INTERNATIONAL MASTERS SWIMMING HALL OF FAME
FLORA CONNOLLY (GBR)
2005 Masters Swimmer
HIGHLIGHTS: World Points – 1021, Pre-1986 Points – 0, Total Points – 1021; Since
1979, he has competed in six age groups (45-49 thru 70-74); 64 FINA MASTERS
Flora’s mother taught her to swim in her primary school years, but she began
competitive swimming at 13 when a friend asked her to swim in a team race for
their local swimming club Whitehall Amateurs, Dundee. She swam and joined the
team. Her first race was a 25 yard beginner’s race and she placed second.
Training that first year consisted of forty-five minute sessions on Friday
nights. During her first ten years of youth swimming Flora won every Midland
District Championship (one of the four in Scotland) at one time or another in
each stroke and at all distances. She was the Scottish Champion in the 200 yard
freestyle and 400 yard medley. She was selected to represent Scotland in
International competition against England and Wales from 1954-56.
1957 to 1979, Flora did not compete in swimming and spent her time raising her
four children. Her hobbies included dressmaking and Scottish Country Dancing,
which she still teaches once a week as part of an adult education program.
1979, Flora began training while her daughter was at practicing for
international competition mornings and evenings five days a week. Instead of
sitting and waiting, she asked the coach for permission to join in during the
morning sessions. At this time, she had no knowledge of the Masters swimming
structure and had no thoughts of competing, but enjoyed training. After about
six months she entered her first competition as a Masters swimmer and won all
the events she entered.
began to improve and dominate her competition during the following years. In
1980, Scotland held their first National Championships and Flora won all five
events that she entered. The following year, her coach changed her breaststroke
to the modern version and she was surprised to find out that with her new
technique she broke the world record in the 100 meter event. It was her first
of the competitions that Flora enters are in
but she has competed in two World Games held in
and in two competitions held in the United States. She attended these meets
because she was able to combine holiday visits to see friends and family members
with swimming competitions.
has been awarded lifetime memberships in both of her swimming clubs (Dundee and
Edinburgh), and was honored by the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association with an
award for outstanding achievement in Masters swimming.