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Virginia Hunt Newman International Award

2011 Laurie Lawrence

 

It seems that Laurie Lawrence may have a touch of chlorine in the blood and was always destined to be a teacher and coach of swimming. As a young boy his father managed the Tobruk pool in Townsville, NSW. The family lived above the pool entrance where he was exposed to Australia’s dominance of International swimming when the Australian Olympic team trained there prior to the 1956 Olympic Games. In those early days he hunted and treasured autographs from Australian swimming legends Dawn Fraser, Jon Henricks, Murray Rose, Lorraine Crapp, David Thiele, and other Australian Olympians. Laurie fondly remembers giving his bed to Jon Henricks when the Lawrence family billeted Henricks during the 1956 Olympic training camp.

 

As a young man he left the pool to complete his studies a Diploma in Physical Education. He represented Australia in rugby before becoming a swimming teacher and coach. His quest for perfection saw his swimmers win world championships, break world records and win Olympic gold medals. He was Australia’s sports coach of the year and inducted into ISHOF as an Honor Coach in 1996.Since his first Olympic Games in 1984, he has been an integral part of the Australian Olympic team now through London in 1912, his eighth Games.

 

His passion for baby swimming began with the birth of his first daughter Jane in 1975. He purchased Virginia Hunt Newman’s book and the journey began. After seeing Jane’s success, he documented Kate, his next daughter’s progress on film. Emma his youngest continued the passion and research into baby swimming and now as young women Jane, Kate and Emma all work in the family business.

 

Emma and Laurie spent five years documenting and creating www.worldwideswimschool.com as a resource for swimming teachers all round the world with a particular emphasis on infant aquatics based on progressive skill development determined by the growth and development of the child. Laurie’s first grandchild, Evie, has inspired the creation of a newly released iphone, ipad app for swimming teachers and parents. This app will add to the three video Dads , three books, and online swimming teaching resources already created by Laurie.

 

His internationally acclaimed Water Safety Program “Kids Alive Do the Five” has seen drowning in Australia plummet from 63 in the year 2000 to 33 in 2010. His latest Kids Alive Water Safety DVD “Living with Water” has been done in conjunction with the Australian Government as a drowning prevention measure for children under five. It is being given to the parents of every newborn in Australia for four years as a drowning prevention measure. To date more than 800,000 DVDs have been distributed in Australia and he eagerly awaits Australia’s drowning statistics later in the year to judge the success of this latest project.

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