Judy Grinham

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Judy Grinham
Personal information
Full name Judith Brenda Grinham
Nickname(s) "Judy"
National team Great Britain
Born (1939-03-05) March 5, 1939 (age 79)
Neasden, England
Sport Swimming
Strokes Backstroke, freestyle
Club Hampstead Ladies SC

Judith Brenda Grinham, MBE (born 5 March 1939), also known by her married name Judith Rowley, is an English former competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships, and competed for England in the Commonwealth Games. Grinham is an Olympic gold medallist, Commonwealth and European champion, and former world record-holder.


Grinham was born in the London suburb of Hampstead and grew up in Neasden. She studied at the Convent of Jesus & Mary, Harlesden, London NW10. She married Pat Rowley[1] in Neasden in 1960, in St. Catherine's Church and they had two children, Keith and Alison.

Grinham competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, winning the 100-metre backstroke in 1 minute, 12.9 seconds, a world record. She became the first Briton to win an Olympic swimming gold since Lucy Morton in 1924.

Grinham competed in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, and won the 100-metre backstroke in 1:11.9. She went on to win a second gold medal as a member of the winning British team in the 4×100-metre medley team at the 1958 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and won an individual gold in the 100-metre backstroke. She became the first athlete in any sport to hold Olympic, Commonwealth and European gold medals at the same time.[citation needed]

In 1959, she appeared as a P.T. instructress in the Associated British Technicolor war time service comedy "Operation Bullshine", alongside stars Donald Sinden; Barbara Murray; Carole Lesley; Joan Rice and Dora Bryan, but never made another film.

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honour Swimmer" in 1981.[2]

In 2007, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, 50 years after winning gold in Melbourne.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Children's Newspaper" (PDF). Lookandlearn.com. 27 January 1962. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  2. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honourees, Judy Grinham (GBR). Retrieved 17 Marc 2015.

External links[edit]