Lorraine Crapp

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Lorraine Crapp
Lorraine Crapp 1960.jpg
Lorraine Crapp at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Full name Lorraine Joyce Crapp
Nationality  Australia
Born (1938-10-01) 1 October 1938 (age 75)
Sydney, New South Wales
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle

Lorraine Joyce Thurlow (née Crapp) AM (born 1 October 1938) is a former Olympic swimming champion representing Australia. In world swimming history Lorraine Crapp’s place is secure as the first woman to break the five-minute barrier in the 400 m freestyle.

Born in 1938, as a young girl Crapp lived with her parents at Jervis Bay where her father was with a Royal Australian Air Force Air Sea Rescue Unit. By the age of five she was a competent swimmer. When the family moved to Mortlake she joined the Cabarita Swimming Club and by the age of 12 was the winner of all her age events in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.

In 1952, Crapp was selected in the New South Wales team for the Australian Championships in Melbourne, where she came second to Olympian Judy Davis in the senior 880 yards. She won the junior 200 yards and she was still only 13 years old.

In 1954, Crapp won the 110 yard freestyle (Games Record) and 440 yard freestyle (Games Record) gold medals and a bronze medal in 3×110 yard medley relay at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver at the age of 15.

Some magnificent swims saw her break no fewer than 17 world records in 1956 and by the end of that year she was the world record holder for 110 yards, 200 m, 400 m and 880 yards. She was the first Australian swimmer, male or female, to hold world records in all freestyle distances at the same time. On August 25, 1956 at the Australian National Training Camp at Tobruk Pool Townsville, Queensland, she became the first woman ever to break the five minute barrier for 400 m freestyle; along the way she broke three other world records – 200 m, 220 yd and 440 yd. Although she improved on all times later in her career, her four world records in one swim (she slashed 18.2 seconds from the previous 400 m record to clock 4 min 47.2 seconds), made headlines around the world.

She competed in two Olympic Games — the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 1960 Summer Olympics. She won two Olympic gold medals and one Olympic silver medal in 1956 and one Olympic silver medal in 1960.[1] Crapp's 16 year old cousin Robert Crapp was one of the 1956 Olympic Torch Bearers selected to relay the Olympic Flame 2750 miles from Cairns to Melbourne with each runner carrying the flame 1 mile.

In 1956, Crapp won the Olympic 400 m freestyle (Olympic Record) title easily when she beat team-mate Dawn Fraser by 7.9 seconds in a time which was 17.5 seconds inside the previous Olympic record. Fraser reversed this result in the 100m freestyle (both beating the previous world record) and the pair then combined with Faith Leech and Sandra Morgan to win gold for Australia in the 4×100 m freestyle relay (world record).

In 1957, Crapp was awarded the city of Genoa Christopher Columbus Trophy as the outstanding athlete in the world.

In 1958, Crapp won a gold medal in the 4×110 yards freestyle relay, a silver medal in the 110 yards freestyle and a bronze in the 440 yards freestyle at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff but she was never again a world record breaker.

In 1960, Crapp bowed out of international competition with a silver medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the Rome Olympics. On the eve of her departure for the 1960 Rome Games, Crapp married Dr. Bill Thurlow, a medical officer attached to the Australian team.

Crapp set twenty-three world records and won 9 Australian championship titles.

In 1964, Crapp's husband, Bill Thurlow won 100,000 pounds lottery prize with which he planned to set up a health centre for disabled people.

In 1972, Crapp was inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer.

In 1986, Crapp was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

On 8 June 1998, Crapp was named as Member of the Order of Australia for "service to sport, particularly swimming at national and international levels, and to the community through the promotion of sport and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle."[2]

On 8 February 2000, Crapp was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in recoginition of her and team mates efforts in winning the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the 1956 Olympics.[3]

On 1 January 2001, Crapp was awarded the Centenary Medal for "service to Australian society through the sport of swimming."[4]

In 2000, Crapp was one of the eight flag bearers of the Olympic Flag at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney NSW.

Lorraine Crapp is one of nine "Legends" of the Path of Champions at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lorraine Crapp. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ "Lorraine Crapp AM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Lorraine Crapp". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lorraine Crapp". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 8 May 2013.