Billie Ann Burrill

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Billie Ann Burrill (March 11, 1921 – March 3, 2010) was a physical education and dance teacher at Rhode Island College, where she co-founded the Rhode Island College Dance Company. As the college's fencing coach, she organized the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Fencing Association. She was also a world-class competitive masters swimmer who set multiple world records, all after the age of 64. She was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2013.

Biography[edit]

Billie Ann Burrill was born in Joliet, Illinois.[1] In World War II, she served in the Women’s Army Corps (1943–47), rising from private to captain.[1][2] When the war ended, she went to Boston University for her B.A. and Smith College for her master's degree.[1]

After teaching briefly at the University of Connecticut and at Connecticut College, she got a job in 1954 at Rhode Island College in the Department of Health and Physical Education, where she taught folk dance and golf.[1] She also coached the fencing team, a role that prompted her to organize the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Fencing Association, of which she was president for a time.[1][3]

Burrill cofounded the Rhode Island College Dance Company and served as its director (1956–59).[1] She developed expertise in lighting, production, and stage management and spent seven summers at the American Dance Festival as production stage manager.[1][3] She worked as business manager for the Paul Taylor Dance Company during it early years.[1]

In 1980, she retired from Rhode Island College.[1] Around that time, she took up swimming as therapy for arthritis pain and developed into a world-class masters swimmer,[1][4] setting 7 world swimming records, all after the age of 64.[2] She won nearly 300 gold medals and set individual age-group world records in the 800-meter freestyle and the 1500-meter freestyle (age group 65-69).[1] The latter record remained unbroken for more than two decades.[4][2] In 2007, aged 86, Burrill won an All-American title in the 50-yard freestyle (age group 85–89). She was inducted into both the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame and the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame.[1]

She died 2010 and was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2013.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lyons, Michael E. "Inductee Details: Billie Ann Burrill". Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame
  2. ^ a b c Gilpatrick, Kristin. "Master Swimmer: Octogenarian Sets World Records, Wins Gold". E-Register, Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "RIDance Who's Who: The B's". RIDance.com.
  4. ^ a b "USMS Swimmer Info: Billie Ann Burrill". U. S. Masters Swimming website.

External links[edit]