Laurie Lawrence (AUS)
From being around the Townsville Pool his father ran, and being sparked into swimming by the legendary Hall of Famer Jon Henricks, Laurie Lawrence became a swimming legend and a maker of champions, capable of lifting the spirits of those around him to soaring heights.
His swimmers set over seventeen world records, and he coached Australian teams to three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games. For these efforts, Laurie was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Coach in 1996.
Beyond his career in coaching he is many other things: an extroverted entrepreneur, a patriot, poet, singer, humorist, best-selling author, dedicated family man and the most sought after motivational speaker in Australia.
By all accounts his greatest accomplishment has been in the promotion of swimming and preventing the tragedy of drowning through his internationally acclaimed water safety programs.
As in the US, the Labor, Liberal and National parties in Australia are often at odds with each other, and it is rare indeed when someone can unite the parties to support a single cause as a non-partisan issue. With the help of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Laurie was able to do that for his “Kids Alive” and “Living with Water” drowning prevention programs. These programs provide the parents of every newborn child in their country with an educational packet of information about the importance of being water safe and learning to swim.
The programs include a “Kids Alive” website, bolstered by community service advertising and the “Kids Alive Water Safety Show”, the biggest touring free show in Australia. Not only has the show visited metropolitan areas, but rural towns and even remote communities — to the entertainment and education of hundreds of thousands of Australian children.
In addition to operating a chain of successful swim schools, Laurie also partnered with Data Solutions to pioneer the design and build out of the world’s first cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System) that delivers unparalleled online training for swim instructors through his “World-Wide Swim School.”
Laurie attributes his early exposure to swimming and sports for providing him with the lessons and tools that have rewarded him with success as a coach, a multi-faceted entrepreneur and his happiness in life. “Things of value,” he says, “don’t come by luck, they’re won by pain, persistence and sacrifices, and success is the celebration of your preparation.”
Recipients of the Gold Medallion Award.