7m 3.24s at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.