FORT LAUDERDALE – The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports as its official Hall of Fame, is proud to announce that Laurie Lawrence, a legendary swimming coach, entrepreneur, internationally renowned water safety advocate, will receive the organization’s Gold Medallion Award at ceremonies to be held in Fort Lauderdale, August 25-27, 2017.
“The purpose of the Gold Medallion Award is to provide positive role models for today’s youth,” said Bruce Wigo, ISHOF President/CEO. “While Laurie Lawrence is a legend in the world of competitive swimming as a coach, he is less well known for his many entrepreneurial talents and the work he has done in collaboration with the government of Australia in the field of water safety and drowning prevention.
His swimmers set over seventeen world records, and he coached Aussie 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 too - he is an extroverted entrepreneur, a patriot, poet, singer, humorist, best-selling author, dedicated family man and the most sought after motivational speaker in Australia.
But 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 America, Australia’s political parties are often at odds with one another, and it is rare indeed when the parties unite behind a single cause. But with the help of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Laurie was able to get the government to support his “Kids Alive” and “Living with Water” drowning prevention programs. Programs that provide the parents of every newborn child in his country with an educational packet of information about the importance of being water safe and learning to swim.
The program developed 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 visit metropolitan areas, but country 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 dataSolutions, 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 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.”
ISHOF’s Gold Medallion has been conferred annually since 1983 upon an individual who has been a competitive swimmer, diver, water polo player or synchronized swimmer - who has achieved national or international recognition for accomplishments in the fields of science, government, entertainment, business or education, and whose life serves as a positive role model for youth. Past recipients of the award include: US President Ronald Reagan, US Senator Barry Goldwater, US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, Businessman and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon and Olympic and Baseball boss, Peter Ueberroth. Lawrence will become the fifth recipient to also be in the Hall of Fame, joining, scientist Dr. James E. “Doc” Counsilman, journalist and gender equity pioneer Donna deVarona, entertainer Esther Williams, and businessman and water safety advocate Adolph Kiefer.
Others to be honored with the Class of 2017 include open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN), Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), Leisel Jones (AUS), Laure Manaudou (FRA) and Ian Crocker (USA), divers Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson (AUS), synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova (RUS), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier (USA).
For tickets or additional information, please call Meg Keller-Marvin at (570) 594-4367 or ISHOF at (954) 462-6536, or visit http://www.ishof.org
About the ISHOF
The International Swimming Hall of Fame & Museum, was established in 1965 as a not-for-profit educational organization in the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the Olympic aquatic sports, in 1968. The Mission of ISHOF is to PRESERVE and CELEBRATE aquatic history, to EDUCATE the general public about the importance of swimming as the key to water safety, drowning prevention, better health and a better quality of life, and to INSPIRE everyone to swim. ISHOF’s collection of swimming memorabilia, art, photos and films, along with archival documents and rare books in the Henning Library, make ISHOF the premier repository and academic research resource for swimming and aquatic history in the world. www.ishof.org